Dig It: The Junebugs to Celebrate Album Release with August 5 Show at Mississippi Studios
written by Gina Williams
In a corner garden, I’ll plant a seed…tell me if it’s a flower or if it’s a weed.
—The Junebugs, Oregon
The Junebugs are going places.
Known for their genre-bending originals and energetic, folk-inspired covers, the Portland band is releasing a new album, “Brothers in Music” August 5 at Mississippi Studios with opening performances by Balto and Falcon Heart.
The band describes itself as “combining high-energy pop with Pacific Northwest folksy goodness.”
Junebugs front man Moses Barrett said, “We’re a folk band, and our first album was pretty folksy, but with this new album we have really focused on growing our sound.”
In addition to including more instruments and sounds and textures, he said band members have also simply grown as songwriters.
“We are really excited to share this new album with everyone, and we think that people will really dig it.”
The new album is all originals, plus one traditional song. Barrett said the decision to focus on original music was based on the desire to “focus on making a thing that was all us. Moving forward, who knows what we’ll do, but for now we wanted to see what would happen if we pushed ourselves to create something all our own. We are pretty happy with how it turned out.”
That doesn’t mean the band won’t continue with its eclectic stage mix that puts a fun folk spin on American Songbook cover favorites.
“We do a lot of mixing of genres here in The Junebugs. You are going to hear some lovely tunes you are familiar with, but we are also going to play some TLC, so get ready.”
Barrett adds, “We believe strongly in the jazz tradition of interpreting the American Songbook. TLC and The Backstreet Boys are part of that songbook, and we love showing what we have to say about that music.”
Interpretation and collaboration also define the band’s songwriting process. Barrett said. “Generally, someone comes in with a sketch of a chord progression or a melody and some words, and then we turn it around and take it apart, and build it back up until we have something that feels right.”
The band started on the Vancouver, BC circuit, but migrated south to Portland where Barrett picked up drummer Kyle Owen and bassist Nathaniel Daniel.
Barrett is originally from Oregon and moved to British Columbia for work, where he met his wife. They decided to head south for both culture and survivability.
“Don’t get me wrong, Vancouver is great,” Barrett said, “but Portland just has this crazy food culture, an exciting music and art scene, and it is a city on the come-up. Vancouver isn’t really survivable unless you are making boat loads of cash, so Portland was the easy choice.”
The joy of live performance is where it’s at for The Junebugs. Barrett said he just wants to extend the invitation to everyone to come out, leave the craziness of the world behind and enjoy a rollicking, heel-kicking good time.
“We’re lucky enough to do this thing full time, and the best part of our job is bringing good feelings to an audience,” Barrett says. “No matter what is going on with the rest of everything, that connection between a musician and an audience is a special thing, and we feel so honored that we get to make that happen day in day out.”
What: The Junebugs Album Release Show
When: Sat., August 5, doors open at 7 p.m.
Where: Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, OR 97227
Venue info: mississippistudios.com
Check out the band’s schedule at http://www.thejunebugs.net