Collaboration is something kindred, a bond of connection akin to nothing else in this world. When musicians join together, distant or close, the result can be invigorating and regenerative. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, approaches have had to shift and renegotiate—and live performance has been especially affected. Collaboration has become that much harder but equally even more vital. Adapting and making it work has become, for many, a mantra of sorts—yet it has also provided creatives the opportunity to explore, invest and ally with their creativity like never before. Using this forced downtime to his advantage, Toronto-based musician Afie Jurvanen, better known as Bahamas, has teamed up with a roving cast of esteemed musical talent to create a programme of live sessions, aptly titled Live to Tape. The sessions run bi-weekly and are free to consume via the easy comfort of YouTube.
Explaining in his own words the concept behind the series, Jurvanen says: “What’s the best part about being heavyweight musicians who can’t tour because it’s a pandemic? They’re available for sessions with mid-level sensation, Bahamas. Jokes aside, this is a very cool project and I’m excited to share it. Hope you enjoy it.”
The first three sessions are available now: Episode One features The 400 Unit, a musical foursome primarily made up of musicians from the Muscle Shoals, Alabama area who are known for their Grammy-winning collaborations with Jason Isbell. Episode Two continues the journey with The Teskey Brothers in residence, live linking from Melbourne and offering that sweet soulful flair that only they can. Then, Episode Three is basically a roll call of musical excellence with Russ Kunkel and Bob Glaub featuring Robin Dann, Felicity Williams and Sam Weber.
Episode Four is premiering this Saturday, 13th March at 9pm ET (which works out as early Sunday morning in the UK, 2am GMT). Special guests this week are Gus Seyffert and Joey Waronker, with Sam Weber returning for a recurring guest spot, and the always impeccable Lucius rounds out the team. The star cast accompanies Bahamas in a six-song set gifting their talents to the rhythm section and sprucing up each number with warm vocal harmonies and backing vocals. It’s a glorious display of team work.
This session specifically features at least one song from each of Bahamas’ last four records, including 2020’s sublime Sad Hunk, so that’s a treat in and of itself.
Stay tuned for the session premiere tonight, but first enjoy this clip of ‘Less Than Love‘ which recently aired on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. A beautiful groove, indeed.