Runaway June - Blue Roses
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Blue Roses (Wheelhouse, 2019)

Runaway June

Reviewed by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.

Runaway June - Naomi Cooke, Hannah Mulholland and Jennifer Wayne - weave gorgeous harmonies around the lyrics of these songs on their new album, all but four of which they wrote with other writers. The trio have a way with their phrasing, getting inside the songs and making them their own. The beauty of the album lies in the singing, but we've all heard these songs about breakups, makeups, loss, and love before, and by the closing track, we're left with faded memories of beautiful voices.

Runaway June's biggest charting song is "Buy My Own Drinks," a defiant anthem of independence underscored by the wall of harmonies in the chorus that mimics the unity of the singer's companions on the night on the town where she's trying to "un-fall apart." The driving guitars and the stomping rhythms circle higher and higher so that by the end of the song the proclamation of freedom becomes a party song, a celebration. Opening sparely with guitar and vocals, "We Were Rich," written by Ross Copperman, Ashley Gorley and Nicole Galyon, is a touching story song that deals with an old theme - recognizing that money and material objects don't make people rich.

Runaway June delivers a faux-Southern rock version of Dwight Yoakam's "Fast as You" that feels more like album filler, for this version lacks the emotional energy of the original. The pedal steel-drenched title track mimics the crying and aching of the ethereal vocals of the trio as they sing of a heart broken by loss. This song stands out on the album for its emotional and musical depth.

Four years in the making, Runaway June's debut sparkles with the glitter of a party dress that dazzles for the big night, but soon fades with the light of day. The tunes are catchy - as you'd expect in a pop country album - and the vocals transfixing, but the songs are forgettable once the moment has passed.

CDs by Runaway June

When I Think About Christmas EP, 2020 Blue Roses, 2019 Runaway June, 2018

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