While Runaway June’s Naomi Cooke, Natalie Stovall, and Jennifer Wayne are all in love and married now, their new EP backstory tells the tales of heartbreak and not quite right guys that paved their paths to true love. With Cooke and Wayne penning all three songs on the EP, the trio showcases their gift of storytelling in this collection of artfully-crafted songs.
“…[I]t was really beautiful the way that these three songs came together because obviously all three of us are in very happy and stable places in love in our lives and especially with a lot of new marriages happening in the band,” shares Stovall. “But it made a lot more sense to us to start the story with a lot of the things that you go through to get to the love. We’ll get to that in a minute. You know right now we want to tell you guys the backstory of all of the things that you go through and the different types of breakups…But it’s fun to tell those different stories with this EP, that I think it’s almost freeing for me personally because I am so happy and in love right now but it’s like, there was a lot that we went through to get to that place.”
Runaway June’s signature western-rooted sound shines bright on the highly relatable track “Forgot About That,” which Cooke and Wayne co-wrote with Corey Crowder and Emily Shackelton. The group’s tight harmonies and Stovall’s powerhouse fiddle drive the song about the “heartbreak amnesia” that can come after swearing off a past partner only to find oneself forgetting all the reasons for leaving and unintentionally falling for them all over again.
“It definitely has a lot of fiddle, which has been really cool,” Wayne says of the EP
The trio enlisted Dann Huff to produce “Forgot About That” and “Down The Middle” and credit his expertise in helping them continue to grow their signature sound as a trio.
“…We are not afraid to expand ourselves as artists and as songwriters and musicians because we know that he’s that anchor that will always hold us, make us sound like we’re a part of the genre,” says Cooke of the legendary producer. “So with these songs you can kind of really hear that expansion and that stretch of what we kind of went out for and then we have this kind of like beautiful thing that brings it back…it’s like ‘Oh yeah, they’re Country and they talk about things that are authentic,’ but we’re also allowed to grow. So [it’s] really, really nice to have that with Dann.”
With powerful imagery painting the heart-aching reality of a difficult breakup, Runaway June tells of the often unfair division that comes with a romantic split in “Down The Middle.” The raw, vulnerable song with heart-piercing three-part harmony was written by Cooke and Wayne several years ago with former group member Hannah Mulholland, along with Barry Dean and Topher Brown. “Down The Middle” is a special one that they held onto for a while, waiting until it found it’s place on this EP. It was actually one of the first songs Cooke and Wayne played for Stovall, their newest member. When it came time to get in the studio, it evolved with the addition of the dobro was later woven into the song.
“Dann Huff is so great at letting us kind of expand and grow but keeping the Country in it,” says Wayne. “Like for example, in ‘Down The Middle’ he puts this dobro on it that just makes the whole song to me…It’s just amazing what he comes up with. I would’ve never though that a dobro would be on that song, our demo is completely different than that and it’s pretty fun being able to create with Dann Huff and getting his spin on things… That part is one of my favorite parts about all three of the songs.”
When it comes to the guys of their past relationships that didn’t quite make the cut, the spirited women of Runaway June put them in their place with the clever, up-tempo groove “T-Shirt.” The confident and sassy lyrics pack a punch of empowerment as they use the t-shirt of a past partner to serve as a reminder and souvenir of a relationship that isn’t worth going back to, with the signature chorus line “You’re just another hard lesson I learned, been there, done that, I got the t-shirt.” Written by Cooke, Wayne, Adam Hambrick, and Mark Trussell, the song is one that is sure to become a breakup anthem for anyone moving on from the past and not looking back.
While this EP reflects back on the past, Cooke, Stovall, and Wayne are looking to the future as they have recently joined Luke Bryan on the road for his “Proud To Be Right Here Tour.”
“I think getting in front of Luke Bryan’s notorious rowdy fans is just going to be epic…” says Cooke. “We’ve literally been rehearsing for eight hours a day sometimes more, to make sure that we give everyone the best show ever.”