Moses Barrett has spent a good few years playing music professionally around the Northwest. Influenced and inspired by the Great American Songbook, he moved home to Portland in 2012 and formed The Junebugs, adding drummer Kyle Owen and bassist Nathaniel Daniel to his guitar and banjo playing. And as the trio honed their craft playing traditional songs, they also began writing original music.
They released their debut record of soulful Americana and folk in 2015, and now this August, they'll release their second self-recorded and -released record: Brothers In Music.
The group "focused on growing our sound on this album—the first record was kind of small and acoustic," Barrett explains. "And for this, we tried to stretch out a little."
Folk rock with a driving country twang, the songwriting continues to be solid but, as Barrett says, the sound really fills the room now.
"To really kick start this record, we rented a beach house and did this intensive writing camp with my cousin Zack Barrett," Barrett tells. "I've always thought my cousin was a talented songwriter, so when we were gearing up for this album, I called him up and said, 'Jump on a plane, let's make some music.' He dropped everything, got on a plane, and, for four days, all we did was write songs, drink beer and track demos. Some of the guitar tracks on the album are actually lifted from those demos we recorded at the beach."
Featuring three-part harmonies, "I Wanna Know" is a catchy acoustic rocker that you could easily imagine Jack Johnson singing. It "started as a bunch of chords on a mandolin," Barrett says. "Kyle (our drummer) was futzing around one afternoon and came up with the three sections, as well as the main refrain, 'I wanna know, which way to go for your love.' It was kind of a call back to those first relationships, when you don't really know what's going on and you're just trying to figure out what to do to make the other person happy. And then sometimes it doesn't work out, and you learn from that experience."