It took far longer than it should have, but Runaway June’s terrific “Buy My Own Drinks” finally clawed its way into the top 10 at country radio. And having a bit of commercial momentum has given the trio enough clout for Wheelhouse Records to release a proper debut album, after putting out a teaser EP last year. Blue Roses builds upon the promise of that initial, self-titled EP, establishing Runaway June as a pop-country force who recall the best of the genre’s early-aughts artists. The obvious and most frequent comparisons have been to the Dixie Chicks and Shedaisy, but what the spirited production and strong hooks of Blue Roses most closely resemble are Keith Urban’s nearly flawless run of singles in the first part of the previous decade.
The title track is beautifully written and empathetically performed — the trio’s vocal harmony work is quite impressive throughout the album — as are “We Were Rich” and “I Am Too.” Dann Huff is responsible for some truly egregious assaults on country music, but his production work here is, by his standards, restrained. Actual country instruments are audible in the mixes — their cover of “Fast As You,” which returns from their EP, is actually twangier than Dwight Yoakam’s original — and “Head Over Heels” sounds like it could build on the success of “Buy My Own Drinks.” Blue Roses confirms that Runaway June have the potential to make a significant impact on contemporary country. While they still want for a clear vision within the types of songs they choose and co-write, Blue Roses offers enough highlights that Runaway June should be able to build a loyal fanbase who are eager to hear where they go next.
Published as part of Rooted & Restless | Issue 5