Editor’s Note: In celebration of Women’s History Month, You Sing I Write is highlighting female country artists and songwriters throughout March.
Last year I spoke with country trio Runaway June, who announced the addition of Natalie Stovall to the band following Hannah Mulholland’s departure in May. Below is an excerpt of my Zoom chat with the trio for Sounds Like Nashville.
Runaway June have been working on their sophomore album and Stovall promises there will be much more fiddle on the songs. Meanwhile, Naomi Cooke and Jennifer Wayne say Stovall has elevated the musicianship of the band.
“She’s brought so much spirit and so much positivity. She’s such a good hang,” Cooke says of Stovall. “She’s such a hard worker. It’s been awesome. It’s been really like all of our energy; all of our hopes and dreams and all of our focus is aligned for the same thing. That’s been really great.”
While most of the band’s co-writes have been over Zoom throughout 2020, Runaway June remain motivated. With more time off the road than they’ve had in years, the women are creating and collaborating at a rapid pace. “I think we’re finding the joy in this moment. This is all that matters,” Cooke says. Additionally, Wayne says Stovall bringing the fiddle into the writers room has been inspiring.
“It really is like taking us back to our roots. We had a lot of fiddle and we actually took it out of our music because we couldn’t afford a fiddle player live,” Wayne admits. “It’s been awesome having Natalie come back in, because we can go back to how Runaway June was formed, and bringing that organic country sound back.”
The women joke that since their second album will be the first project Stovall will be working on with them, there will be no curse of the sophomore record.
“It is kind of like a new band all of a sudden while still being an established band,” Stovall says. “For me personally, it’s opened up a world of creativity in my writing where I’ve never thought about writing music for three girls singing harmony. I’ve always thought about a solo voice. So it has completely opened up a whole new world and a little compartment that I didn’t even know existed.”
Runaway June’s latest single is “We Were Rich,” featured on the band’s 2019 debut album Blue Roses and updated to include Stovall’s vocals and fiddle. “We Were Rich” was written by Ashley Gorley, Ross Copperman and Nicolle Galyon. The nostalgic and sweeping ballad takes the listener back to an easier time with descriptive lyrics that connected with Runaway June the first time they heard the song.
“It’s nostalgic, but it also reminds you of the simple and really beautiful times of your childhood and we all need that right now. We can all get in that time machine, even if it’s only for three-and-a-half minutes, and go back to a place where you’re not worried about anything and there isn’t any fear,” Stovall says. “That was actually my favorite Runaway June song, so it was really cool to come into the project and then the first order of business was to release ‘We Were Rich.’”
Adds Cooke, “The first thing that grabbed me was the line, ‘One bathroom sink/ We’d all take turns.’ It reminded me of my childhood. I have 10 brothers and sisters. We always had one bathroom growing up. That line, I was like, ‘Oh my God, that’s my life!’ That was a really special moment … I think it sparks different memories. People are telling us the sweetest stories, which makes us know that they are also being transported to a simpler, better time. And that’s all we could hope for.”
For more of my interview with Runaway June, visit Sounds Like Nashville.