Country trio Runaway June wasn’t expecting to find much creativity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only did bandmate Jennifer Wayne personally battle the virus, but longtime member Hannah Mulholland decided to exit the group.
But what began as a frightening, uncertain time ultimately became a clean slate.
“We’ve been together quite a bit in a really beautiful, authentic creative space, which has been really awesome because this time of year we’re normally touring and it’s a pretty rigorous schedule,” Naomi Cooke explains to Rolling Stone.
After Hannah’s departure, the two remaining band mates knew that replacing her would be difficult. Ultimately, they tapped fiddle player Natalie Stovall, in part because she was already a seasoned touring artist.
“It is not for everybody. After two week of [being on the road], if it’s not what you think it is, you can just implode,” Naomi points out. “So the list was really short and we thought of Natalie.”
Though Runaway June had already decided on “Head Over Heels” as a follow-up single to their top-ten hit, “Buy My Own Drinks,” they switched gears amid the pandemic. They recorded a new version of the tender ballad “We Were Rich,” featuring Natalie’s fiddle and vocals, and sent it to radio.
“It goes back to the simpler times of your parents doing everything they can to make you comfortable and happy,” explains Jennifer. “And I feel like right now, this message is so important for people. It’s like the perfect time to put out a song like this. And then it just felt so perfect with Natalie coming in — it’s like a fresh start.”
By Carena Liptak
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