Runaway June
Runaway June
Runaway June: CMA Music Festival 2024
June 6, 2024

Strong-minded, soft-hearted, and wildly free-spirited, each member of Runaway June possesses the kind of powerhouse talent and radiant charisma that fully commands the spotlight. But when the three musicians sing together, their crystalline harmonies create an impact well beyond the sum of its parts and instantly stir up a whole world of feeling: sweet relief from heartache, escape from the everyday chaos, an unabashed freedom to shake off your inhibitions.

With Runaway June's career triumphs including earning nominations from the Academy of Country Music Awards and the CMT Music Awards, bringing their electrifying live set to spots on tour with country icons like Carrie Underwood, and scoring a major radio hit with their GOLD-certified breakthrough single "Buy My Own Drinks," the Nashville-based trio is now set to deliver a new body of work that lets their boldly honest songwriting and effervescent sound shine like never before.

The first single from Runaway June's newly revamped lineup – founding member Jennifer Wayne and fellow vocalists/multi-instrumentalists Natalie Stovall and Stevie Woodward – "BROKEN HEARTS (DO BROKEN THINGS)" perfectly embodies the band's irresistible balance of timeless country musicianship and rule-breaking originality. With its strutting groove and sing-along-ready gang vocals, the fierce yet tender anthem finds Runaway June sticking up for anyone who's ever followed their most outrageous impulses in the haze of breakup blues (from the pre-chorus: "She's been dancing up on tables / Call her crazy and unstable / But she ain't as messed up as you think").

"We all know that feeling of getting your heart broken and going out and doing some questionable things, so we wanted to make 'BROKEN HEARTS' feel as supportive and inclusive as possible," says Woodward, Runaway June's newest member. "Whenever we play that song live, we see the groups of girls out in the crowd dancing and going crazy, acting out the lyrics," Stovall adds. "That's exactly what we want from all our music – for people to hear it and let loose and have so much fun."

Penned by Mandi Sagal, Steve Fee, and Sarah Lake, and produced by Mitch Furr (Eric Paslay, Keith Urban) and Justin Weaver (a musician/producer known for his work with The Chicks and Wynonna Judd), Runaway June's latest output took shape in a series of freewheeling sessions at Furr's apartment.

"We were like Sherpas carrying in six or seven instruments at once, and then we'd try out all these different sounds to see what felt right," Stovall recalls. But even as that spontaneity infuses their music with a certain unbridled energy, Runaway June elevates each track with their refined playing and exquisite attention to sonic detail.

Whether they're offering up an intimate confessional or a barnburning anthem, Runaway June endlessly reveals the eclectic sensibilities at the heart of their collaboration.

Originally from California, Wayne started out on a path as a tennis pro before forming her first band with an ex-boyfriend and cutting her teeth playing in pubs around London. With her early influences including Dwight Yoakam and other key players from the California country scene, she moved to Nashville after college and soon began writing for artists like Eric Paslay, then co-founded Runaway June in 2015.

Not long after the arrival of the band's 2019 debut album BLUE ROSES, a shift in lineup found Stovall joining the ranks and strengthening their sound with the sophisticated musicality she'd honed since taking up classical violin at the age of four. Also, a longtime mandolin and guitar player, the Central Tennessee native kicked off her music career by playing fiddle and singing in the Opryland Kids Club at age 10, later attended Berklee College of Music, and eventually crossed paths with Wayne while on tour with her former band.

Following the departure of a former Runaway June member in early 2022, Stovall and Wayne reached out to Woodward and asked the then-solo singer/songwriter to meet up for a co-writing session.

"As soon as we got together it was magic – our voices blended so well that it gave me chills," says Wayne.

As a kid growing up in Myrtle Beach, Woodward had written her first song at age five and began playing solo gigs all over South Carolina at 14. A self-described rock 'n' roll girl who's also a classically trained violinist (as well as an accomplished guitarist, pianist, and harmonica and ukulele player), she studied songwriting and music business at Middle Tennessee State University before embarking on a solo career in Nashville.

"Right away, it felt like we were sisters," Woodward says. "Being a solo artist can get lonely, and it takes so much of the pressure off when you've got other people to rely on. We're there for each other when things aren't going our way, and we get to celebrate all the beautiful highs together."

With an appearance at the historic Grand Ole Opry marking their first-ever public performance together, Runaway June spent much of summer 2022 thrilling crowds at major festivals.

"You typically don't see women shredding onstage the way we do, and I think people really love seeing how much fun we have up there," says Woodward. Wayne adds, "My favorite thing is when people say to us, 'We can tell how much fun you girls are having onstage, and it makes us feel good too.' We always want everyone to feel like they're a big part of what we're doing."

And for all three members of Runaway June, that heartfelt push for joyful inclusivity serves as the driving force of the band.

"When the audience is really engaged and having a good time, it's like there's this cycle where we keep giving more back to them and they give more and more back to us," says Stovall. "With the live show and with our songs, we want everyone to feel like they're hanging out with us, like there's no separation. It's our way of making sure people know that they're not alone."

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