My first impression of 5J Barrow dates back to the oddly warm month of February when, once again, I found myself at Rockwood Music Hall on a weekday evening supporting my friend’s band. I did some quick research about the other bands playing that evening and discovered the folk/indie band, 5J Barrow. When they hit the stage, I was surprised to see just two individuals when I expected a full band. I was even more surprised when they completely blew the audience away with their vocal duets accompanied by one acoustic guitar. I knew I had to see them again.
Fast-forward to last Thursday night when 5J Barrow had another show at Rockwood. I had the pleasure to chat with 5J Barrow before their set to learn more about this up and coming band. 5J Barrow consists of Eryn Murman on vocals and mandolin, Jason Hite on vocals and guitar, Drew Jones on bass and Gerard Canonico on drums.
The highlight moment of our conversation was when Eryn and Jason told me the origin story of their band name. “5J Barrow” is the location of the apartment where Eryn and Jason live and write their music. They described this space as something near and dear to their hearts; it’s an environment that has a history of artist and musician residents and they are constantly feeding off of the creative energy that lives within its walls. Jason described the apartment as a healing space, something comfortable to come home to and reset after a stressful day. Hearing the story behind “5J Barrow” was heartwarming, and all of the band members agree that it’s a special place. That said, 5J Barrow seems like a completely natural name for the band.
As our conversation continued the harmonious relationships between the band members became apparent. They have a lot of love and respect for each other, and they value each other as individual musicians that bring together different influences and backgrounds to create their unique sound. Jason said that one of their biggest influences is the Avett Brothers, while Gerard comes from a punk background. When the four musicians create music together it’s an organic experience, as Eryn described; and the way that their sounds seamlessly combine is particularly evident in their recordings as well as during their live performances.
5J Barrow made their appearance on the stage around midnight with their loyal fans surrounding them. They opened their set with, “Circus,” a catchy tune with Jason on lead vocals and Eryn supporting him with her harmonies. Both Jason and Eryn come from a theater background and they integrate that energy and talent into their music. Jason puts his mind, body and soul into his singing and you can see and feel the passion in his performance. At first glance, Eryn seems to be the more modest of the two, but when she has a moment to shine she approaches the microphone with full confidence and sings her heart out.
5J Barrow’s performance is a mixture of drama, folk, and storytelling of life in New York City, as spoken through the voices and instruments of remarkably talented artists. The band played a solid set which included songs from their album, “From the Dim, Sweet Light,” as well as some new tunes. During their set Jason took the stage solo to perform a song about addiction called, “Gone.” It was a rare moment to see Jason not bursting with energy, but rather a more serious tone. The energy in the room changed and quieted down to hear Jason tell his tale. The band bounced back to full throttle for the last two songs, “On the Run” and a fan favorite, “Sarah Brown.”
5J Barrow will be recording an album in August and I cannot wait to see what the future holds for them.
Article: Jenna Petrone