There seems to be a trend with Broadway actors extending their talents into pure musical bliss. 5j Barrow, made up of artists Eryn Murman and Jason Hite, are no strangers to this aesthetic expansion. With a grounded following in the New York City streets, the duo have found a lasting place within the music scene. In 2014, the band was named “Best Band in NY” after winning The Greene Space WNYC / WQXR’s Battle of the Boroughs 2014. From there, the crew have been ambitiously pushing the limits on their craft and unique sound.
Pursuing music was an obvious choice for these artists. “I think most of the folks that we look up to and most of our peers share the same sentiment: It’s just something we needed to do. Eryn and I have been artists/performers most of our lives and avid music lovers so it seemed like a natural evolution.”
Favorite works from their discography are difficult to choose from, but they emulate the fruitful nature of the team effort at hand. “That’s really rough. It’s like picking between children! I will say that the very first song we wrote together, Talking My Soul, was definitely the seminal moment that set us on this path. Neither one of us had collaborated with anyone in that way, but as soon as we started it was clear that each of us was working with the right person. Our first few songs sort of spilled out and were created pretty quickly and intuitively.”
Future show aspirations are never far from their dreams. “We’ve had a lot of wonderful experiences on stage together. The pinnacle for us though, would be The Newport Folk Festival. We both have been several times as listeners, and to me it’s a music lover’s heaven. The community vibe is so strong and friendly, and we’ve gotten introduced to some of our favorite bands there. Someday it would be a huge gift and honor to share our music with those folks.”
Even with their success on the road, it is not always a picnic. They described one show specifically. “The one that springs to mind first is a Halloween show back in 2015. We had just lost half of our usual line-up and were kind of picking ourselves up again, trusting that if we just kept grinding, everything would work out for the best. It was definitely not the most comfortable show, but I’m damn proud that we did it.”
While inside the the medium of music, which is always growing and becoming hard to handle, 5j Barrow had their thoughts. “[It’s all very] complicated. As a consumer and lover of music, there’s never been a time where it’s been more accessible. The opportunity to get introduced to a new exciting band is just a click away whether it be Apple Music, Spotify, Bandcamp, or YouTube and most of the time it’s totally free or close to. Therein lies the issue for the independent band though. We, of course, want anyone and everyone to have access to our music, but at the same time we need to eat and pay our bills. At the end of the day, we and so many others are convinced that the only way to try and make a living is by touring and touring heavily. The personal face to face connection is priceless.”
As they explore their tunes and style, the organic element holds true to their evolution. “We’ve always treated this band naturally. We’ve never gone out seeking out musicians when we wanted more pieces. Every single member of the band has somehow presented themselves when we were ready for them. So there’s no telling who will be joining us or how we’ll evolve in the future, but we’re certainly open to it.”
Inspirational contemporaries are easy to choose from for the duo. “There are so many, but to keep it short we always answer this question the same way: The Avett Brothers. They’ve always been a huge inspiration to us, and we take a lot from there overall business model. I like to think they’re the ultimate example of a gradual build as they toured vigorously for years on their own and every step of the way were able to do it their way.”
They remain active every step of the journey. “We’re actually upstate in Kerhonkson, NY with our good friends Kyle and Chelsea Netzeband helping them build up an artist residency and retreat on their property. Their company Arts On Site has been growing right along side our band for years and they’re incredibly motivating and inspiring to us.” From there, the band has quite an adventure ahead. “Touring, touring, and more touring! We’re also releasing three EP’s over the course of this next year with the first entitled ‘The Journey, Vol. 1’ due out in early October!” Fans will be sure to keep a look out for that autumn treasure.
Give a listen to their tune Seagreen Dress below:
Seagreen Dress (Radio Edit), a song by 5j Barrow on Spotify