Runaway June’s ‘Blue Roses’ Is a Tribute to Singer’s Late Brother
Start at the end of Runaway June's new Blue Roses album. The title track of the group's long-awaited debut album is a "deeply personal" ballad that tributes the close friends and family members the trio has lost in recent years.
Singer Naomi Cooke tells Taste of Country that it's their favorite co-write. "My brother was killed in a car accident a few years ago, and so when we were writing that song, I had him on my mind and was writing it for him," she says, seated next to bandmates Jennifer Wayne and Hannah Mulholland.
"All three of us have lost people close to us," she continues, "so that song is about that moment of intense heartbreak where you’re still seeing them in your dreams and you might reach out for them. You just wake up and they’re not there. It’s really, really intense.”
Of course a song this personal transcends, and the group has embraced stories from fans eager to share the heartache they went through before finding healing in "Blue Roses." Runaway June include the song in their set while on tour with Carrie Underwood. In fact, it's the song that calmed their nerves during a tense first show. Wayne recalls a huge arena suddenly feeling like a living room.
“That moment in our set particularly kind of brings everybody in because it’s so raw and it’s so naked. It’s just (Mulholland's) guitar and our voices," she says.
“And it’s imperfect," Wayne adds. "Like a perfect rose is like a red, beautiful rose. A blue rose is imperfect and that’s such a big theme of our album is honesty. And talking about the imperfect moments — our not-so-pretty moments.” Skip to "I Am Too" and "Head Over Heels" for evidence of how the "Buy My Own Drinks" trio embraces imperfections.
WATCH: Runaway June Say Carrie Underwood's Baby Looks Just Like Her!
Touring with Underwood has forced their growth as a band, Mulholland says. The 360-degree nature of the "Southbound" singer's stage means they need to spread out and speak to a room surrounding them, as opposed to a crowd directly in front. That's not an easy task, especially without the benefit of the screens and stage elevations the headliner uses.
“It gave us the opportunity to rehearse with our band a bunch and work up some new songs," Mulholland says "So I feel like just immediately it was a huge growth spurt."
Mulholland is the only married member of Runaway June, but all three women admit they'd love to have families one day. Watching Underwood do it all has been an inspiration. Their summer boss is at every rehearsal and soundcheck early, and she usually sings every note at full volume.
“I think it’s really cool for us to see that Carrie has a family that’s really successful and she’s got a great marriage and awesome husband and kids and she’s doing this life and that one," Cooke shares. "That’s important for us to see because all of us want families eventually and there’s moments where it’s like, ‘I don’t think that’s possible.’”
While Underwood has shows scheduled in the U.K. Canada and Nashville over the next two months, the Cry Pretty 360 Tour is currently on break until picking up again in September. Blue Roses features "Buy My Own Drinks," their current Top 20 hit, as well as their cover of Dwight Yoakam's "Fast as You," which the group chose as their cover when they were named Taste of Country RISERS in 2017.
Watch Runaway June Perform Their Debut Single, "Lipstick":
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