Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

‘Y’allternative’ band June Shine makes space in Austin music scene

Kevin Kim
‘Y’allternative’ band June Shine performs at UT fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon on March 20, 2024.

First releasing music under the band name June Shine at age 15, lead singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist J.R. Chambers moved to Austin to become a Longhorn and explore the local music scene. Anticipating the upcoming release of their first EP in three years, the band’s new work echoes their interests in rock and roll and southern rock music.

“The band is a constant evolution of something I created in my late teenage years,” said Chambers, a junior economics major. “It’s something I set aside for a couple years because I was unhappy with what I created.”

Originally from Georgia, Chambers said he was a big fan of UT and liked the independence of the Austin music scene, particularly the ability to explore his own interests outside the music industry.

“Texas has a lot of people that I look up to from the past, especially in Austin,” Chambers said. “(There’s) Willie Nelson and Waylon Jennings, who started this whole independent ‘go out to Texas and do your own thing’ and freedom of artistic expression. I really believe that even while it might not be exactly like that today, those values still linger in the city.”

Most well known for their cover of artist Tyler Childers’ unreleased song “Jersey Giant,” with more than 707,000 streams on Spotify, Chambers said the band’s popularity gives him confidence in the band’s future.

“When I got to college, (music) was something I didn’t want to rush getting back into,” Chambers said. “I wanted to make sure I had the right people in the right place.”

The band’s current lineup includes fiddle player Jonah Calvo and guitarist Richard Carter.

“I came down here, and I knew in advance that it was a great city for live music,” Calvo said. “I decided I didn’t want to waste that.”

Originally from Minnesota, Calvo said that live music didn’t play a big part in the college scene there unless you knew to go to underground venues or house shows.

“Here, there are frequently big parties and events that are booking smaller local college country acts,” Calvo said. “It’s really cool that that’s something people are booking and that the crowds seem to enjoy (it). I’ve really loved being a part of that.”

Carter, a freshman American studies major, said Chambers connected with him through their fraternity. Carter said in addition to loving the mix of genres June Shine incorporates, he enjoys the band’s ability to work together.

“I love the guys in the band,” Carter said. “It’s a great group of people and we have good chemistry.”

Carter said the band collaborates well musically, communicating onstage and exchanging solos during performances.

“Sometimes, without even rehearsing something, we just kind of come up with something awesome,” Carter said. “It’s just awesome. That’s a great feeling.”

Carter said June Shine’s music infuses sounds of country alternative, electric guitar, fiddle and drums.

“I think (the EP)’s definitely going to be better than our last release in 2021,” Carter said. “Better sound quality and just better music. Very exciting.”

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