Life’s unpredictable purpose always seems to stem from life’s worst tragedies. That is just how Goodbye June was created. In June of 2005, guitarist Tyler Baker received the worst news of his life. His brother, PFC Shane Baker, was home on leave from the military and had been in a fatal car accident. His cousins Brandon Qualkenbush, Landon Milbourn and the rest of the family traveled to southern Indiana to comfort and ease the sting of unexpectedly losing a close loved one. For the next few weeks, the three cousins stayed together to comfort each other, reminisce about old times, laugh and cry over memories and, of course, play music together which essentially lead to the three of them writing songs to help pass the time.
In the months that followed, Landon, Brandon, and Tyler, all first cousins, began spending more time together in a makeshift rehearsal space in Tyler’s basement. “Music became a healthy emotional release,” says Landon, “which helped us to start the healing process and move forward with our lives.” When songs formed, they would take them to a local studio used to record jingles and radio commercials and started recording a demo. Once the demo was ready and they had a few shows under their belt, their family and friends began asking what their band name was. “We decided to name the band Goodbye June, to honor the memory of our brother passing and encapsulate what inspired the beginnings of this band,” explains Brandon, “if he wouldn’t have passed, I’d probably still be painting and never would have pursued music as a career.”
Brandon’s father, a Pentecostal preacher, and Landon’s father, a choir director, evangelized throughout the Bible belt during their childhood. Naturally, the cousins played and sang during these fiery Pentecostal church services. However, their musical influences are not confined to only the music they played in the sanctuary. “I would go and play at the Player’s Pub [a local blues bar in Bloomington, Indiana] and sit in on songs by anyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Booker T & The MG’s,” says Tyler. “It changed the way I thought about music. The music was built around moving people, much like the gospel music I was used to playing.” During their teens, Landon and Brandon found themselves listening to the secular music that was never allowed in their homes during childhood. “I remember sneaking in Bush’s Razorblade Suitcase record into my room and playing it with the volume turned down so low I had to have my ear right next to the speaker so my parents couldn’t hear it,” reminisces Brandon. You can hear these shadows of black gospel, blues, and old country hymns mixed into Goodbye June’s brand of rock.
Over the next three years after that long summer of 2005, the boys of Goodbye June began playing their material across the Midwest. They packed up their equipment in a borrowed trailer from a close family friend, and played to whoever would give them a stage. They returned home with stories about near death experiences, sleepless, rowdy nights and a flock of new fans throughout the Midwest. Goodbye June was on the map, and they have been pushing forward ever since. In 2009, taking the advice of close friends in the music industry, the cousins made the plunge and moved to Nashville TN, and became part of Music City’s emerging rock scene.
The members of Goodbye June have spent much of the past decade honing their skill as songwriters along with their proficiency as vocalists and musicians. Although Landon and Brandon are principally identified playing acoustic guitar and electric guitar, both cousins also play piano, drums, accordion and most anything else with strings or keys. Tyler always joked that he could “just play guitar” and that made him less of a man when compared to his multi-talented 1st cousins. Clearly, however, the sum of their collective efforts makes for a much greater musical experience. They typically write together and draw off of each other’s ideas. Being strong songwriters individually, and even stronger as a unit, there is never any shortage of material to build songs around. They have no set method to the songwriting process; the only constant is that everyone gets involved at some point. The fact is, the cousins of Goodbye June are constantly working on their music and perfecting their artistry, because they know that’s what it takes to make music that matters.
Their debut album “Nor The Wild Music Flow” released in June of 2012, alongside their highly anticipated debut music video “Microscope” featuring St. Louis Rams head coach Jeff Fisher and country star Steve Holy. The band embarked on a debut European tour in Fall 2013 where they toured through Germany, Sweden, Finland, Holland, Belgium, France, and Spain during a 6-week stint across the Atlantic. Goodbye June also just announced a new album coming soon with Grammy-nominated producer Paul Moak. The band is fired up about the yet to be titled sophomore project, stating “we want this album to showcase our grit and soul by focusing on straight up rock ‘n roll.”