5j Barrow, grew up in Lakewood; she says her upbringing in “a really creative, very supportive of the arts family” gave her the motivation to pursue a career as an actress and singer.
The band performs with locals Maura Rogers & the Bellows at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 28, at the Music Box Supper Club.
“My mom is a visual artist and my dad is not an artist but supports it,” says Murman. “I have an older sister who’s also in the arts, and they supported us. We loved creating stories and putting on our own shows. That developed into us dancing and singing and doing lots of theater in town. From there, I always loved telling stories and doing it in a really creative way.”
Murman formed 5j Barrow in 2011 when she met bandmate Jason Hite in San Jose, California. They had worked on a play together and discovered they had much in common.
“We talked about music and found that we had similar tastes,” says Murman, who cites Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Van Morrison and Fleetwood Mac as influences “We also had been writing songs on our own and were looking for someone to bounce ideas off of.”
Named Best Band in NY after winning the Greene Space WNYC/WQXR’s Battle of the Boroughs 2014, the group released its debut album, From the Dim Sweet Light, that same year.
Last summer, Murman and Hite came to Cleveland to record a handful of songs with local singer-songwriter David Mayfield. The single from the forthcoming album, “Sea Green Dress,” includes a reference to Cleveland. The folk-y tune shows off Hite’s evocative voice as he sings with the vocal power of the late, great Jeff Buckley.
“We write more from an emotion or a feeling,” says Murman. “[‘Sea Green Dress’] came to Jason really quickly. It was one of those songs. He wrote that about me. It’s a classic love song. He wanted to honor those classic simple songs that people can really connect to — Frank Sinatra and the classic songbook style. That is the song that everyone remembers when people hear us play live. It’s been really cool to see how people connect to that one.”
After the Music Box show, the band plans to return to New York to play a proper release show. Murman and Hite will tour up until November, when they have plans to marry.
“We want to cover as much of North America as we can for the next year,” says Murman. “It’s been a dream of ours to take our music and explore different towns and see where our music resonates. We just want to continue to build momentum.”