Runaway June Leave the Hubbies at Home as They Tour with Luke Bryan: 'We Can't Have Distractions'

The country trio released their latest EP, backstory, on Friday

Runaway June had a major case of FOMO this past summer.

"I keep seeing all of Luke's posts and all the pictures from the tour and yesterday, I just had this moment where I was like, 'I can't believe we get to do this again,'" Jennifer Wayne tells PEOPLE mere days before joining Luke Bryan's Proud to Be Right Here Tour. "It was a real feeling of gratitude that we get to go play music for a living and people like Luke Bryan are there to support us."

Indeed, there is a cavalcade of emotions currently circling the country trio made up of Naomi Cooke, Natalie Stovall and Wayne, as the three are not only going out on the road with Bryan but are also celebrating the release of their brand-new EP backstory, their first new project since 2019.

"We definitely stretched a little bit with the sound," says Cooke of the EP, which features cuts produced by the legendary Dann Huff. "You can really hear our influences. It's The Wallflowers meets The Killers. Those were some of the non-country influences we were thinking about, and Dann really encouraged us to go in that direction. But at the same time, Dann has this innate ability to keep us sounding 'country.' Every single note matches the emotion of the lyric."

Runaway June
Runaway June's backstory. CeCe Dawson

And while one might assume that the EP would be filled with love songs, somewhat matching the bliss of their personal lives at the moment, there is in fact another story to be told on backstory.

"You have to know your backstory so that you can know where you're going," explains Cooke, who married Martin Johnson — lead singer of The Night Game and Boys Like Girls — in July. "That's what we're displaying with this music. And yes, there are songs about breakups, but there are all different kinds of breakups. There's all different kinds of heartbreak."

She adds, "As much as they are literal, they're also metaphors for the no's we have gotten throughout our career and the different paths that we've had to take. In a way, it's us telling a lot of our story in the form of a love story. Having a clear path of where we came from and where we are now let us have a really clear trajectory of who we are moving forward."

Runaway June
Natalie Stovall, Naomi Cooke and Jennifer Wayne of Runaway June. CeCe Dawson

And if the shining light of the EP — the simply irresistible cut "Down the Middle" — is any indication, Runaway June is surely headed in the direction of country music stardom.

"'Down the Middle' was such a special song to be a part of, because that is one that they had written before I even joined the project," says Stovall of the song written by Cooke, Wayne, Barry Dean, Tofer Brown and former Runaway June member Hannah Mulholland. "From day one, it's been a special song. And it was so beautiful to be a part of it and be able to create something that you really feel down to your toes when you're singing it, because we've all been there. We all know exactly what that feeling feels like."

Of course, it's a feeling that Runaway June now finds in their collective rearview mirrors, as the three women are now all happily married as they sing songs of heartbreak, break-ups and moving on.

"All three of us are in this beautiful state of having found our husbands," explains Cooke. "But with this project, we really wanted to focus on all the stuff that we've been through to get to this point. And that's why we call it backstory."

And no, the hubbies aren't coming on the opening weekend of the Luke Bryan tour with them, no matter how in love they are.

"My husband's so funny," says Wayne, who married fellow country artist Austin Moody in January of this year. "He was telling me that he just wants to drive behind us. He didn't want to be on the bus. He just wanted to drive."

"And my husband is kind of the same way," adds Cooke with a laugh. "He's also in a band, so he knows how crowded buses get! They're all going to come out, but I think we need to get some shows going. We can't really have distractions right now."

Indeed, all eyes will be on Bryan and his constant on-stage antics.

"Bring it on," quips Cooke. "It's cool because I really think that the personality of his show matches our personalities and the personality of our show. It's going to be an explosion. We're girls that are down for anything and Luke seems very much that way in the little bit that we know him. I think it's going to be more fun than we can even prepare for."

Related Articles