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Couple Comes to Crystal Beach to Raise Their Family and Make Their Music

Christine Whelan FEO, April 11, 2024, VOL. 5 ISSUE 16

In the beginning, it was about two people just sitting around at a bar, she sang and he played the acoustic guitar. Every song they wrote started out being written with a single, acoustic guitar and a couple glasses of wine.

And so, they called themselves, Acoustic Joint.

Now, Steve and Carmen Juraic, with their first three singles, Downtown, Shadows and Fire of Embers already released across multiple radio stations around the world, celebrated the release of their fourth and fifth singles, Freeze and A Long Life, along with the official music videos on March 22.

The couple hopes these two songs will help kick start their new album, “A Whisper Away”, which is due for completion by year’s end.

The Love Story Behind the Music

On a recent Saturday morning, through speaker phone, I connected with the Juraic family. I could hear their three-year-old playing happily in the room on the other end of the line. The conversation became very informal and relaxed very quickly as I was informed, that Carmen was nursing their youngest while being interviewed. As Steve commented, multitasking at its finest.

The Juraic family moved to Crystal Beach from the GTA this past September.

When asked what their experience has been since they’ve moved to ‘The Beach’, Carmen answered, “It’s been amazing. Going for walks with the kids, everyone’s so friendly.” She shared that people have been readily offering information to help them get to know their surroundings and their community.

She added, “We’re really looking forward to the summer. We’re a ten-minute walk to the beach.”

Steve knew the area from coming to see friends over the years. “Crystal Beach was always one of my favourite spots.” It reminds him of his childhood days in Mississauga when it had a small-town feel, before it developed into the city it is now.

So, they decided to move so their children could grow up with that same experience.

Carmen, also preferring the small-town vibe, commented, “I’ve always been that small-town girl living in the big city.”

Where the Music All Began: An Unexpected Influence

Steve explained he grew up in a very traditional, European family. “I have pictures of me at four years old, playing the accordion. That’s what my family encouraged me to play.” But it was not what he wanted to play.

At 16, he played in a wedding band for about five years, traveling North America.

“We’re of Croatian background, so growing up, we were very much into folklore. I ended up playing a big, stand-up bass.” It was also not what he wanted to play.

“And then my buddy reminded me, ya know, there’s an electric version of this.”

Young Steve was happily surprised. “Really?”

And it was pointed out to him, “Yes. Gene Simmons plays an electric bass.”

Steve then shared a peek into a different side of his younger days. At four years old, he could barely speak English, but he loved listening to the rock band, KISS. And Simmons was the bass player.

That’s how I turned to an electric bass. And the rest is history, as they say.

Carmen has more of a formal musical background, taking Royal Conservatory of Music lessons to grade eight.

She admitted, “I was always a closet singer. I sang love songs by Jewel and Shania Twain.” She got over her fear of singing by getting up during karaoke nights. During this process, she met her husband.

First Words

Carmen recalled that fateful night, at a karaoke bar in Burlington, in 2017. “I sing Bonnie Raitt’s ‘Something to Talk About’ at karaoke. After finishing that song that night, I remember going to have a drink with a friend and Steve was there. He commented to me that he thought when I was singing, that it was the radio.”

And when Steve said, “I should get you to sing in my band,” Carmen first thought it was a pick-up line.

But it’s now a line in one of their songs Carmen wrote and has just been released.

On that night, Steve noted, he didn’t even want to go out. His friends talked him into it. He added, “Am I ever glad they did! Sometimes, it’s about the right place at the right time.”

Even though this conversation was over the phone, I could sense Steve turning to Carmen, looking into her eyes — as she fed their baby.

Creating the Collaboration

After a few years of recording these nights at the bar and realizing they might have something together, the couple started working towards their first album, deciding to collaborate with three others.

“Paul Venditti, Josh Gordon and Gary Petersen helped us kickstart this thing. We are very grateful to them,” Steve shared.

“And the Covid happened.”

In 2021, the group members were still not yet comfortable getting together in person.

As restrictions began to open up, Steve and Carmen contacted a couple of Croatian friends, lead guitarist Eddie Devcic and drummer John Bukovcan. “And this is who we play with now.”

Carmen, who had stopped playing piano after her younger Royal Conservatory days, enjoyed getting reacquainted with the ivories while playing cover tunes with Eddie and John.

“Our producer/engineer for all our songs, Dani Rosenoer, who plays keyboards for some of our tracks, is a former member of that groundbreaking, Ontario band, Three Days Grace.” Steve shared.

Adjustments and Acknowledgements

Now that the couple has the kids, the practices have been moved to John’s. Steve says they were blessed also with family. “My sister comes to watch the little ones while we go to John’s.”

He added, “Without Eddie and John, and the help of family, our dream could not be accomplished.”

“We’re halfway there. The dream is to finish this and leave a legacy for our children and our family,” Steve declared. “We started this back in 2019. Hopefully, we can get the rest of the songs done this year. They’re pre-recorded. They just have to be polished up, cleaned up.”

A Proud Accomplishment

“One of our songs, Freeze, was nominated for Indie Song of the Year in the UK. Another song, Shadows, also made it into the Top 10. We were the only band in the UK that had two songs on the Top 10 on the Indie charts.”

Steve shared a bit about, Freeze. “This is a song that I urge families to watch. It’s all about abuse in the house, stemming from parents’ upbringing and how it affects them. We wanted to send out a strong message to families that it’s all about the kids. Parents need to be consciously aware of what they say and how they act. Kids are always watching.”

Steve and Carmen are looking forward to having an album release party and inviting the community — their new community — to celebrate with them. “We want to get out and meet everybody, play live. That would be a dream.”

To follow Acoustic Joint, check them out on Facebook.

Photo provided by Steve Juraic

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