Friday (March 11th) sees the end of a two year wait for Tenille Townes’ appearance on the main stage at the C2C Country To Country Festival.
Following a show at London’s Bush Hall during Country Music Week of October 2019, Tenille was scheduled to be a part of the “Introducing Nashville” session opening the festival in March 2020. But having appeared on the Amsterdam leg, she never made it to London before the festival was cancelled and she had to rush back to the US before the borders were closed.
One positive thing to come out of the delay is that, with the late cancellation of Runaway June, Tenille has been given the opportunity of a full solo set on the main stage. She spoke with Paul Lewis and looked ahead to her festival performances.
PL: How does it feel to be coming back to the UK, after this long delay, and getting to play on the main stage at C2C?
TT: I’ve been so looking forward to coming back to see everyone. Two years ago, we were literally waiting in Amsterdam, to make the flight. It was such a crazy time, and my heart has been just longing to return since. I could not be more grateful to get to be a part of all three of the shows (London, Glasgow & Dublin).To be on this festival is such a dream. I’m so excited to see all my friends in the UK.
PL: And now that you’re doing a full set, you’re able to bring your band with you?
TT: Yes, my band are so excited. We are all coming, I’m so thrilled. We could not be more excited to get on that plane.
PL: Let’s talk about your new music. You’ve released 3 singles in the last few months. Are they going to be part of an album? Or are they one-offs?
TT: A few of them will be, yes. I’m really excited to be moving towards a collection of new music, and it’s been wonderful to share pieces of it along the way, even to post a clip of a song. I missed being able to be together and try out new songs live, so I thought, let’s post a clip and see what happens. And it was exciting to see people go “oh my goodness, I feel this song. I feel the same way”. That means the world to me. So it’s been fun to release songs along the way, but I’m really excited to be rounding the corner to a full collection, hopefully very soon.
PL: So you’ve started recording an album?
TT: Yes, we’ve been recording all along the way. We’ve got bits and pieces ready to go, and there’s definitely a theme in my mind of how the songs connect and what I want to say with them as an entire collection.
PL: It’s good to hear such a focus on a coherent album, in the days of one-off tracks and EP’s.
TT: I will forever be an album romantic. But I know there’s a new frontier now, with a “season” of releasing songs, and there are exciting elements in releasing bits and pieces on our way to the album, and having a kind of adventure along the way instead of just waiting for the whole product to get there (With her last album “The Lemonade Stand, Tenille released a run of singles, culminating in an EP “The Road To The Lemonade Stand” before the full album arrived).
PL: On “The Lemonade Stand”, you wrote a number of songs with Daniel Tashian (who, among many things co-wrote & produced Kacey Musgraves’ Golden Hour and Star Crossed albums and Brett Eldredge’s last album, as well as having his own band, The Silver Seas). What was that experience like?
TT: Daniel is remarkable. He has such a gift and is such a vessel for melody, in the most special way. He’s an absolute bright light in our music generation.
PL: He’s even made an album with Burt Bacharach, which seems like the ultimate acknowledgement of how great he is with melody.
TT: You’re so right. That was so exciting to watch him be a part of that project. And that music is stunning. It’s so beautiful.
PL: Will you be working with him again?
TT: Yeah, we still write together, and he’s a very dear friend. I think we’ll always create music in some way together.
PL: Tell me about covering Hallelujah (the Leonard Cohen song, Tenille release as a single). Was there a specific reason for you covering that song?
TT: I love that song. I’ve always loved singing it, and it was a part of a very special moment for me. In my first meeting with Sony Music, I was playing them a few of my songs and Randy Goodman, the president of the label, said “something about your voice feels like Jeff Buckley”. And talking about Hallelujah (which Jeff Buckley famously covered), he asked “you don’t by chance sing that, do you? I want to hear your version.” I hadn’t played it for years, but it’s one of my dad’s favourite songs. So, on the spot, I tuned my guitar, took a breath and hoped I remembered the words. I sang it, and it was like an out of out of body experience. I think that song lends itself to some really cool spiritual moments and that was one for me. I got offered the deal after that, and that moment will always be special to me, so I loved getting to record a version.
PL: You’re from Canada. I know you’re now in Nashville but it seems like there’s a strong Canadian country scene.
TT: It’s there, definitely, that’s the first place I got started writing songs and performing them and getting to know the music community, it’s got little pockets everywhere. I’m very proud to be Canadian.
PL: What’s, what’s next for you after Country To Country?
TT: I’m very excited to just keep rolling down the road. We’ve got more shows lined up for the spring; some fairs and festivals and a handful of headlining shows, which are very exciting to me. Then we’ll hopefully do some more touring through Canada this fall. And my heart is really excited to share some new music very soon. So C2C will be kind of stepping stone into the season of the new music. I’m so excited to get over there, and I can’t wait to see you guys.
Tenille Townes appears at C2C in Dublin on Friday, London on Saturday and Glasgow on Sunday. Her single “When’s It Gonna Happen” is out now.
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