Newcomer Tenille Townes has been turning heads with razor sharp lyrics and an unmistakeable voice on tracks like “Somebody’s Daugther” and “Jersey On the Wall (I’m Just Asking).” But she’s still got a few things to learn, and that’s where her famous mentors come in.
Speaking with Sounds Like Nashville, the rising star explains how touring with heroes like Miranda Lambert and Dierks Bentley has helped. Whether it’s backstage after a show or sitting around the lunch table, she’s been able to get some tough questions answered from artists who’ve truly “been there and done that.”
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This woman and her art inspire me so much. She writes the truth in the most poetic way that cuts straight to you and makes you believe, and that’s what makes her a songwriting legend to me. Her 7th album, Wildcard is officially out there today, and I’m so glad to have a whole new record of songs to listen to, and to carry with me in her collection that I will forever be looking up to. 💗 thanks for being you @mirandalambert.
“There’s a lot of advice,” she says. “I’ve talked to Miranda a lot about what it was like in her early days of opening up for George Strait or getting testy on the road. Kind of hearing her insight on what that part looked like for her. What she learned to do and not to do. You kind of take all that with you where you go, but I think more than any of the advice or wisdom, it’s really just knowing that she’s there. She’s like, ‘I got your back. I believe in what you’re doing.’ And that coming from someone who you look up to immensely is a pretty extraordinary gift.
“And Dierks took care of us on the road,” she goes on. “I can’t say enough about him. He is such a generous spirit, and he blew me away. I mean, he works so hard. He has so much fun. He loves music so much and his whole team, just really just took care of us. It was pretty awesome.”
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I keep trying to type this caption out and I have so much to say and am lost for words at the same time. Last night in Chicago was our official last show of the Burning Man Tour. What a crowd, and what a special night that I truly won’t forget. I still can’t believe this happened. I have been blown away by Dierks Bentley’s generosity all year in the way he and his entire crew have gone over and above for us, and then last night really blew me away. I walked out on stage to sing Different For Girls and he surprised me with the most beautiful Martin guitar I’ve ever seen, down to the detail of snowflakes in the inlay. I can’t wait for “this flat top guitar to have my back in a million bars” ha, and for all the songs I’ll write on here. The story of this guitar and this year of touring will forever mean so much to me. It’s crazy. And what’s crazier, is that inside the guitar was an envelope. And inside the envelope was an incredibly generous donation to Big Hearts For Big Kids, the charity in my hometown supporting our local youth shelter. Dierks, you are an amazing human I am so thankful to get to look up to. Thank you for being who you are and for the front row seat to watch and learn from you out here on the road. What a gift this year has been. ❤️😭 @dierksbentley
She’ll be taking all of that encouragement and wisdom with her on the next part of her journey — releasing her major-label album debut next year. The whole project is finished, Townes says, so fans will be getting a blast of new music “very soon.” And according to her, there’s plenty more of that insightful, sharp-edged writing to go around.
“I cannot wait to get this record out,” she admits. “It’s a collection of songs that means so much to me. I know there’s songs on there that the goal is [to make] people dance and forget about their worries, make them feel like they’re not alone. And then there are songs on there that get a little further into the heart of the matter. Those songs are special to me. I think that’s what music’s for — kind of being a companion in some of those darker places. So the songs are really special to me, too. I hope it’s a ride.”