Tenille Townes Shares Personal Experience of Writing, Recording ‘When I Meet My Maker’

The song was inspired by her late great-grandmother.

Tenille Townes Shares Personal Experience of Writing, Recording ‘When I Meet My Maker’
Tenille Townes; Photo credit: Jessica Steddom

One of the more personal tracks on Tenille Townes’s new album, The Lemonade Stand, is “When I Meet My Maker,” a quiet, moving song in which Townes imagines what it will be like to go to heaven someday. The song is filled with visual images of heaven, including arriving at the golden gates and walking with God among the clouds and stars. Townes wrote the song shortly after moving to Nashville, and she says it came to her while she was thinking about her great-grandmother, whom she’d recently lost.

“She was such a glue to our family, literally a human version of a teddy bear,” Townes told Sounds Like Nashville. “She just loved everybody and would come to all these shows rain or shine and sit in the front row with her lawn chair drinking her cheap Canadian beer. Then she’d be the first one up in the morning taking care of everybody and we miss her a lot, so I was just thinking about her.”

The song’s moving lyrics speak for themselves and are only accompanied by simple guitar picking and an ethereal sound in the background. Not only was the song inspired by her great-grandmother, but when Townes recorded the song with producer Jay Joyce in a studio that used to be a church, she says she experienced a profound and spiritual moment.

“I walked into Jay’s studio, which is an old church, and he’d moved our little station for the day up to the altar of the church,” says Townes. “I was wearing [my great-grandmother’s] earrings, and I sat in this chair, and we just kind of ran through the song. I couldn’t help but feel her around, her presence around that day. That take of us just trying it out and running it for the first time is exactly the take you hear top to bottom on the record, so that was a very spiritual and special moment for me to be able to capture some of the raw emotion of that on this recording.”

The Lemonade Stand is out now and features 12 tracks, including Townes’s debut single, “Somebody’s Daughter.”