Tenille Townes has always been one to experiment, push the boundaries and create unique music. Tomorrow, she is back with her new EP – Train Track Worktapes – proof of that sentiment.
One thing that has always been abundantly clear about Tenille Townes – her love for songs, the songwriting and the stories behind them. That love has always come through in her music that paints vivid pictures and stories. Tomorrow, she returns with a unique collection of songs – Train Track Worktapes. The EP was conceptualised, written, and recorded on a charity train trip that covered nearly 3,000 miles. A tradition in her native country, the CP Holiday Train benefits local food banks when their need is greatest, as each attendee brings donations to catch the free concert that occurs right on the train cars, the doors folding down to become a stage. During their 15 days onboard last December, Townes and her band played 65 shows to crowds ranging from dozens to thousands in communities across southern Canada. From this incredible tradition, came a beautiful collection of five songs.
The collection places the idea of a travelling soul front and centre. So, the first track, ‘Home to Me’ is filled with charm, in a love song where home is a lover. ‘I can’t help it, I’m a travelling soul, like that river running / I was born to go, but wherever all these winding paths and railroad tracks may lead / You’ll still be home to me.’ It’s a track that builds on the premise of what Townes has tried to achieve in this project with true power.
There’s a sense of community and musicianship that runs through on the songs. So, ‘Pieces of My Heart’ has a campfire thrumming heart in the track about life on the road ‘Keep leaving pieces of my heart / In all these towns that feel like home / Can’t help it I’m a traveller / It’s in my veins, it’s in my bones.’ There’s an inherent singalong refrain that builds this sense of musical community at its core. So too, ‘Coming Together’ is a jaunty and lively track about living and loving on the road. ‘Follow the music, the kind that makes any day better / We’ll sing about the way it feels to be right here, coming together.’
Of course, there is a deal of introspection that we have come to expect from Townes. Final track, ‘Wheels’ is a moodier and pensive track about the inevitability of time itself – ‘These wheels from spinning round‘ – so too, her cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Landslide,’ Townes shines a spotlight on her vocals, in her ability to redraft the well-known and well-covered song and pour a staggering level of poignancy into the lyrics.
Over the past few years, there has certainly been a sense of country music singers and songwriters returning to their roots, and to the heart of the song, with the growth of live albums and rough and ready recordings, like The Marfa Tapes. On Townes’ Train Track Worktapes, she continues that tradition. This collection is rough and ready, authentic country music at its finest, putting the song and the story front and centre.