Tenille Townes: ‘Masquerades’ – EP Review + Exclusive Interview
Tenille Townes’ EP, Masquerades, is out now, April 22nd on all streaming platforms. Listen to the brand new music below and check out our exclusive interview.
Tenille Townes is one of the most promising young songwriters to emerge from the Nashville music scene over the last five years. Her knack for storytelling is one that is so authentic and evocative, and her new EP, Masquerades, is her most vulnerable collection of work yet. We had the opportunity to chat with Townes about everything to do with the project and more.
The project opens with the anthemic Wrabel duet, “When You Need It”, a song all about being there for someone when they need you most. The two have written several great songs together but this song was the result of their first co-write.
“I think it’s so crazy that this song about friendship is what marks the beginning of our friendship,” Townes shares with us about the collaboration. “Writing songs with him and getting to know him over the past few years has been one of the brightest silver linings for me in a really dark time. I told him, ‘We have this song, it’s the first song we wrote, I love it, and you have to sing on it.’ I’m so glad he was up for that.”
“The Sound Of Being Alone” is one of the true standouts on the record. Everything about it is interesting: the groovy bass line, the daringly introspective song arc, the booming drums, Townes’ vocal delivery… it’s completely unexpected in every way for a country song, and it may be one of the best of the year, tied with other cut “Villain in Me”.
“Is it the washing machine that keeps on startling me? // Is it the sound of you not calling // Who knows? // I don’t // It’s just the sound of being alone // It comes, it goes // it’s just the sound of being alone // Too much of anything is never a good thing // Is it a bad thing I’m good on my own? // I could say anything, nobody’s listening // It’s just the sound of being alone.”
“This song has got a little bit of tension and frustration, I think, in the way that I get to sing it. It feels good to put that kind of emotion in a song,” Townes tells us. “This song came from literally going insane in my house by myself….just feeling haunted by the voices in my own head and the thoughts that I was processing. I think as an entire world we’ve never felt lonelier than we have these past few years, you know?”
Previously released “When’s it Gonna Happen” and “Villain in Me” remain two of the strongest songs on the project; particularly the last one. Townes illustrates such restraint vocally and sonically in the song, which begins on the offbeat, a move that an artist like one of Townes’ favorites, Joni Mitchell would pull. “I think I was just soul searching… I went back to some old Joni Mitchell records during this time,” she shares. “Villain in Me” is achingly personal, with lyrics that hit you in your gut: “I try to be a hero ‘til it brings me to my knees // Yeah, there’s a villain in me”. It’s a strong contender for the best country song of the year.
The other collaboration on Masquerades is the song “Shared Walls” with Breland, which utilizes building up the production so elegantly. “I actually wrote this song and recorded the guitar and vocals for it in my apartment! I had the track started, and I got to work with my friend Jackson Hargrove, he’s incredible… it was so amazing to hang out and dream about the different production elements of the song with him,” Townes explains to us. “He did such a great job of building it in an emotional way that kind of comes to life in the right part of the song. And having Breland’s vocal on there was such a dream and brought the whole track together in my opinion.”
The project’s closer is the cinematic, driving “Light in Your Eyes”, a gorgeous, dreamy, love song that in some ways contrasts the rest of the EP, setting listeners up for whatever comes next for Townes. It’s reminiscent of the best songwriter records from the ‘90s – a sound that doesn’t really exist anymore.
“This project was terrifying, honestly. I have this thing where I just trust the music, if I feel it in my gut or in my heart a certain way, I trust that,” she tells us. “There was a combination of ‘I’m so ready’ and completely terrified all at the same time. I really do hope, and what gives me so much courage to share these songs, is hearing from people who say ‘I feel the same, this is my truth too.’ I’m so glad to be stepping into this space of sharing more. It’s really exciting for me to be standing on this new frontier.”
Masquerades EP Tracklist:
- When You Need It (featuring Wrabel)
- When’s It Gonna Happen
- The Sound of Being Alone
- Villain In Me
- Shared Walls (featuring BRELAND)
- Same Road Home
- Light In Your Eyes
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Masquerades EP is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.