Watching Tenille play Country2Country music festival in March of this year was one of those moments where you realise just how good someone is. Listening to records will take you so far but to really appreciate Country music, for me, there is something special about the live performance and watching Tenille play Saturday in London was a highlight of the weekend for me; the joy at bringing her new songs to a live audience was palpable.
That weekend I had expected to be blown away by Tenille as I’ve been a fan for a while, but there was something I hadn’t expected and that was to discover a young artist who had such joy at bringing us his music that it made my heart sing. I stood and watched an artist who is surely going to be a future superstar of Country music and the rapport he shared immediately with Country music fans of every age, gender and background will be one of my greatest memories. I watched BRELAND perform tracks from his 2020 EP and he quite simply had the packed tent eating out of his hand. I have rarely felt such collective warmth for a new performer; that kind of star quality is rare.
So the news that these two exciting artists have collaborated on one of Tenille’s songs was brilliant news. Tenille really used the lockdown period to write and apparently wrote close to 150 songs. If they are all of the quality of ‘Shared Walls’ then she surely has material for several outstanding albums; exciting for Country music fans everywhere. BRELAND is no stranger to collaboration and has already collaborated to outstanding effect with Mickey Guyton, Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett, Chase Rice, Lauren Alaina, Nelly, Blanco Brown and Gary LeVox of Rascal Flatts. His music has truly blurred the boundaries of Country music in an innovative way but for this collaboration with Tenille there is a difference as for the first time it will not involve his writing for the simple reason that he felt he couldn’t add to what Tenille had created.
“This is the first verse I’ve ever cut that I didn’t write, and it’s because there was nothing I could add. Amazing story and message about what it means to be a good neighbour”
From Tenille’s point of view, she has followed on from the release of the brilliant ‘Masquerades’ EP in April and her award winning debut album ‘The Lemonade Stand’ with a song that obviously draws on the shared but very exclusive experience of being locked down in our apartments, physically so close to our neighbours and yet emotionally so isolated.
She says of the song:
“‘Shared Walls’ is a song about neighbours and I wrote it with my friends (Stephen) Wrabel and Eric (Leva) and we were all in our respective apartments sharing walls with the people around us in our lives, and just kind of talking about how that was feeling during the shutdown when we were all at home so much”
The video beautifully depicts the shared experiences of neighbours; the overheard crying, the writing of songs, the shared feelings, the boxing up of emotions, the wondering about what the other is dreaming about and whether they match our own aspirations. It really says that being isolated from each other made us appreciate how much more we share as human beings than just the apartment walls. It’s a hugely uplifting song for me because it says that the isolation from each other has brought home how important shared life experience is. “Shared feelings, shared walls”; we are so much more for sharing and if there is a silver lining from the pandemic it is the fact that we have come to understand how important human contact and shared experience is “shared hurt, shared healing”!
With shared experience and human contact in mind, its great news that Tenille Townes will be coming back to the UK and Ireland in October for a 6 date headline tour which will see her play Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Bristol, London and Manchester. Having seen her play C2C, I can tell you it’s a gig that you can’t miss. Also, if you get the chance to see BRELAND play live, grab it with both hands. I don’t think he has any UK plans at the moment but until then we can only keep our fingers crossed. Hopefully, both of them will grace C2C Festival and The Long Road Festival in 2023.