n astute observer of the human condition, Tenille Townes’ discography is rife with stories that reverberate with heavy truths. Embracing good and bad, high and low, her singular voice and deft storytelling connects across geography and generations. Coming next from the revered songwriter, CCMA Entertainer of the Year, and two-time JUNO Award winner is the Train Track Worktapes, a five-song project to be released 21 April. Pre-save/pre-add this special collection HERE.
“Being in motion is my favorite state. I love the hum of the engines and the blur of the evergreens out the window, in any mode of transportation. I really do believe that home is not a place, but a feeling that you get,” said Townes. “And being on the road, singing songs for people and feeling a part of a collective brought together through music, that feels like home to me.”
Conceptualised, written, and recorded on a charity train trip that covered nearly 3,000 miles, the Train Track Worktapes is a collection as unique as the experience it was born from. 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.
“The generosity of everyone bringing donations to their local food banks as we travelled along was a reminder to me of how much good there is in the world, especially in the heart of the smaller, remote communities. In between all these shows, I made it my mission to write about what it felt like to witness that, ride the high and capture what I was feeling on the trip,” said Townes.
Across the five tracks, the gifted raconteur explores concepts such as what defines home, living life in motion, fulfilling a troubadour spirit, and feeling joy so all-consuming you fear its end. The songs came quickly, faster than Townes had ever experienced, with an urgency that reflected the constant momentum she and her band were feeling on their travels. She couldn’t deny the burning need to capture the experience in the most universal way: through song. With stripped-down, roots-driven sonics that call back to her debut release, Living Room Worktapes, Townes’ transcendent vocals shine with raw emotion.
Townes, a producer on the project alongside guitarist Jaxon Hargrove, and her band got resourceful with their setup. A suitcase turned into a kickdrum. Tin foil and paper bowls became a shaker. Teacups made the perfect substitute for a triangle. They borrowed equipment and microphones from the train cars housing the stage and gear. Recording mainly in the train’s caboose, sometimes capturing takes in 20-minute spurts between shows, the group allowed the rattle and rhythm of the train to sink into each song in its natural, fated manner.
“This collection of songs will always represent that travelling spirit. I hope anyone who listens feels like they are riding right there with us,” said Townes.