London’s Country Music Week taking place each year in Autumn is always a week-long celebration of the genre bringing back-to-back nights of artists from over the pond gracing various stages across the capital and has now spread to also include tour dates in other parts of the country too. In the case of Tenille Townes, it has also historically been an event of firsts. In 2018 she made her first trip to the UK for the CMA Songwriters Series, then a year later she sold out her first EVER headline show at Colours in Hoxton and here in 2022 (following her main stage appearance at C2C in March) CMW brought out another sold out show but this time at Scala in King’s Cross.
The reigning Canadian Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year (not forgetting that she also recently won Female Artist of the Year for the FOURTH year running) opened the show acoustically with “Where You Are” before her drummer and electric guitarist joined in to pick things up for “White Horse” as she started to rock out before putting her guitar down completely for “Come as You Are”.
As a live performer there are three things about watching Tenille that really stand out and leave a lasting impression. The first being her vocal range and how distinct her voice is that really can send chills right down your spine, the second is the way that she plays guitar is just so captivating in the way that she moves around and style that she plays then finally the way that she tells the stories to introduce songs is something that she has absolutely nailed to perfection.
The deep, powerful and thought-provoking “Jersey on the Wall” is a song that she will now have performed every night hundreds of times where she tells the story of her trip to the school in Grand Manan in New Brunswick who were mourning the death of their star basketball player in a car crash but the way that she tells her stories is so raw and honest that every time you hear it, you could feel she was telling it for the first time. Tenille also mixed things up a little in her set by dropping in her versions of Alanis Morrisette’s “Ironic”, a beautiful acoustic rendition of “At Last” as her encore which was originally recorded by Etta James and an absolutely amazing performance that really rocked out of the Melissa Etheridge classic “I’m the Only One”. Whilst the set was predominantly centred around songs from both of her CCMA Albums of the Year, she also performed “The Last Time” which is a track that she shared around a month ago along with a brand-new track that we were very fond of called “Back to Life” that is sure to quickly become a fan favourite.
The one hour and thirty-minute set was really well thought out in the way that the up-tempo songs and better-known songs were placed evenly throughout the set with really fun tracks such as “Girl Who Didn’t Care” and “Holding Out For The One” getting such strong reactions from the crowd as she played them back-to-back.
One of the real treats however was the acoustic part of the set which included the beautiful “When I Meet My Maker” which had the entire audience mesmerised before Ben Earle from The Shires joined her to step in as Wrabel to perform the duet “When You Need It” from her Masquerades record. From the first time that she graced the British Isles, the iconic “Somebody’s Daughter” has been the song that fans have been most drawn to, so it was only fitting for this to end her set with the bandm before returning on her own for a much deserved encore.
Throughout the show her warmth, honesty, fun nature and gratitude really shines through and really has the passion to take her songs and country music around the world. She has not just been a regular visitor to the United Kingdom, Ireland and mainland Europe in addition to her native Canada and new home in the United States but has also recently returned from Australia. This commitment has been deservedly acknowledged by the CMA as she has been nominated for this years International Artist Achievement Award in a category that you could argue that all 4 nominees (the others being Brothers Osborne, her good friend Ashley McBryde and fellow Canadian trailblazer Lindsay Ell) are more than worthy winners.
It was a delightful evening of music with a fully engaged crowd and whilst it was really nice to visit Scala for the first time in quite a while, I think that the trend of selling out bigger venues in London with each trip is likely to continue and we hope the next one isn’t too far in the future!
#1 Where You Are*, #2 White Horse, #3 Come as You Are, #4 Jersey on the Wall (I’m Just Asking), #5 Ironic, #6 Same Road Home, #7 TheLast Time, #8 When’s It Gonna Happen, #9 When I Meet My Maker*, #10 When You Need It* [with Ben Earle], #11 I Kept the Roses, #12 Back to Life, #13 Girl Who Didn’t Care, #14 Holding Out For The One, #15 I’m the Only One, #16 Somebody’s Daughter, #17 At Last*
The Canadian Country Music Association Album of the Year “Masquerades” from Tenille Townes is out now through Sony Nashville which you can listen to HERE.
Tenille has just announced new North American dates on her “Side A + B Tour” which you can find all the details for on her WEBSITE and you can follow her socially on TWITTERFACEBOOKINSTAGRAM or TIKTOK.
True country music is honesty, sincerity, and real life to the hilt. Garth Brooks