(Sony Music Nashville) When Tenille Townes stepped foot on the CP Holiday Train in December 2022, she didn't know it would result in one of her most introspective works to date - quite a feat for someone whose deft songwriting often pulls the curtain back on raw emotion. But with an experience as unique as the 15-day journey, Townes couldn't help but find herself mesmerized into creating. The resulting Train Track Worktapes will be released April 21.
"I sometimes feel like I'm in a vortex when I'm on the road, whether it's in a van or a bus or a bandwagon, the rest of the world kind of goes away. But being on this train, the rest of the world truly did just disappear," said Townes. "I always love being on the move, but something about this train just felt concentrated. I started to write songs in the morning before the shows and was just finding melodies. It was like they were coming in through the windows. I wanted to be able to capture the spirit of this moving train."
Today, she reveals the track listing of the DIY-style project, complete with a cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" recorded in a single take. Additional tracks include autobiographical opener "Home to Me," troubadour anthem "Pieces of my Heart," wandering ode "Coming Together," and additional one-take marvel "Wheels." Each song is accented in its own way with the rattle and rhythm of the train, from the hum of the wheels against the track to the clang of the bells from a crossing.
Train Track Worktapes, whose title harkens back to her stripped-down debut release Living Room Worktapes, was conceptualized, written, and recorded entirely during Townes' experience on the CP Holiday Train. Covering more than 3,000 miles throughout southern Canada, Townes and her band played more than 65 shows in just over two weeks, sometimes in temperatures as low as -24 F, right on the train as hydraulic doors lowered and became a stage. The CP Holiday Train benefits local food banks when their need is greatest, as each attendee brings donations to catch the free concert.
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 used boxed wine to cover air vents, so the sound didn't bleed into the recordings. They borrowed equipment and microphones from the train cars housing the stage and gear and recorded mainly in the train's caboose, sometimes capturing takes in 20-minute spurts between shows.
"We had a lot of limitations as far as gear went - it's not some fancy studio - so we just captured the music the best we could with what we had. And it was so much fun!" said Townes. "It felt like we were leaving this sonic footprint everywhere we were going. To produce these songs with just what we had around was really special. I hope anyone who listens feels like they are riding right there with us."
Train Track Worktapes Track Listing
1. Home to Me (Tenille Townes)
2. Pieces of My Heart (Tenille Townes)
3. Landslide (Stevie Nicks)
4. Coming Together (Tenille Townes, Jaxon Hargrove)
5. Wheels (Tenille Townes, Jaxon Hargrove)
Produced by Jaxon Hargrove and Tenille Townes