Tenille Townes’ Mask Comes Down in 'Masquerades'

Inspired by female powerhouses in country music, such as Dolly Parton and Shania Twain, Tenille Townes made the big move to Nashville from her home in Canada to pursue her dreams. Over the years, Townes has produced award-winning music like the moving track “Somebody’s Daughter” and was named 2019’s Female Artist of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards. She's following up her 2020 LP The Lemonade Stand, with a deeply vulnerable new collection.

Recent times in isolation allowed Townes to reflect on her inner thoughts more personally and let that flow into her songwriting. Through this confrontation with herself, Townes found two sides of herself that she is now embodying in two projects, the just-released Masquerades and Silver Linings – the latter arriving later this year. In a press release, Townes shared, “Masquerades really represents those things that we get used to hiding behind and the idea of being able to step out and still hold on to the hope with both hands in the middle of that process.” In this invigorating body of work, Townes offers humanity and solidarity.

The first track on the EP is “When You Need It (feat. Wrabel),” which carries a symphony-like

orchestration of piano and stringed instruments that grounds the tune in a comforting sensation. The sweet harmonization from Wrabel with Townes offers a gentle reminder that sometimes all we need to get by is a friend by our side. With a steady beat and acoustic chords coming into play, the tune shines brighter with hope as the two artists sing, “Sometimes a friend is all we’re needing / And I’ll be there when you need it.” This reassurance can be felt even further with the track’s music video. It depicts the song as a conversation shared between Townes and Wrabel as they stroll through a house that changes from depressive blue lighting to a comforting warm glow as the song furthers.

A track that suits the imagery for the project as a whole is “Villain In Me.” This reflective track encompasses the hard truth that sometimes our thoughts are our enemy. Townes opens up and shares her depressive moments and how it can be difficult to shake those clouds away. The tune consists solely of acoustics, highlighting Townes’ raw and ethereal vocals. Often, we try to hide our honest emotions, and Townes best explains this by singing, “Sunshine and a smiling face / Sometimes I wear it like a mask” – a fitting verse for the project as a whole.

Another highlighted song from the body of work is “Shared Walls (feat. BRELAND).” Strong acoustic guitar strums introduce the tune, as the smooth voice of Townes intertwines into it. The lyrics share a story of two neighbors who overhear each other’s lives from their separate rooms. While they are strangers, they know a lot more about each other than one might assume from the outside looking in. After BRELAND comes into play, the two artists sing together, “If you need to call / You know I’ll be there for you” as they both share a mutual understanding of feeling alone. The track continues Masquerades’ theme of hope and emerging from tough times.

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