Erin Enderlin Is Expanding Her One-Song Stories With 2019 EP Series
The current project for Arkansas-born, Nashville-based songwriter Erin Enderlin takes her character-driven storytelling, as heard on her 2017 solo album Whiskeytown Crier, from one-song snapshots to three-song cycles that allow listeners to properly meet Enderlin’s nameless, faceless representations of rural living.
Chapter One: Tonight I Don’t Give a Damn arrived on April 26 and launched a series of four EPs to be released throughout 2019 by Enderlin’s new label partner, Blaster Music. The first volume revisits “Broken” from Whiskeytown Crier by pairing the song with two additional snapshots of how hard living shaped its downtrodden leading lady.
“Broken” will be the only recycled track from a prior release, with future EPs including three brand-new songs centered on a single character.
“That song’s really important to me," Enderlin tells The Boot, "and I thought it would be cool to give it another chance to really get its audience."
These song cycles allow a student of classic country songwriting and a co-writer of songs recorded by Alan Jackson (“Monday Morning Church”), Lee Ann Womack (“Last Call”) and Reba McEntire (“The Bar’s Getting Lower”) to approach her craft differently.
“I thought it was really interesting to try to dive into the characters a little bit more individually,” Enderlin says. “I’ve thought about songs before, like "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain." That’s that one moment for that character, but where did she come from and where did she go?”
Enderlin’s own story when it comes to music predates taking piano lessons at age 5 or her earliest songwriting experiences as a 10-year-old: “My parents tell me a story about, they went out to eat at this restaurant, and there was this old blues man playing onstage,” she says. “I was only about 3, 3 and a half, and when they weren’t looking for about one second, I was onstage, trying to take the microphone.”
After years of music lessons and countless afternoons spent with her grandfather’s country record collection, Enderlin discovered her calling in life. “When I was 13, I started taking guitar lessons from a guy named Terry Holmes,” she says. “He was the first person to be like, ‘You know, people do this. People write songs and they sing songs for a living.’
"When you’re growing up, you don’t realize that singers are just like you. They’re regular people," Enderlin adds. "That’s when I started thinking, ‘Oh, I could go to Nashville and try my hand at this.'”
Enderlin moved near Nashville at age 18 to enroll in Middle Tennessee State University’s Department of Recording Industry. By her senior year, “Monday Morning Church,” her co-write with Brent Baxter, had become a Top 5 single for Jackson. Since then, she’s worked as a Music Row songwriter while maintaining a solo career. Along the way, she’s followed friendly advice received from a fellow storyteller.
“When I first moved to Nashville, I went out to see Suzy Bogguss play a show,” Enderlin says. “Afterwards, I said, ‘Look, I want to sing country music. If I wanted to be a doctor, I’d go to a hospital and shadow a doctor or go to lunch and ask some questions. If it isn’t too weird, can I ask you some questions?’ She invited me to come out and have a cup of coffee and pick her brain about being a country music singer. She’s really busy and hugely successful. She didn’t have to take the time to do that, but I find that most people here are really supportive.”
Expect Enderlin’s second of four EPs to arrive later this summer.
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