REVIEW: Tawnya Reynolds - 8 Track

Tawnya Reynolds - 8 Track

On my way to The Sutler Saloon to talk with Tawnya Reynolds about her latest record, 8 Tracks, I was listening to the album for the fourth or fifth time in my car. Tawnya’s straight-forward brand of country songwriting pumped out of the speakers of my silver Dodge Grand Caravan and caught me feeling a little nostalgic for my time growing up in the Southwest.

Cutting across Interstate 440, her single “B-Side” reminded me of the reasons that we love music-- country or otherwise. I was so transfixed by her voice, the guitar riffs, and all of those pedal steel licks that I hadn’t realized that my gas light had clicked on three miles ago and the meter was pointed squarely and precisely at “Empty.”

That’s the kind of power and honesty that Tawnya Reynolds and her music have. Not too honest, though. A few of the songs on 8 Tracks, especially “Side Effects,” deal with love and loss so well that I foolishly asked whether or not this was a “break-up” record. Tawnya graciously clued me into the fact that her husband, Cole Wright, produced and co-wrote with her across the album. She had me fooled, guys. Swing and a miss.

“When you’re honest in a song and when you let the song tell itself, you don’t have to make anything up,” she said. “Over so many years of writing songs, I’ve never tried to tell a story that I’ve neither gone through or seen someone else go through.”

Tawnya’s music feels both timeless and effortless-- qualities that helped her land a spot on Shakira’s team during season four of The Voice.

“A friend of mine was on the first season, but I was never one for the reality thing,” she said. “My husband said ‘If it ever comes up, you’ve gotta do it. Your audience would be huge,’ so I thought about it and came to the conclusion that If it’s not meant for me, I won’t make it”

“I had an audition, I went to Memphis, and I sang Willie Nelson which they specifically asked me not to do.”

After The Voice, Tawnya started kicking around ideas for a new record and the songs that would eventually become 8 Tracks.

“The plan was to find a sound and a group of songs that sound cohesive together, but have their own identity,” she says. “I didn’t want it to sound like one big song. The whole plan was to not hold myself to one genre. I have a way of dipping into different genres without letting go of who I am.”

The album’s lead single, “B-Side,” has the trimmings of a full-on country swing ballad, but resonates with listeners of every genre. Every music fan can understand Tawnya’s refrain in the chorus: “Play me somethin’ on the B-side / Something’s that never seen the spotlight.”

For Tawnya, her early explorations into songs on the flip side of singles brought with them some of her first experiences with country music.

“My first introduction to Merle Haggard was a B-side song that my mom always used to play in our van all the time called “Daddy Frank (The Guitar Man).” As a kid, I didn’t grasp what the song was about, I just knew I liked the melody. “

Tawnya put her time in at the honky tonks on Broadway. She’s signed publishing contracts and toured the country back and forth. She’s been settled in Nashville for more than a decade now, and 8 Track is the culmination of that time and those experiences. The album’s title harkens back to something we may find to be obsolete these days, but both the album 8 Track and its eponymous cassette deck format deliver fantastic country music when it’s needed. Thankfully, Tawnya’s record doesn’t have those horrible ka-chunk sounds between every song

Learn more about Tawnya's music at her website