Tenille Townes | The Lemonade Stand | (Columbia)
Three out of Five Stars
After two early albums on the independent Royalty Records label, Tenille Townes makes her major label debut with The Lemonade Stand, an album that finds her a confident and credible artist clearly capable of courting widespread crossover appeal. After sweeping last year’s Canadian Country Music Awards after being accorded Female Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year and both Single of the Year and Video of the Year honors for her song “Somebody’s Daughter,” she’s now up for two of the top prizes from Canada’s prestigious Juno Awards as well. And yet, hat doesn’t even begin to skim the surface as far as all the accolades that have come her way. She’s had top-charting singles, a pair of nominations from the Academy of Country Music, and widespread acknowledgment as one of country’s most promising up and comers.
Still, it’s clear that Townes has greater ambitions than simply to be confined to any singular stylistic realms. The new LP makes it apparent that she’s aiming for appeal to a wider market, one occupied predominantly by younger listeners who are far more intent on sourcing a groove rather than witnessing some grit.
That’s not to say Townes eschews more serious sentiments. Even the most commercial song on the album, opening track “Holding Out for the One,” extols the notion that it’s better to find lasting love than to settle for a quick, convenient connection. Likewise, the gospel-like gravitas of “When I Meet My Maker” resonates with true devotion, further squashing any notion that Townes is merely a flakey pop princess with nothing more to offer than a series of radio-ready songs.
In a press release that accompanied promotional copies of the album, Townes summed up her sentiments succinctly. “This record is the dream that I had when I was a seven-year-old kid singing along in the backseat of the car,” she said. “She would really be freaking out right now.”
In that sense, the album is tailor-made for a mass appeal audience. “Where You Are,” for example, comes across as upbeat and infectious. Townes’ wildly successful single “Somebody’s Daughter,” and its accompanying songs “Lighthouse,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Find You,” are all equally effusive, each an example of perfect precise pop. So while The Lemonade Stand offers mostly familiar fare, it also makes for a genuinely tasty treat as well.