Tenille Arts - to be honest

Dreamcatcher Artists


This Canadian country singer is crafting her sound, one impressive release at a time… her goal isn’t so much to sound like her influences, but rather to create like them. Tenille has consistently showcased herself as a songwriter of increasing quality, and a powerful performer. She is shaking off the shackles of genre expectations and coming into her own with her ethereal vocals remaining constant over a diverse, explorative ground. Her music illuminates the fragilities and ephemeral nature of life with exceptional poise. Romantic entanglements, heartbreak and breakup are the building blocks of popular music songcraft, yet they can also be the most challenging and complex. The overall theme of this record is affairs of the heart, but Tenille’s approach is anything but conventional. These heart attacks are treated with hope and optimism by appropriating various treatment styles and personas to deal with the problems. Few expressions of heartache are this clear-headed, this self-incriminating in the name of healing. With nurse Tenille on the job, once you set foot in her hospital, there’s no guarantee of a cure, but her sensitive treatments will have you checking in again and again. Her vocals just seem to hug you. This is exactly what we all need right now … heavenly vocals that are so uplifting.

Gorgeous album opener to be honest explores the search for something to believe in in a relationship through honesty and openness. Stripped down to just electric and acoustic guitars, Tenille’s powerful lyrics about the inherent risks of coupling stands out, along with the sublime backing harmonies. Something I Can Cry To is a sort of a bleeding heart meeting a distant, unaffected, sparkly danceable rock band arrangement. How Do You Sleep At Night explores what it means to feel alone following a break-up, cradling vulnerability and loss with haunting. slow acoustic guitar picking, pensive lyrics, as she sings in her lonesome alto with the aching acoustic guitar present throughout. The relaxed pop grooves of People Change and Wonder Woman find Tenille showcasing her radio-ready accessibility on top of some deceptively intricate musical interplay.

Throughout the course of the passionate Mama’s Eyes, Tenille establishes her position as a link between the past and future, memory and imagination, child and parent. Nostalgia and idealising her memories, this is a deeply moving piece of music. Euphonic instrumentation meets the piercing vocals of pride, as Tenille pours her heart out into the emotional lyrics. In Call Me When You Get Home Friends, the chorus winds itself into a sing-song-like meditation. It is a joy to hear Tenille being playful with sonic textures, not shying away from a big country-pop moment in favour of a quiet acoustic one. 

Despite being joined by LeAnn Rimes on the power ballad Jealous Of Myself and Maddie & Tae for Last Time Last, neither single broke through in a big way on radio playlists across America or Canada. This shows just how tough it is for female country singers with exceptional vocal talent like Tenille Arts, to gain the kind of widespread following she so obviously deserves. This should not deter those who enjoy today’s country-pop sounds in seeking out this exceptional album by one of the genre’s finest exponents.


April 2024