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Towne: The Records That Changed Our Lives

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Towne performs Saturday, April 20, at Seaside’s The REP Theatre. Get your tickets for the show at

Jon Decious: While there must be at least 100 records that have changed my life, looking back I think Garth Brooks’ Ropin’ the Wind might be the one responsible (to blame) for helping steer me towards dedicating my life to music.


At seven years old, I was already feeling like a rebel trapped in my hometown, and Garth was the first artist—and that was the first record—I’d ever heard that felt and sounded like I felt…like it was mine. There was rock ‘n roll (“Shameless,” “Rodeo”), classic rock melodies like I’d heard on my mom’s James Taylor records (“The River”), and the familiar classic country that I was surrounded by (“What She’s Doing Now”), and they all came together to make a kid living on a pig farm off a white gravel rural road feel like there was, at least, one other person in the world that felt the same way.


To this day, I can still close my eyes and hear that worn out tape playing on my handheld red cassette player and feel the rush of turning the volume all the way up just to hear him sing Well, it ain’t no woman, flesh and blood/It’s that DAMNED old rodeo! And hoping my mom or grandparents weren’t standing around the corner.


It may sound stupid—especially in 2019—but for a kid from small town Kentucky in 1991, it was about as exciting as it got. And it lit a fire in me that’s never gone out.


Steevie Steeves: This record came into my life and inspired me, comforted me, and I believe it helped give me a strength to keep driving toward Nashville to start a new life. Sounds pretty crazy, huh?


KT Tunstall’s Eye to the Telescope was like listening to my inner voice on repeat. I wasn’t expected her album to speak to me the way it did. I guess you could say I needed therapy. At the time, I was trying to let go of my first love, leave a small town to pursue big dreams, work up the nerve to write my own songs, and get better at playing guitar.


I knew at some point, I was going to have to move away from everyone and everything I ever loved to find myself. It was scary for me.


Thank God for songs like “Heal Over” and “Through the Dark” for the constant reassurance that I wasn’t alone and that the unknown doesn’t have to be feared. “Suddenly I See” was my anthem in a way—about a girl with the world at her fingertips. There were times I felt like I was growing up too fast, and the song “Silent Sea” put things into perspective for me.


I mean, not only did KT inspire me to pick up the guitar, use a loop pedal, and get creative musically, her songs helped me stay the course of my destiny in a way. I played her album the entire way to Nashville, which has been my home now for 11 years. To this day, it’s one of the few albums I know front to back. It’s a gem! I’m definitely a better musician because of it.

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