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The personal and professional relationship of Tommy Townsend and the late Waylon Jennings goes back decades.
Townsend, the country music singer, shared details with Fox News Digital about his “new and old” album with Waylon Jennings titled “Southern Man,” which was released last Friday.
Townsend – who considered himself a country music artist since he was 5 – made music with the late country star in the 80s and 90s, and the music was never released.
“I signed a record deal with Audium Nashville in September, and it was just to do a three-album deal,” he explained. “In conversation, he [the album] came. They were like, ‘You got what?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s a record that Waylon Jennings and Jerry Bridges produced when I was younger, and it never came out.'”
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Townsend shared that his label wanted to hear it and once they did they “loved it”. He shared that BFD/Audium Nashville General Manager Chuck Rhodes called it “one of the best country records I’ve heard in 10 years.”
His label then asked if they could release the music, and he said “definitely” because he always considered it a “really good record that never got a chance to be heard”.
Townsend first met Jennings when he was 13.
“I met Waylon when I was 13,” Townsend explained. “The Hells Angels at the time were looking after his safety, and my parents had spoken to one of them and said their son was a Waylon fan.”
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Townsend shared that one of Jennings’ security guards replied, “Well, bring Tommy here after the show, and I’ll bring him over there to meet him because Waylon loves kids.”
Although Townsend and Jennings first met when he was a young teenager, they didn’t begin collaborating on music until high school.
“Jerry took me in first,” Townsend said, of Jerry Bridges. “Then Jerry and Waylon got involved, so that’s how it all started.”
When Waylon and Townsend started working on this album, Townsend was only 19 years old. They continued to slowly create new records over a 10-year period, and the album was never released.
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Jennings – who pioneered the Outlaw movement in country music – died in 2002 at age 64 from health problems related to diabetes.
Townsend recalls that working with Jennings was “so easy” because “he was so nice to be around”.
“He let me try my own things,” he shared. “He always encouraged me in everything I did. He was just a great guy.”
When Townsend recalled his favorite memory with the Doomsday icon, he laughed thinking back to a time when the duo played together.
“I was playing with him one night and the guitar tech said, ‘I’m going to change your guitar strings because Waylon won’t call you until the middle or end of the night,'” he said. he declares.
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“So I said ‘Great’. There were only four or five songs in the show, and Waylon called me and the guitar tech only had three or four strings on my guitar.”
“So I came out and said to Waylon, ‘I have to use your guitar,'” Townsend said. He noted that Waylon was a “pretty big guy”, so he had to lean in to hear him on stage.
“Well, this friendship is taking it too far,” Jennings joked to Townsend. “Then he took his guitar off, put it on me and was like, ‘Have fun.'”
Townsend noted that Jennings will be on several songs on the album, both performing and singing. He’s most excited for country music fans to get some of the “Waylon flair.”
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“It’s a good country album,” Townsend said. “I didn’t write any of the songs on the album, but these are great songs that no one has ever heard with great 80s and 90s flair.”
Townsend also credits Jennings with being a “huge influence” on the country artist he is today.
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