When ERIN ENDERLIN writes a song, more is born than melody and rhyme. Women and men leap from her music, as fully formed and real as we are, all blood and sweat, living, loving, killing, and dying.
“I love story songs,” Enderlin says from her home in Nashville. “It’s amazing to me how in just three minutes, you can create a whole character who wasn’t there before that you can really see and even understand.”
Enderlin has taken that love of story songs and upped the ante: her new album Whiskeytown Crier puts all the sad souls she’s grown so fond of singing and writing about in the same small, fictional city––Whiskeytown. She explains that the second half of the title is a nod to “a newspaper and the old town criers that used to deliver the news.” Over forlorn steel and haunting fiddle, the town’s secrets are exposed, sometimes with a sense of foreboding that nods to the Louvin Brothers, other times with an empathetic sadness that recalls Reba singing “Fancy.”
With the exception of half of one duet, all of the perspectives offered on Whiskeytown Crier are female. The result is unprecedented: a concept album devoted to women’s experiences in small town, America––and an inspired musical echo of William Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County.
Enderlin has helped listeners see through other’s eyes for years. She is the writer behind award-winning songs “Monday Morning Church” by Alan Jackson and “Last Call” by Lee Ann Womack, critically acclaimed “You Don’t Know Jack” by Luke Bryan, and a host of other songs for Randy Travis, Terri Clark, Joey + Rory, Tyler Farr, Tara Thompson, Muscadine Bloodline, and more. As an artist, her 2011 eponymous debut earned praise from Billboard, American Songwriter, and others, and led to shows with Willie Nelson, Marty Stuart, Kip Moore, Terri Clark, and more.
Enderlin has also emerged as one of those artists other artists are listening to. Merle Haggard dubbed Enderlin a “wonderful singer,” while Miranda Lambert calls her a “badass.” “She’s a great writer and singer,” Lee Ann Womack says. “I’m always excited to hear her stuff.”