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Country music is at its best when it honors the past while blazing a trail toward the future. Few artists can bridge the genre’s most beloved traditions while carving a path of their own, but Tommy Townsend successfully inhabits that unique space.
The Georgia native actually began recording his “new” album Southern Man more than 25 years ago working with Country Music Hall of Famer Waylon Jennings and his legendary bassist Jerry Bridges. Townsend met Jennings when he was just a kid and never dreamed his idol would one day become his mentor.
“Hell’s Angels used to do security for Waylon,” Townsend says, recalling the Georgia concert where he met Jennings. “My mom and dad were telling one of the guys that I liked Waylon and he said, ‘Bring Tommy down here to the gate after the show and we’ll let him meet him.’ I remember going on the bus and talking to him for 20-30 minutes. He was asking me questions about playing music and he was as nice as he could be, made me feel right at home.”