Two days after the release of her highly-anticipated Train Track Worktapes EP, Tenille Townes brought her exuberant live show to West Michigan.

Tenille Townes is a songbird trapped in human form, a gifted writer and vocalist who embodies everything it means to be country. She bucks the trends of mainstream radio culture and delivers a live show that’s worth far more than the cost of admission.

Recently, Tenille Townes brought her fiery live show to The Intersection in Grand Rapids, Michigan, just two days after the release of her latest EP, Train Track Worktapes. It was another day, another stage for her, but it was a night that cemented her place in the minds of the audience as a force nobody can deny.

The uninitiated might picture a passionate musician doing their best to channel their immense charisma into a singular act of performance. It’s a bit of rock and pop woven through a tapestry of modern country aesthetics. Old heads will tell you Hank wouldn’t have done it this way, but the crowd doesn’t give a damn, and neither does Tenille Townes.

Dubbed the Side A+B tour, the setlist was divided between full band performances and more intimate solo moments between Tenille Townes and her fans. One section, which she liked to call her living room, gave fans the opportunity to request any song they hadn’t yet heard. Though she was nearly 45 minutes into her performance, fans were ready with more than enough requests to fill another setlist. It was clear they were ready for anything she wanted to sing, and watching an artist receive that recognition in the midst of a performance is the kind of thing you go to live shows to witness.

Anyone can learn to play a country song, and almost anyone can string together enough chords and words to form a song of their own. But it takes a special person to create something that connects with people on a deep level, and that’s what Tenille Townes offers.

Those seeking proof need only hear the Train Track Worktapes cut “Pieces Of My Heart,” which Townes performed a little over midway through her set. Documenting a period the band spent traveling town to town by train, the song plays like a modern version of “On The Road Again.” It’s a document of the sacrifice and excitement that comes with chasing your dreams which will undoubtedly inspire a new generation of performers to hit the road with their wide eyes and melodies.

Making the night extra special was the merchandise. After learning that her label wouldn’t have copies of the record available in time for her shows, Tenille Townes burned several copies onto blank CDs and wrote the title out in sharpie. It was the same grassroots approach to organic connection that has guided every step of Tenille Townes’ career up to this point. It doesn’t matter what should happen; it matters what you can make happen.

Tenille Townes is still very much a rising star in the country music scene, and if you haven’t had the chance to see her live, you’re missing out. Her talent is undeniable, her connection with the audience is powerful, and her future is bright. Keep an eye on her.

Photographer Benjamin Howell was on hand to capture Tenille Townes’ performance. View his work below.