The brand new EP release from actress-turned-budding-country artist Taryn Reneau features the title track WHERE THE GENTLEMEN LIVE, fan favorite PROCRASTINATIN’, THE STEPS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE (a duet with recording artist Peter Brandon) and a cover of the former country Top 40 chart-topper DOWN IN TENNESSEE.
"I was inspired to write WHERE THE GENTLEMEN LIVE after nearing a door in my apartment building -- my arms completely overwhelmed, not a hand to spare -- when a neighbor guy got to a door first and, absolutely oblivious, just let an open door slam in my face…Ironically, in retrospect, he's been very helpful," she says with a smile.
In fact, Taryn wrote or co-wrote all songs on the album, save DOWN IN TENNESSEE. Her father, Gerry, gave her the sheet music to the ballad, thinking the song would sound good with a female vocalist. Previously recorded by John Anderson in 1985 and Mark Chesnutt in 1994, DOWN IN TENNESSEE marks Taryn's first cover song. The brand new ballad on the album is THE STEPS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE about a couple about to be married, who both abandon each other at the altar without the other knowing. When Taryn needed a male vocalist, she went to Peter Brandon.
Taryn first met recording artist Peter Brandon while waiting in line to audition for CMT's NASHVILLE STAR. Though that day failed to lead the two to TV stardom, it led to the duet THE STEPS OF SAINT AUGUSTINE, penned by Taryn and her father, Gerry, after a stroll past the Southern California church of the same name. The father-daughter duo also collaborated to create WHERE THE GENTLEMEN LIVE. Gerry just hopes men everywhere will forgive him.
Last, PROCRASTINATIN’. The anthem for procrastinators everywhere. “My grandfather procrastinated. And I think he’s the first person I ever heard use the word,” she recalls. “And I do it too. I try not to, but I thought I’d own up to a number of those things that aren’t always at the top of my To-Do List and see if that song would resonate with anyone. Among the first few who have heard it, it’s certainly starting to. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but people seem to “get” it. Not to mention, many find it hilarious. So that’s fun.”
Moving on from her singer-songwriter roots as featured on her debut EP, CUT TO: MY SOUL, released in late 2007, Reneau has found her niche in contemporary country, right alongside power vocalists Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood, but with the sharp comic songwriting familiar to fans of Brad Paisley.
Counting among her influences Faith Hill, Brad Paisley, Gretchen Wilson, Jamie O'Neal and country songwriting at large, Taryn Reneau long knew she had the voice for it, but wondered where her place would be in country music. "I grew up in suburban Chicago. It's not Southern at all. I've still never been to Nashville. But I adore country music. And I'm an urban girl living in Los Angeles. And I know other urban girls who love country music and there's never been an artist exclusively for all of us. And I thought, how are those things -- a love of country music and me being a girl who doesn't wear country hats and is in no way a 'Redneck Woman,' as Gretchen Wilson puts it – supposed to co-exist? But then I figured, well, they co-exist in me so I'll just go be me up there – a nice Midwestern urban girl with some designer clothes who likes to get French manicures and sing country music. And we'll just see how well that goes."
With her impending release, "that" may go well. With WHERE THE GENTLEMEN LIVE, Taryn has made a remarkable country debut.