Jenny Tolman: Inviting Audiences Into Her Make Believe World

This rising country star relishes the opportunity to tell stories from a fictional place called Jennyville.

Finding a recording artist in Nashville who’s actually from the iconic Tennessee town is quite the feat. But Jenny Tolman didn’t just grow up in Music City. She learned about the business from her father and caught the songwriting bug at a very young age.

“I was a storyteller from the beginning,” Tolman says. “I thought maybe I would be a children’s author one day or something like that. But once I put my stories to a guitar, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh! This is called storytelling. I can put my stories into songs!’”

Tolman may be all grown up now but that hasn’t squelched her childlike appreciation for creating crazy characters that exist in a make believe world she affectionately refers to as Jennyville, the concept behind her debut album.

“It’s this imaginary town I like to go to whenever I write,” she explains. “It’s full of these crazy, neurotic characters, but they’re very lovable. So it’s a lot of fun for me to be able to play those characters.”

And while storytelling within country music isn’t terribly unexpected, Tolman has become known for the occasional biting, sarcastic lyrics and social commentary that can take listeners off guard (e.g. her single “Something To Complain About”). It’s very much intentional for a young artist trying to make a difference.

“I’m always trying to intentionally make everybody laugh,” Tolman says. “I believe if you make people laugh, you make them comfortable and as soon as you make somebody comfortable they’re open to you and they’re open to listening to you and receiving whatever information you have to say.”

But Tolman’s latest album, There Goes The Neighborhood, is mostly about making people feel good with songs like her new single “Rock & Roll To My Country Soul.”

“My goal with my music is always to help people heal—being able to make music and sing songs that can connect with people emotionally,” she adds. “We’re all in this together. I’m here with you. You don’t have to be alone. If that’s me making you laugh or me crying with you or just partying, forgetting whatever, there’s just so many different routes that music gets to go down. I just feel so lucky that I’m a musician and I get to sing about all of these things.”

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