Acclaimed Kentucky country singer-songwriter Grayson Jenkins has announced a September 23 release for two new singles, his first since releasing the full-length Turning Tides in 2021. Both tracks serve as a tribute to the late Don Williams, with original “Little Things” (produced by Steve Dawson) featuring fellow Kentuckian Abby Hamilton on harmony vocals. “Tulsa Time” is a cover of Williams’ country-funk classic, written by Danny Flowers.
Jenkins, on “Little Things”: This song started in my kitchen on a Sunday morning while my girlfriend and I were cleaning tomatoes from the garden. A friend of mine had posted that day about Don Williams being the perfect Sunday record to spin, which I wholeheartedly agree with, and that was on my mind while we got to work canning. I wrote the chorus that day in July 2021. In the original demo, you can hear rustling in the background from my girlfriend working away while I played. That moment in time is pretty special to me.
As a product of the 70’s and 80’s, my mom was a big fan of Don Williams and passed his music down to me. He’s been a favorite of mine since, and even more so the older I get. When I started working to finish the song, my mother was on my mind. We lost her in 2015 and that’s had a profound impact on my perspective. She had a way of appreciating and loving the small details in life – pretty flowers, old houses, good gardens, and more. She’d always say, “we’re not rich, but we’re rich with love” and that’s stuck with me as the years go on. When I find myself appreciating the little things, I feel a lot more at peace and able to give more love to the people in my life.
“Little Things” is a track I’m really proud of and one that I hope connects a younger generation with Don Williams. Hopefully, as time goes on, the song reminds me and other folks to appreciate the simpler things in life that make it all worthwhile.
Jenkins, on “Tulsa Time”: I’m not sure there’s a groovier country song out there, to be honest. Danny Flowers wrote one hell of a song in “Tulsa Time”, and Don’s version is by far my favorite. There aren’t too many road trips that don’t feature at least one spin of this banger. We’ve been playing this one at our live shows for a while now, and it felt good to get our version recorded. I think we captured the swampy, head-bobbing vibe of the song that makes it what it is.
PAST PRAISE FOR GRAYSON JENKINS:
“But beyond the smoky bars and days out on the farm, Jenkins embodies one of country’s more abstract, yet most important qualities: its philosophical soul.” — American Songwriter
“Turning Tides is a veritable smorgasbord of quality tunes that shines a bright light upon the songwriting and vocal prowess of Grayson. His signature vibrato is front and center, and in my humble opinion, Grayson has really harnessed his ability to use his vibrato as a beautiful accent.” — Capture Kentucky
“Jenkins embodies rich country and rock n’ roll sounds while maintaining a certain vulnerable edge to his lyrics and staying true to his ultimate goal: touching the hearts of his listeners.” — Music Mecca
Candor and vulnerability cascade out of Grayson Jenkins’ songs on waves of circling guitar strums and sparkling choruses. Like fellow Kentuckian Sturgill Simpson, Jenkins tells stories with a shrewd sincerity, a hopeful resignation, and a canny insight into the ways of the world. Like Eric Church, Jenkins’ resonant baritone vocals echo powerfully enough to fill large halls, and like Keith Whitley, Jenkins sings with a tenderness that cradles his lyrics and delivers them to our hearts.
With a shrewd sincerity, a hopeful resignation, and a canny insight into the ways of the world, Grayson Jenkins most recently shared his stories in the form of a ten-track album called Turning Tides in 2021. The album saw Jenkins delivering candor and vulnerability with his signature resonant baritone; powerful enough to fill large halls but still tender enough to cradle his lyrics and deliver them straight into listeners’ hearts. The songs on Turning Tides all tell captivating stories of love and loss, heartbreak and hope. For Jenkins, a proud Kentuckian by birth, and now by choice, the arc of the album follows transitions in his own life—moving into music full-time, emerging into a post-pandemic phase of life, leaving behind one relationship and starting another—and offers perspectives on the changes we all experience in our lives as we move from sadness to joy, from self-denial to self-discovery, from darkness to light.
The Muhlenberg County, Kentucky, native’s musical versatility—playing everything from country and bluegrass to rock ‘n’ roll—has helped him create a diverse fan base, and he’s built his career on his own, self-funding his projects and doing whatever he’s needed to do to keep his music life rolling. He grew up listening to Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Hank Williams, Jr., and later Sturgill Simpson, Eric Church, and Turnpike Troubadours.
Jenkins started writing songs in his senior year at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, Kentucky, and began playing a regular house gig in a bar in town around the same time, continuing to play there for four years. When Jenkins “realized people were responding to these songs,” he recalls, “I wanted to write songs for them. I wanted to write songs people could sing along to. I want to be my own artist but I also believe it’s my job to make people think, feel, dance, and forget about the world for a few minutes.”
In 2015, Jenkins released his first album, Down on Southland, and in 2017 he embarked on a career as a full-time musician, releasing the album Cityscapes & Countrysides that year. In 2019, Jenkins put out the Cowboy Dream EP and last year he released Hand Me Downs. Jenkins’ pop-drenched country folk gets listeners up and dancing and singing along to the songs, and his heartfelt lyrics stay with them long after the music stops.