Though grounded in a hybrid vibe that many describe as country pop-rock, emerging male-female duo Towne's recently released debut EP Games We Play is truly genre-transcendent, mixing homegrown sentiment and iconic ‘60s-‘70s singer/songwriter influences with dive bar rock & roll.
Pennsylvania-bred musical theatre geek Steevie Steeves and Kentucky-raised Jon Decious, former bassist for the Pink Spiders, met and began making music at Skip Ewing’s Horse and Writer Seminar at Wyoming. They quickly realized they lived behind the same liquor store in the heart of Nashville, but had never crossed paths.
“The traditional labels in Nashville didn’t know what to do with us.”
The duo spent several years going through the proverbial DIY struggles, funding their own tours and taking meetings with major labels, to no avail. Their difficult-to-peg sound seemed to work against them––until their entertainment attorney, Derek Crownover of Dickinson Wright in Nashville, introduced them to his friend Allen Bargfrede, an entertainment and tech attorney and Associate Professor, Music Business/Management at Berklee School of Music.
Armed with only acoustic guitars, Towne performed for Bargfrede at Crownover’s office. Bargfrede had been eager to get into music publishing, and his immediate passion for the duo’s music and belief in their potential inspired him to launch Blue Tile Music. Its aim is to empower artists through creative funding mechanisms and hands-on assistance, helping them launch and sustain their careers. Steeves and Decious officially signed their deal in September and will release their follow-up project on the Blue Tile label.
“As we work toward taking Towne to the next level, we couldn’t have dreamed of a more perfect scenario teaming up with Allen,” says Decious. “His primary focus with us is publishing, but this is also an artist development deal, with tour support, marketing budgets and a lot of other things a typical record label would have.”
“He’s going to be very hands-on,” Steeves adds. “We love that we’re the focal point, and won’t be competing with eight other bands or different songwriters. We see signing with Blue Tile as developing a family of our own, with people who have years of experience helping artists. The traditional labels in Nashville didn’t know what to do with us. It took an outsider, someone with a fresh perspective on the music business, to make things happen.”
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