The story behind “Runnin’ Into You,” the latest single from rising Country duo Towne is one that definitely stands as a little bit unusual. Even the duo’s Jon Decious will admit that.
“We were sitting around last year writing, and decided we would write about each other because she and I had dated at one point when we first started,” the Kentucky native tells #CMchat. While it might not be that unusual for a duo’s members to be an item or married, their relationship took a turn, adding a unique page to their history.
“Then, we decided to end the dating relationship, but still were perusing music together,” Decious says. “That way, we reasoned, we could still be best friends and hang out. Still, even with that, it’s awkward to be running into your ex every day. So, we just went back into our personal experience – not only do I have to run into you on a physical level, but I would be driving down a road by myself, and I would remember when we did this here or that there. That would literally happen every day. For a while that was very weird. So, we decided to write a song about that, thinking that other people ran into the same thing. It’s done some good things for us.”
His partner in the duo, Steevie Steeves, says that she knows it’s a little bit different of a situation – but the two of them make it work. “We’re pretty ok with it, but I could imagine where it would be very tense,” she says, adding, that their friendship has remained airtight.
“I couldn’t imagine a life without Jon in it, as well as our music together. I think we’re both very stubbornly focused people, so it really works out. We respect each other so much, so we really lucked out. I don’t think I could do this – the whole package with anyone else. From being with him about 24/7 to having an outside romantic life, which is pretty much impossible to do anyway. We both want the music in our lives, so we picked that over the relationship.”
Decious takes a unique path to Country Music – having spent many years in a Punk/Rock band. One would think that growing up in Monticello, KY – the heart of Bluegrass country, he might have taken such an approach. But, one would be wrong.
“I grew up with it (bluegrass). In my hometown, we would have it all the time, cloggers and everything,” he admits, but his ears were turned to another sound. “I absolutely hated it. I wanted to be in Guns N’ Roses. I wanted nothing to do with that. So, I think it goes back to the fact that the things from your hometown can be the first things your grow away from – if you’re that kind of person. You want to get as far away from that as you can. That’s just what I did. I ended up with a deeper appreciation for it, though I still don’t listen to it for pure joy, though. I guess I’m still four years old in my head.”
Steeves comes to Towne from another angle – the hustle and bustle of Pennsylvania. Well, sort of. She is from Steelers Country, but it’s definitely more rural than you think. “I’m from about 45 miles east of Pittsburgh. People think me being from the north and he from the south is so different. But, I remember taking him home to my hometown, he couldn’t believe it. It was so much like his – only smaller. Everything about our backgrounds are very similar. I have the horse signs. Those are right down the street from where I grew up.”
Musically, she was all over the map – with a little bit of help from her mom. “Growing up, there wasn’t one particular kind of music that I gravitated to. I was all over the map. But, once I bought a guitar and started writing songs, my mother told me ‘You would love Carole King.’ She also loved The Cranberries. She introduced a lot of female powerhouse acts to me. I also loved musical theater, and was very obsessed with it until I wanted to take a new path. I love show tunes, still – just anything that can stand the test of time. I was Anita in our high school production of West Side Story. I still think that entire score is just amazing. I just wanted to be the next Bernadette Peters. She was in all the greats. The list would be huge. There was quite a plethora of musicals that I am very fond of.”
The two actually lived not too far from each other in Nashville for a while, but it took a Skip Ewing songwriting retreat for them to meet – in Wyoming! “As soon as we came back, we started writing music. That was what initially sparked everything,” Steeves explains. “When I found we lived just a street apart, I couldn’t wait to get out and start writing with him because I enjoyed everything I heard at the retreat in Wyoming.”
Having such an event away from Music City proved beneficial to them both as songwriters, added Decious. “I think the ground is level out there when you’re around these horses that could absolutely crush you, and you’re around these mountains that are so much bigger than all of the people, So, when you’re in that environment, everybody are just people. You don’t really look at Skip, Clay Mills, or Kent Blazy and think they are any different from you. I think that contributed to the environment. That was probably his thinking about it.”
With the single picking up steam, the duo is focused on promoting their new EP, Games We Play, which Steeves hopes will lead to more opportunities. “I can’t foresee the future, but I want as many people to hear the song and connect with us as possible and download the rest of the EP. It’s nice to have a project that you can give people to listen to, and be invited to play different venues and open for other artists. That’s been pretty cool.”
Decious agrees, saying the next project shouldn’t be too far behind. “We’re already starting to write for the next EP already, so the pen never stops – at least until it runs out of ink and you’ve got to go buy another one.”
Towne’s EP Games We Play is available now on iTunes.