For Conway native and successful country artist Erin Enderlin, storytelling is in her blood.
“My grandmother is pretty great at it. I just love all the characters,” she said.
Enderlin has followed in her grandmother’s footsteps telling stories and, in the process, racking up her share of awards.
In recent years, Enderlin has performed on the 2018 CMT Next Women of Country tour and received the Arkansas Country Music Awards Songwriter and Album of the Year awards. She followed up this year winning Female Vocalist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year, and Song of the Year for “World Without Willie.”
While she is making waves writing and singing her own music, she burst on the scene in Nashville writing for some of the top artists. She wrote “Monday Morning Church” with fellow Arkansan Brent Baxter, which was picked up and performed by the legendary Alan Jackson.
The list of artists that have performed the songs she has written reads like a who’s who list of Country Music: Luke Bryan, Lee Ann Womack, Reba McEntire, Terri Clark, Joey + Rory, and Randy Travis.
I chatted with Erin at Toad Suck Daze. We are thrilled to have this Q&A with our hometown Country Musician.
Here are some of Erin’s accomplishments to date beyond what we have previously mentioned:
- Toured with artists including Willie Nelson, Jamey Johnson, Marty Stuart, and Steve Earle
- Praised by publications including Billboard, Rolling Stone, CMT.com, American Songwriter
- Featured on Spotify playlists including Coffeehouse Country, Nashville Stripped, New Music Nashville.
- Two NSAI “Songs I Wish I’d Written” Awards for Monday Morning Church and Last Call
Do you have a favorite song that you wrote?
Man, that’s tough. Songs each have their own special qualities, I’d hate to pick just one.
What is your favorite memory growing up in Conway?
I think maybe playing in my grandparents back yard and swinging on the bag swing. I loved working in the garden with my grandpa, too.
How has Conway shaped you to be a successful country artist?
For one thing, I had a lot of great mentors in Conway, including my guitar teacher Terry Holmes and singer/songwriter Dan Clanton. For another, I think just the way of live life there has helped shape my writing.
Who is your biggest musical influence and why?
I would say, Matraca Berg. She is such an incredible writer. I remember realizing that a bunch of my favorite songs had the same name underneath, hers and that she had written them. Then I found her albums and really got into her artistry.
What kind of emotions did you experience playing the Grand Ole Opry?
It was just the greatest feeling in the world. I feel so blessed every time I get to be a part of that show. It was my biggest dream growing up to get to play the Opry.
Erin’s latest on Spotify
Have you always been a storyteller? Is your family full of storytellers?
I think so. I mean I think the South, in general, has a great history of storytelling. My grandmother is pretty great at it. I just love all the characters.
What did you think about playing Toad Suck Daze? Was it fun to be home?
It was great! It is really cool to come home and play at the band shell. I remember riding my bike [to it] and pretending to put on shows as a kid.
What advice would you give to a young aspiring singer/songwriter in Conway?
Just have fun with it. And don’t be afraid to really put yourself out there.
Wrapping it up
Late last month, Billboard magazine posted a story about famous country music roommates. Enderlin was roommates with Chris Stapleton. About the experience, she told Billboard,
Me and another girl lived upstairs, and Stapleton had a bachelor apartment in the basement. I figured out real quickly that Chris and I are really socially awkward. We would walk into the kitchen at the same time and immediately apologize to each other: “Oh, I’m so sorry, I’ll just come back later!” I remember sitting in bed at night, listening to Chris playing through the air conditioner vents, thinking, “One day, people are going to be really jealous of this.
Enderlin released a three-song EP in April titled Chapter One: Tonight I Don’t Give a Damn. About the title song, “The Rollin Stones” Robert Crawford said, “This is the stuff of country classics — concise, tear-stained and all-too-relatable.”
Not bad for a girl from Conway who rode her bike to watch Toad Suck Daze.