Jenny Tolman

Gone Fishing: Wide Open Country Goes Out on the Water With Country's Rising Stars

This summer, Wide Open Country tagged along on fishing trips — in Nashville, Tennessee and Austin, Texas — with some of country music's best new artists. Zebco fishing poles in hand, these singer-songwriters hit the water and told us how being outdoors inspires them.

Texas-based artist Sam Riggs, who released his EP Love & Panic this year, says fishing and songwriting have a lot in common. 

"Fishing is like songwriting in a sense that it's worth the time," Riggs says. "It's a way of connecting with yourself. Even if you don't catch anything or even if you don't write a song, the time you spent, the quietness, the peacefulness, all those things serve as moments of re-centering and sort of regaining that energy that you spend out there on the stage.

Jenny Tolman, who released her debut album There Goes the Neighborhood earlier this summer, says she grew up fishing in the small Middle Tennessee towns where she grew up.

"I did a lot of fishing actually when I was hanging out with my friends in high school," Tolman says. "Those days really inspired some of my very first country songs that I ever wrote because it was all about living that country life, as cliche and cheesy as that sounds — that's what we did!"

Texas-based artist Rob Baird, who released his album After All earlier this year, says he takes every opportunity to enjoy Austin's great outdoors.

"The reason I live in Austin is because there's such a green space in the whole city," Baird says. 

Brothers Stewart and Garrett Mann of The Statesboro Revue joined Wide Open Country on Austin's Lady Bird Lake to talk about unwind offstage.

"When you fish, you connect to something. Stewart Mann says. "And when you play music, especially the music that we play, we're totally connected to that. That's why we do it."


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