Any artist who has ever hoped to move forward knows all too well the importance of embracing innovation and accepting new challenges, regardless of where and when they occur. Accruing fame and a fan following may be the priority, but the only way to assure a successful career is to evolve and transition in order to reach one’s fullest potential.
With her new album, the aptly titled All Over the Map, respected Nashville artist Teea Goans finds a new form of expression, one that finds her sharing her creativity, perceptions and observations in the form of original songs cowritten with one of Music City’s most highly regarded songwriters, Jim “Moose” Brown. It’s a solid step forward, one that reflects well on a career that’s won her widespread acclaim and the ongoing respect of those who inhabit Nashville’s sprawling music community.
It’s not surprising then that Vince Gill makes a special appearance on one of the album’s most poignant and pointed songs, “That’s What I Know.”
“I feel like I’m in a new place now,” Teea insists. “I’m seeing things in a different way, with a new curiosity and insight. I finally feel like I have something to say.”
Even so, Teea notes that this new phase of her career evolved naturally, beginning with time spent reassessing her life and music in the midst of the lull in activity and sense of isolation that she, like many so others, experienced in the midst of the Covid pandemic. The down time allowed her opportunity to carefully consider her next steps. In those quiet moments, “I heard God”, Goans recounts, “and He said, ‘It’s time to write.’” Teea had long since given up on the idea of writing. Early on she had experimented, but felt more drawn to interpreting the music of other great writers.
Four years earlier, the possibility was raised by Brown, a Grammy-nominated producer, songwriter, studio musician and member of Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band. The two had never met, and at the time of their virtual introduction, Teea didn’t feel writing was something she wanted to pursue. After hearing Mo Pitney’s 2020 release, Teea reached out to congratulate Moose on his production work and that led back again to the question of writing together. This time, she took a leap of faith. She was ready.
“We met in person simply for the purpose of getting to know one another,” Teea recalls. “We clicked right away, and within a couple hours, we had written our first song. As we continued to write together, the same chemistry occurred and we turned out songs seemingly spontaneously. Moose was amazed. He told me that nothing like this had ever happened with him before, and it was like a religious experience for me. We were both at crossroads in our careers, and it was clear to us that this connection was meant to be.”
By the end of April, the two had written more than enough songs to complete an album. Produced by Moose Brown and featuring a roll call of A-list studio musicians, the album was dubbed All Over the Map due to the verve, vitality and variety expressed throughout.
The songs themselves reflect the energy and exuberance that provided the album’s inspiration. The opening track “Enjoy the View,” emerges as an ode to optimism, one that effectively sums up the album’s sentiment succinctly: “Slow down, take a look around Once this day is gone, it won’t be back again Look up, take life in The journey’s so much more than just the end…”
Likewise, the beautiful ballad “Easy,” shares the idea that intimacy can be a healing balm that helps assuage the angst and anguish the world often inflicts. “Baby, when this world’s gone crazy, the safest place is to be in love,” Teea sings, offering a soothing statement about romance as a respite that’s both needed and necessary.
Other songs share a certain circumspect. The joyful and freewheeling “The Beat of a Backroad” extols the pure, unequivocal happiness that comes when taking to the highway, feeling the wind in your hair and the sunshine caressing your skin, while basking in the excitement and anticipation of whatever might lie beyond the next curve. So too, the soothing sound of “That’s What I Know” finds comfort in those things that are close at hand — “Grandma’s fried chicken and a big glass of tea,” “flowers in springtime,” “an old porch swing,” and, of course, the strength that comes from knowing there’s someone you can depend on, and who will always be there when they’re needed the most. “In the time that I’m here, I’ll choose love over fear and let the rest of it go…That’s what I know.”
It’s no coincidence that several of these songs were inspired by a road trip Teea and her husband took heading west on Rt. 66. She experienced the wonders of America’s heartland while listening to radio stations without regard to any specific format. Teea says that it was that diverse influx of music that made her feel impervious to any one genre.
“There’s more to me,” she insists on the serendipitous song of the same name. “Don’t paint me in a corner, just let me be.”
Indeed, that road she traveled both literally and figuratively brought her to a dynamic new phase of a rich and prolific career. Raised in the small town of Lowry City, Missouri, population 600 people, she was initially drawn to country music at any early age. But as she entered her teen years and began developing her own sound, she also embraced a variety of styles from Frank Sinatra, who she became enamored with in junior high, to the Beatles, who had her smitten a little later. Her husband Brandon eventually shared his affection for classic rock, further fortifying her potential musical repertoire.
A move to Nashville in 2002 found her working at the iconic radio station WSM, booking talent and eventually hosting her own interview show as well. She’s toured the country and performed numerous times on the Grand Ole Opry, while also appearing nationally on radio and TV. Her celebrated debut album, 2010’s The Way I Remember It, led to a series of releases that thrust her into the spotlight. Flash forward to the present which finds her reemerging as a definitive Americana artist, one with the credence and confidence to share her full range of talent, and to express herself eloquently and assuredly.
“Life is too short to leave things unsaid or undone. Creating this album was a therapeutic process because it all happened so organically. I was given the opportunity to reveal my soul,” Teea reflects. “Those who may have known me before will get to know me even better, while others who might not be familiar with my work now have a chance to really meet me for the first time.”