Exclusive: Watch Jenny Tolman Cover Roger Miller’s ‘River in the Rain’ as Part of Her New Video Series

by Jim Casey

Jenny Tolman. If there is a more talented singer/songwriter in Nashville—who isn’t signed to a major label—I haven’t seen or heard her. And that ain’t hyperbole.

Jenny released her debut album, There Goes the Neighborhood, in July 2019. Part sass, part skill. Part Roger Miller, part Miranda Lambert. Completely unique. The album introduced fans to Jennyville, a fictional town Jenny brought to musical life with 13 songs like “High Class White Trash” and “Forecast for Gossip.”

Yeah, Jenny made a “town” with her first album. That’s moxie. But it’s that kind of creative mettle that’s going to make her a big, big star (seriously, write that down). Of course, Jenny has the singing, songwriting, and performance chops to deliver on that statement. The Nashville Scene named the album Writer’s Choice Best Country Debut Album of 2019.

Determined not to let the pandemic quash her momentum, Jenny released There Goes the Neighborhood Deluxe Edition in April 2021. The project features the debut album’s 13 songs, with three bonus tracks. In addition, she recently created yet another peek into her small-town sphere with Broke Down in Jennyville, a collection of videos that showcase a bare-bones side to her city.

Broke Down in Jennyville

Each Monday, Jenny releases a “broken down” version of a song from the Deluxe Edition or a cover that pays homage to a writer whose work helped inspire There Goes the Neighborhood. All of the videos were recorded live at Safe House Studio in Franklin, Tennessee, with producer Dave Brainard (who also happens to be Jenny’s fiancé).

Jenny is debuting her cover of Roger Miller’s “River in the Rain” for Outsider on May 24. Miller wrote “River in the Rain” for his 1985 musical, Big River. The musical earned Miller a Tony Award for Best Original Score.

“For this Broke Down in Jennyville video, I wanted to honor one of my biggest musical influences—Roger Miller,” says Jenny Tolman to Outsider. “Roger was one of the wackiest and most creative minds of his time. He had the ability to carve out gorgeous depth into everything he wrote. I look to his work when I am writing something humorous, but also want it to be enlightening.”

“I’ve always loved the way Jenny sings this song,” adds Dave Brainard. “In an era where everybody’s trying to grab the trendiest new cover to catch an algorithm, Jenny shines a light on the gems that make country music timeless.”

“‘River in the Rain’ could be considered a big detour from a lot of Roger’s well-known humorous hits, but to me, it’s a continuation of the profundity that can be found in all of his writing,” says Jenny. “So, here is my ode to one of the great writers who helped shape me and form my own little crazy world.”