Telford native Trey Hensley felt like he was a fish out of water during his trip to the Grammys a couple of weeks ago, but his nomination in the Best Bluegrass Album category with Rob Ickes for their Before the Sun Goes Down album might be proof that he was in his natural habitat after all.
The formal atmosphere was a little different for Hensley, a 2008 graduate of David Crockett High School who normally sports a baseball cap for comfort, but he tossed on a dress cap and had his wife Amber on his side to try to calm his nerves.
Its a little difficult, he said of being in Los Angeles. Im not there often, but Im there a couple of times a year. But no matter when I go, its a bit of a fish-out-of-water experience.
It also doesnt matter where the music takes this 25-year old even over to Europe, where he will head in a couple months there is no place like home for Hensley.
The town of Jonesborough, Ive been very blessed to travel a lot and Ive seen a lot of beautiful places, but to me, there is nothing any prettier than driving through the country, right after you pass David Crockett, going towards Telford or going through downtown Jonesborough, he said. It was an amazing place for me to grow up and unfortunately I dont get to make it back a whole lot, but I love it whenever I get to come back and hang out for a couple of days. Its a great, beautiful place.
Hensley had quite a few A-HA moments at the Grammys including meeting Jason Isbell, who he considers one of his heroes. Another was when he saw Tony Bennett walk past his seat at the Grammys.
I met a lot of great people and a lot of musicians that I look up to, he said. It was a great experience.
While he didnt win the Grammy, one of his favorite bands, the SteelDrivers, won the award. He said that it was more than a dream to be honored with the nomination.
It was one of those things that I cant really say I thought about it a whole lot, because I thought it was so out of reach, I didnt think it was really going to happen Hensley said. It was very mind-blowing for me.
The nomination came on Hensleys first track that he had recorded while being signed to Compass Records. However, he said that the nomination wont mold the way that the makes music.
It was so nice to be nominated for a Grammy, but I dont want that to define what my music is going to be, Hensley said. I dont want to go in recording music and thinking is this going to be Grammy worthy?
I just want to do what I like to do and if it speaks to me and if it moves me, then hopefully it will move someone else and speak to them in the same way and whether that gets any award is kind of secondary.
His next album, which he just finished, will come out during the summer, although he and Ickes dont yet have a title for the album that they recorded in the studio live. But leading up to the release, he wont have any time to relax.
This year is going to be pretty off that wall, as far as traveling. Its going to be an extensive schedule, but I am looking forward to getting out and playing, especially after this new record comes out and we can play tunes off of that, Hensley said.
While Jonesborough is where his heart is, he knew that in order to get more opportunities he needed to move to the Music City. So he and his wife moved to Nashville a couple of years ago.
But no matter where he goes, he will always remember where he came from.
For a kid that wants to play music, he said. They are very lucky to be in East Tennessee.and Jonesborough.