By Michael Rampa April 2021

By their own admission Track 45 hails from a town that is “big enough for a Wal Mart and a Waffle House but not a Target or a Starbucks” Ironically, Meridian, Mississippi (population (41.148) is the birthplace of the father of country music, Jimmy Rodgers. The harmony driven sibling trio are Ben Johnson and his infectiously bubbly sisters Jenna and KK.

Their story is right out of the country music playbook. The name is derived from living in a railroad town and Highway 45 which runs through it. Their first gig as young children was at a local nursing home.

Eventually, they moved to Nashville, got publishing deals and won a spot-on X Factor.
That experience made them realize they were still a little green to the industry.

Ben explains: “Up until the show, we had only really played around our town. We had never really written songs before and we really didn’t know what we were doing or even what genre were. For a while we thought we were a bluegrass band. Right before we left the show, someone asked us “If we were to give you a record deal right now what would you all sound like?” We said we really didn’t know.

So, we went home and really did some soul searching. Our sound is really “new old school country” We have a lot of traditional instruments and very modern themes. In terms of instrumentation, Ben made the choice to take up the cello. While perhaps not considered a traditional instrument by country music standards, it was definitely an atypical choice that has worked out well. “We all learned piano from our grandmom, but my mother said if you want to play another instrument, you can go ahead and save up for it.

At first, I wanted to play bassoon, but that wasn’t very practical, so I went with a string instrument that was most like it.” Though the band is mostly harmony driven and traditional, Jenna and KK can dance around like pop stars on the up-tempo numbers.

All bands have trials and tribulations.  Jenna had a cancer scare from which she is now clear. It has fueled her creativity. “When you have cancer, you can write from a very real place. And we were able to do it on the new song we have coming out I don’t take life for granted. It really gives you perspective”


Who are your favorite sibling bands and what is unique to a sibling outfit

The Chicks and Bee Gees. We really are best friends and love getting to do what we love and know each other so well we don’t have to play any icebreaker games. We hold each other accountable and call out each other’s BS. Jenna recalls going around town singing Tammy Wynette’s D-I-V-O-R-C-E until her mother eventually told her maybe it’s not a great thing for a six-year-old to be running around singing that song. Citing their influences, their first answer was “100 percent Dolly”. The sisters were also into everything from Aretha Franklin and Elvis to Tammy Wynette and Debbie Rodgers.

All of you have impressive co-write credits. What do you look for in a writing partner

Ideally, it’s someone who complements your skill wise, but at the end of the day one day it’s someone you like and can get along with. When we write for people like Timberlake and Charlie Puth, it’s all fiction and when we write for ourselves it’s all autobiographical.  It must be real for us and we tell stories that we’ve lived and believe in. We’re just people from a small town in Mississippi. We can only write what we know, said KK.


What is your take on the industry today.

Back in the 90s when everyone was buying CDs you could have an album cut on somebody’s record and make a fairly good living as a songwriter.  Now that’s not possible. You have to have radio singles to really make a living   streaming gives everyone such incredible access. We get to hear from people all over the world who have accessed us through Spotify or Amazon.

What do you think makes a song truly country

Telling a story that makes you feel something and that’s what we try to do

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