“I mean, there’s a new truck sittin’ in my driveway, my dog is cool as hell, and I’ve got a double-headed air fryer - you can’t tell me ‘nothin’. I’m good.”
And that quick witted self-assurance is exactly what comes through in Dustin Hensley’s new three-song EP, “Followed > Unfollowed > Blocked.” These songs are full-length films, somehow shrunken down into three minutes and some change. You feel like you’re there. Watching them. Living them.
“I wrote these right after everything went down, and this was also during the pandemic, so emotions were everywhere. To be honest, I forgot who I was during it. It nearly destroyed me. It’s a terrible feeling to not feel good enough. But then I remembered that I’m 'Dustin By God Hensley,' and I don’t take shit off of anybody. I’m over it now, but oooof. It was rough for a minute. But when I was getting ready to put out new music, these songs still resonated and I felt like they deserved to be heard. Even though I’ve moved on, someone somewhere is probably going through the same things. And at the end of the day, you don’t have to forgive to move on. Sometimes it feels good to talk a little shit, especially when you come out of it better than you went in.”
Growing up in the small river town of Holladay, TN (population: “Maybe 1,000?” he guessed,) Hensley never felt like he fit in. “I love where I’m from, but I always knew there was more. And I was determined to go there. Wherever there was.” After years of playing the likes of Pentecostal revivals, on top of flat-bed trailers at county fairs, the occasional funeral service and every other place he could, Hensley finally got a call from where his “Oz” was – the big city – Nashville. “You’re going to be really annoyed with me but I’m only going to give you the bullet point version,” he says with an almost cunning grin. “Long story short, I got offered my first deal when I was fifteen years old. That was a nightmare. Then I got another deal. That was an even bigger nightmare. Signed a major modeling contract that didn’t go anywhere. Been in a couple bands that didn’t pan out, and have been promised the world by some of the most powerful people in the music business. And have had a couple more production/recording deals sprinkled in between then and now. All in all, I’ve lost more deals than most people ever get,” he says laughing. “I know that I seem super nonchalant about it, but I have to be. I used to get really bogged down in the almosts and what ifs, but that doesn’t help anyone. Especially me. I’m only focused on the future. Because even if I fall, it’s still forward motion.” And the future is all he wants to talk about.
Through years of navigating the troubled waters of Nashville and countless upsets and heartaches, Hensley has a new excitement for his music and his future. Teaming up with producer Zack Page (Pink Princess, The 1975, Young The Giant,) is a collection of songs about the turmoils of relationships, wild nights out, and everything in between.
If you’ve ever wondered what country storytelling sounded like over 80s synths, distorted guitars, and 808 drums - you’ve come to the right place. Dustin Hensley is a riddle, wrapped in an enigma of self-deprecating jokes, whiskey, and one-liners. Just don’t get on his bad side, because he may just write a song about you.