The Dude Abides by Jenny Tolman's "My Welcome Mat"
Everybody knows Jenny Tolman in Jennyville, the fictional community that ties all the songs together on the rising country artist’s debut album, There Goes the Neighborhood. Now she’s rolled out the welcome mat for the Dude himself, Jeff Bridges.
Tolman co-wrote “My Welcome Mat” with Dave Brainard, who produced There Goes the Neighborhood, and John Goodwin, who happens to be childhood best friends with Bridges. “He sent the song to Jeff, and he fell in love with it!” Tolman says.
“The next time John talked to Jeff, Jeff told him that he already had his band learn ‘My Welcome Mat,’ and they were going to open their Lebowski Fest set with it! As soon as I heard that, I was like, ‘What do we do with this information?!’”
They caught a flight out of Jennyville -- er, Nashville -- and turned that tidbit of information into an experience she’ll never forget, especially since it was her first time ever in Los Angeles.
“The night of Lebowski Fest, I remember being so nervous because plans/sets can always change last minute,” Tolman says. “When Jeff and his band came on stage, he started talking about his Jewish friends and wishing a ‘Happy Passover’ to them. Then wishing his Christian friends a ‘Happy Good Friday,’ and I remember thinking ‘OMG he’s talking about different types of people to lead into "My Welcome Mat" isn’t he?!’”
Hard to find words for this moment but JEFF FREAKING BRIDGES PLAYED MY SONG. WHAT 😳 This was my first time ever watching someone else do one of my own songs, and what a totally surreal experience it was, hearing The Dude open his set at Lebowski Fest with “My Welcome Mat”. It’s pretty mind blowing how a little song written in your kitchen can turn into a moment like this. (Like what? How is this real life??🤦🏻♀️) Thank you so much to my co-writers John Goodwin & Dave Brainard for writing this special song with me. And thank you Jeff Bridges for helping spread this song’s message to the world. My first trip to LA has been nothing short of magical. We ain’t just in Kansas anymore, Toto 🙈💗 #nextstopJennyville
Posted by Jenny Tolman on Saturday, April 20, 2019
She continues, “Then he said, ‘I thought I’d start us out with a little spiritual tune here, man,’ and in came ‘My Welcome Mat.’ I was shaking, crying, and screaming with my phone in-hand recording the whole thing. I hit the woman next to me on the arm and said ‘WE WROTE THIS!’ I’m pretty sure she thought I was insane but it’s really awesome to know that it’s down in history.
"That’s something I can tell my grandkids about one day because it was honestly one of the coolest moments of my life," Tolman concludes. "I had never experienced seeing someone else perform one of my own songs, and I’d say Jeff Bridges is a pretty good person to start with!”