Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke are Penny & Sparrow, hailing “from the heart of Texas” –Austin, to be exact. This indie band self-released their album, Tenboom, last year using a Kickstarter project. I’ve enjoyed listening to Tenboom and wanted to find out a bit more about them.
How long have you guys been together as a band? We’ve been together as a band for about two and a half years now. We started off as roommates in college, and then began recording a few songs here and there as a hobby, which has now turned into much more than that! We released [single] Creature on iTunes and had so much fun with the process that we haven’t stopped. Interestingly, we now live together again – we moved into a giant house with our wives so we could write and play music and be roommates again.
I noticed that you do a lot of great covers. Who can you cite as some of your strongest musical influences and how do you incorporate the sounds you love into your original music? Thanks! We both have our own musical favorites that mesh and overlap really well when we write. We both love bands like The Swell Season, Sufjan Stevens, Bon Iver, and Mumford.
Do you write your music together, or separately, or a bit of both? Our songwriting process works well for a duo, we think. We both start off writing separately in our free time, Kyle mainly focuses on the music and melody, and Andy loves lyrics. When we sit down together we’ll bring all our ideas we are confident with to the table at the same time and mesh the two together. At this point there’s more overlap with who does what. Apart from a few songs, we always write songs together.
What gave you the idea to go for the Kickstarter project and how did it work for you? Where did the name of your album come from? We were hesitant to do a funding campaign for our music, but were encouraged by some friends who believe in us. We were blown away by the response, and are so thankful for those who supported the project. [Tenboom] came from a conversation we had about a woman named Corrie ten Boom. She has an incredibly inspiring story, and we thought “ten Boom” was a beautiful name.
What’s next for Penny & Sparrow? Like I said before, we’re currently living under the same roof, writing songs and touring. We are a month away from recording another album. Between this and touring throughout the States, we’ll be pretty busy!
Tenboom beautifully showcases Penny & Sparrow’s subtle, vocally-driven acoustic sound. There’s a guitar. A kick drum. Some keyboards. A bit of quiet percussion. The thread that draws this album together, made apparent straight from the beginning in “Just and Just As”, all the way through to the ending lullabies “Patience, First” and “Patience, Please”, is the flawlessly sweet harmony of Kyle and Andy’s vocals, with the afore-mentioned classic rock/country background evident in their style.