Artist Interview: Penny and Sparrow

The kind gentlemen of Penny and Sparrow completed the musicians’ collective least favorite task, the “email interview” for us.  It’s because they love us (we hope).  Anyways, check out their answers to some of our burning questions about the remarkable music of Penny and Sparrow.

1) Give us a little introduction on Penny and Sparrow as a band.  How did you meet and begin making music?
ANDY: we met in college through Andy’s soon-to-be-wife-At-the-time-girlfriend Sarah…she introduced us and then Andy needed a place to stay when his lease was up…so we lived together because there was a random opening in a house full of 10 guys that Kyle was living in at the time…We were roommates who both loved music and I guess one day, we started to realize we didn’t suck when we played together…it was a cool moment of realization…so we stayed friends, were groomsmen in each other’s weddings, love each other like brothers, and we turned this little hobby into something we hope pays the bills someday…
2) One of the things I (Greg) love so much about your album is the blending of the strings and the intricate harmonies.  Did you write the string parts as well as the main guitar?  
KYLE: Usually I write the guitar and melody for songs with the intention of adding tons of strings but don’t write the parts myself usually.  A long time friend of mine is a violinist and music phenom – Alex Page – he does all the strings for us.  Sometimes our producer Chris and I will come up with parts for Alex, but for the most part I love to write music that I know Alex will go crazy on.


3) What does the songwriting process look like for Penny and Sparrow?  Do you write together?

ANDY: Well, Kyle writes 99% of the music/instrumentation stuff….Andy writes 99% of the lyrics….and they split the melody up about 80% (kyle) and 20% (Andy)….but as for how we actually write…I guess it looks like this:
Kyle says he has a new song’s music written….he comes over to Andy’s house….Andy pours one or two glasses of Bourbon (neat….usually Booker’s)….Kyle plays the song on guitar and hums what he thinks the melody could be using unintelligible vowel noises…Andy drinks and writes down lyric ideas as Kyle repeats the song over and over….and sometimes…most of the time actually…..a song is born….
4) I’ve seen “Brothers” in a few places on YouTube.  Are you promoting it as the “single” from the album?  
I don’t think we intentionally promoted is as the single….but it’s usually between Brothers & Duet as for which one people like most….and since Brothers is fun to scream-sing and invite more people to join in, we’ve done a few different videos for it….and it’s the most upbeat song on Tenboom, so it’s cool to show folks we actually DO know what an uptempo song is like….
5) Do you have any sense of the larger acceptance of the album?  Is it playing on radio anywhere?  [It should be.]
We smile a lot when we hear that our music is being played in places we didn’t know about….it’s been weird honestly….Scotland, the UK, Japan….and all the way to New York, Stillwater, Cali, etc….with Twitter and Facebook, art moves quicker…and we don’t know why ours has in particular….but it has….and we’ve made digital buddies in places that we wanna visit and play….so maybe overseas friends, and out of state family will get the hint and invite us to their cool foreign house to sing for em’….
6) I called “Bones” the “class of the album.”  Can you tell us a little about the story behind that song in particular?

KYLE: That was so cool to read in your album review – Thanks for the incredibly kind words.  That songs is really important to me.  I actually wrote it for my wife as she walked down the aisle.  My wife, Becca, was diagnosed with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was about 11 years old.  Before we got married, she would ask questions like “Whats going to happen when my arthritis attacks again and I can’t walk anymore.” This was my way of affirming my love, no matter what, while she was walking towards me down the aisle.

7) Who do you consider to be your most significant musical influences?

ANDY: Iron&Wine, David Wilcox, Connor Oberst, Allison Krauss and Union Station, David Ramirez/Noah Gunderson, Brandon Rhyder,  Jason Robert Brown, a ton of Broadway musicals (i.e.-Parade, Les Miz, The Last 5 Years) Josh Garrells, Slaid Cleaves……………and a bunch of books… books are usually bigger inspiration for music than other musicians….

KYLE: Sigur Ros, Glen Hansard, Mahalia Jackson, James Cleveland and the Angelic Choir, Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard, Justin Vernon, James Blake, David Karsten Daniels, Radiohead.

8) How do you feel having put such intimate lyrics “out there” for the world.  Do you have any artist’s remorse about the process, or do you find it fulfilling to release those emotions via song?
ANDY: no remorse at all for intimate lyrics….none….I think the opposite actually…I’m so proud of the lyrics that I can’t imagine being squeamish about folks hearing them….they’re honest, and I like that….they’re also loaded with stories…and I like that too….We got the advice one time to do this “Write music you would wanna listen to”….and I believe we did just that….which is a cool thing to be able to say about your own album…

9) Are you touring to promote the album?  If so, what regions and major cities will you be visiting?
KYLE: We’re mainly playing around Texas, but will be out of the state in a few weeks — heading East to Nashville, Birmingham, Atlanta.  That’s all we have booked right now, but hopefully we’ll get more chances to play out of the state!
10) What would you like our readers to know about your music/careers/personalities? 
We’re just two fun-loving guys trying to make it in this crazy world.

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1 Comments Showing 50 most recent
  1. Vince

    Heard Just and Just As on Pandora and was an instant fan. I hope these guys make it.

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