Interview: Penny and Sparrow
Text by Tim Borland, Photos courtesy of band
Musicians Oh Jeremiah! and Penny and Sparrow will be performing at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club on August 28. The Sunday evening performance will occur from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. The event is limited to 50 tickets, which are running out fast.
Penny and Sparrow is a duo of singer songwriters from Austin, Texas consisting of Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke. The pair share vocals accompanied by guitar for a stripped down melodic sound. Currently on tour in support of their new release Let a Lover Drown You. The musicians originally met as roommates at the University of Texas. The Mod Crew spoke with guitarist and vocalist Kyle Jahnke about the upcoming performance.
Q&A: Penny and Sparrow
1) Why are independent music venues like Callaghan’s important for up and coming musicians?
“Small independent venues give musicians a chance to play, simply put. They are the champion for art over anything else, which is really refreshing,” Jahnke explains.
2) Do you feel there is still plenty of new ground to cover with singer songwriter music? How do you stay original?
“There are so many exciting and beautiful directions each song can move in a folk/singer songwriter genre. I think it’s a broad enough genre to free up tons of musicians to take some creative freedoms lyrically and melodically. I think the best way to stay original is to craft songs that matter to you, and that you love, no matter how weird or quirky or fun or sad they are,” Jahnke expresses.
3) It seems like the dual voices, with harmony and melody on the more intense parts of certain songs, is an important aspect of many of your songs. Does this help flesh out the sound with the minimal number of musicians?
“Yeah I think so. It definitely adds more texture to certain parts that need a little umph. But sometimes it’s just because we like singing together,” Jahnke says.
4) How do you develop your songs? Are the lyrics first, or the music, or do they both develop together?
“It changes per song, but on average we will have a melody first, and work lyrics around the melody. After that we work on it and revise it … sometimes it turns it into a totally different song,” Jahnke shares.
5) What do you hope audiences take away from your live performances?
“We hope they take away whatever it is they need. We definitely play some sad songs, but like to laugh and have fun in the middle. I think there’s a little hope found in there somewhere in the mix. So as long as they enjoyed themselves in some fashion, even if it’s a good cry, we are happy,” Jahnke says.