Well, HELLO! Long time no newsletter, huh?
I hope you've all been keeping yourselves safe and healthy in these weird times. It's been awhile since I've sent out a newsletter so I'll try to catch everyone up in as few paragraphs as possible.
First off, the move. After living in Texas for over 17 years Laurie and I made a move to Arizona in 2019. It was a tough decision to leave all our good friends in TX, but it was time for a change, and conditions dictated that we move a bit closer to family. Things happened so quickly we didn't even have time to throw a proper going away party - but we'll fix that sometime in the future. Soon after our relocation Covid hit. Playing live music, just like everything else, hit the skids and we found ourselves in lock-down mode. Fortunately, before we made the cross-country move, my brother in music Brandon Storms and I set up his drum kit at the lakehouse where we recorded the rhythm tracks for 34 songs. Whewww! It was a long weekend, but it was very productive, and we had a lot of fun doing it.
Cut back to the pandemic (which seems to just keep going on and on). Since we really couldn't go anywhere anyway, I hunkered down and decided the time was right to finally get a new album out (right???...11 years...sheesh!). So over the course of 18 months or so I took the killer drum tracks Brandon played on and began adding to them. I ended up performing all the instruments (guitars, bass, piano, organ, harmonica, mandolin, dulcimer, synths) and vocals on the album, as well as producing, mixing and even mastering. Doing all the work myself definitely contributed to the album’s extended time frame (that's my excuse and I'm stickin' to it), but it also allowed me a level of quality-control that I’ve never had in past recording projects. So, it seems our semi-forced confinement had a small bright side for me - it made me get down to business! I'm very proud of the final result, and I believe it's some of my best work to date, and Brandon's too.
Which brings me to the most news-worthy part of this newsletter. I HAVE A NEW ALBUM OUT!! It's called, TABULA RASA, and it's official release date is today, Friday, August 27, 2021, and it's available at iTunes, Amazon Music, and everywhere online music is sold and streamed. I'm very excited about this new release, and hopefully it will make a number of you happy as well (for years Kyle Lane has been threatening to "kick my butt" if I don't get a new album out, so I at least hope HE'S happy). Oh...and if you decide to get the album, please...if possible, (and this goes for all your favorite music artists as well) please purchase a download rather than streaming the music. Here's a sad fact: it takes 229 song streams on Spotify, or 1449 plays on YouTube for us songwriters to make just $1. While with just one album download purchase, like say on iTunes or Amazon Music, we can collect 5 times that. So if you have the choice, and can afford it, please always choose BUY over stream. Thank you for your understanding and support. Oh, and while you're listening to your new album you can visit the TABULA RASA page on my website (jimhalfpenny.com) and check out the album art, lyrics and credits.
Also - last, but not least. In support of the new album, Laurie and I have produced and published a very cool music video for one of the tunes, FOLKS BACK HOME. The video was shot this summer, almost entirely in and around Brawley, CA (our home town). The idea for the video was Laurie's and she and I produced and co-directed. We did the (jittery) camera work on a combination of iPhone, DSLR, FlipCam and a DJI drone that I almost crashed or lost at least five times during production in various fields, canals and feedlots. It was a blast to shoot though. We enlisted the support and help of a small gaggle of our high school buds, all of us crammed into a Jeep with the camera equipment - a steamy 118 degrees outside. Watch close, those close friends make brief cameos in the video. Thanks Rick, Ray and Nancy. The project turned out really great, you can watch it right now on the Videos page of my website. Response to the video has been tremendous (1800 views in just a week's time!) - thanks, everyone, for your kind comments on Facebook and YouTube. On my website I've quoted a farmer, who after seeing the video texted me saying the video was "A great tribute to the American farmer." Call me an emotional sap, but that choked me up.
OK...time to wrap this novel up. If you made it this far, thank you for reading this long-winded newsletter, and please look for my new album, TABULA RASA, available starting today, Friday, August 27, on iTunes, Amazon Music, etc.