Jim’s new album, TABULA RASA is now available at iTunes, Amazon Music, and everywhere online music is streamed and sold.

Jim Halfpenny has been a professional film composer and songwriter for more than 20 years. His composing credits include the original scores for over 25 feature length films, music for a Discovery Channel series and jingles for national TV and radio ads. Jims’ music has been heard in films and commercials shown on Network Television, HBO, CMAX, SHOW, A&E, TMC, USA, as well as on world-wide television and theatrical venues. As a songwriter, his unmistakable sound uniquely blends folk, rock, pop and country and his music has garnered positive press reviews from as far away as the United Kingdom. Now, with the long-anticipated arrival of his newest album Tabula Rasa, Jim resets his musical compass and shows us another side of his creativity.

Jim was born and raised in rural Southern California, in a desert farming community that’s crisscrossed by a geometry of canals that bring water to the otherwise arid landscape. His high school summers were spent driving tractor and working in the fields, often side by side with Braceros and migrant farm workers. In between work and his studies he’d practice guitar and perform at parties and high school dances in the rock band where he wrote his first songs. Considering these rootsy origins it’s not hard to understand why Jim’s music is so potent with earthy textures it seems he’s borrowed his music’s essence from the rich soil he used to cultivate as a kid.

In the years leading up to August of 2002 Jim was living in Los Angeles, California and his rock band, Native Alien, was performing regularly at such iconic Sunset Strip establishments as Gazzarri’s, Madam Wong’s and The Troubadour. After graduating from Musician’s Institute, Jim attended UCLA to study film composition, and soon thereafter he established a steady career as a film composer. In his twelve years of working in Los Angeles’ competitive film business his music credits tallied over 25 feature film scores, dozens of movie trailers, a series for television and a musical production for the stage. His work often demanded a wide variety of musical styles ranging from rap to orchestral and almost everything in between. In the spring of 2002, after returning to LA from an exhilarating trip to SXSW in Austin, TX, Jim and his wife swiftly sold their home in California, bought a house on some land in the Texas Hill Country, and built a recording studio – naming it Back 40 Studios. Jim’s focus then shifted to full-time songwriting.

The first project to come out of Back 40 Studios was Jim’s debut album, First Things First. The CD was released in June of 2006 and by the end of summer it had garnered some pretty impressive reviews in music magazines in the Austin area and abroad. “Halfpenny writes deep, thought-provoking lyrics”, wrote Maria Mesa of Austin Daze magazine, “one of the better singer/songwriters to come my way.” Jim Caligiuri, of the Austin Chronicle noted in his review, “First Things First is filled with sturdy roots rock and occasional treks to Dave Matthews space jazz.” “Highly recommended!” quoted Laura Bethell of Maverick Magazine in Kent, England. The album soon found its way to the airwaves both locally in Austin, and regionally on independent radio stations across Central Texas. Honors came in the spring of 2009 when Jim’s saxophone-laced newgrass tune, Severe Weather, was selected to be on Austin NPR’s first-ever Texas Music Matters Playlist – being one of only 15 songs chosen out of hundreds of submissions. Laura Slavin of KPFT FM, in Houston, began playing Severe Weather regularly on her program and repeatedly inviteded Jim to perform live on her radio show.

Halfpenny’s second CD, Truth Trust & Other Ghosts, was released in June of 2010 and hit the ground running. After teaming up with a prominent radio promoter out of Nashville the album climbed the national Americana (AMA) Charts and received airplay on radio stations from coast to coast. More honors came in January of 2011 when radio station WWSP FM, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, included the Truth Trust & Other Ghosts track, Dandelion, on their BEST OF 2010 RELEASES list.

After an unusually long time between projects, Jim’s highly-anticipated album, Tabula Rasa, was released on August 27, 2021. The project’s rhythm tracks were recorded in Texas and everything
else was performed, finished and polished in Arizona. With the exception of the drums, played brilliantly by Austin’s Brandon Storms, Jim performed all the instruments and vocals on the album, as well as producing,
mixing and mastering. “Doing most all the work myself really stretched out the album’s timeframe,” laughs Halfpenny, “but it allowed me a level of quality-control that I’ve never had in past recording projects.” The instruments Jim plays on the album include vocals, guitars (6-string, 12-string and tenor guitar), bass, mandolin, autoharp, harmonica, piano/organ/keys and dulcimer.

Studio projects can be very rewarding, but playing in front of a live audience is what Jim enjoys most. Over the past few years he has targeted the national festival circuit to expose his music to a wide variety of audiences across the country. Among the list of music festivals where Jim has performed are the Key Largo Original Music Festival, The Mississippi Songwriters Festival and the Mirrors on Texas Music Festival. Jim is also a founding producer of the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival, which is held each year on the third weekend of October in Dripping Springs, TX.

When asked to describe the style of his music Jim will often give a different answer every time. But fans describe his sound as a mixture of Tom Petty, Paul Simon, Glen Phillips, Don Henley and The Gin Blossoms. He carefully balances the narrow beams between Rock, Pop, Americana, Country and Folk with the agility of an acrobat. A high standard of lyrical integrity and musical originality is a common thread that weaves through the fabric of each of his songs. This is what distinguishes Jim Halfpenny’s music and makes it instantly identifiable. The keys to a songwriter’s success, he believes, are well-crafted songs, originality, focus and determination.

“An old ranch foreman once told me,” Jim relates, “it takes more than just sun, water and hard work to make a living out of farming. You need to be god-awful stubborn and a little crazy too. Over the years I’ve come to realize that the music business is hell of a lot like farming.”

Jim currently resides in Arizona where he continues to cultivate his music. Hes on a creative roll at this juncture in his career – taken up painting and begun writing a novel. With the hopeful decline of Covid-19 Jim looks forward to performing live again…and he’s back in the studio recording his next album project.

* To read more about Jim’s film music career and to hear some of his compositions visit his composer website at jameshalfpennymusic.com.


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