Jim Halfpenny

Jim Halfpenny

BandAmericanaSinger/Songwriter

Offering up an eclectic blend of Rock/Folk/Pop/Blues/Americana with a strong emphasis on quality songwriting and lyrical content, Jim Halfpenny's sound has been compared to and described as a mixture of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Glen Phillips, Steve Earle, The Wallflowers and Dave Matthews.

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Biography

Jim Halfpenny was born in rural Southern California in a desert farming community crisscrossed by veins of life-giving canals that brought water to an otherwise arid landscape. His high school summer days were spent driving tractor and working in the fields, often side by side with migrant farm workers and Mexican brazeros. At night he’d practice guitar and perform at parties and high school dances in the rock band where he wrote his very first songs. Considering these rootsy origins it becomes crystal clear why Jim's music is rich with earthy textures, like the soil he used to cultivate as a kid and the enduring limestone hills of Austin, Texas where he has transplanted himself.

Before the end August of 2002 Jim and his wife lived in Los Angeles, California. He had graduated from Musician’s Institute and attended UCLA to study film composition and his career as a film composer was going strong. In his twelve years of hard work in the Los Angeles film business his music credits had tallied over 25 feature film scores, dozens of movie trailers, a 13 episode series for television, a musical for the stage, and numerous published songs. His film work often encompassed musical styles ranging from rap to orchestral and everything in between. A short vacation trip to visit friends in Austin changed all of that. After returning to LA Jim and his wife sold their home, left California and bought a house and some land in the hill country outside of Austin. Two years later they built a recording studio on their property and named it Back 40 Studios.

Taking advantage of new found inspiration, one of the first projects to come out of Back 40 Studios was Jim’s debut CD, First Things First. The album was released in June of 2006 and by the end of that 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 CD soon found its way to the airwaves both locally in Austin and regionally on independent radio stations across Central Texas. Bryan Beck, morning show host at KGSR radio in Austin, introduced one of Jim’s songs by saying, "First things first, LISTEN to this CD! Jim Halfpenny writes from the heart about things we all love and fear and then puts them to a beat you can cruise to." In the spring of 2009, Severe Weather, one of the songs off the CD, made KUT radio’s first ever Texas Music Matters Playlist where it was one of only 15 songs chosen out of hundreds of submissions. Laura Slavin of KPFT FM, in Houston, also began playing Severe Weather regularly on her program and has repeatedly invited Jim to play live-on-air on her show. The Jim Halfpenny Band’s second CD, Truth Trust & Other Ghosts, was just released on June 30, 2010, but has hit the road running. After teaming up with a prominent radio promoter out of Nashville the album is currently on the national Americana (AMA) Charts and receiving airplay on radio stations ranging coast to coast. In January of 2011 radio station WWSP FM, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin, included the Truth Trust & Other Ghosts track, Dandelion, on their BEST OF 2010 RELEASES list.

Over the years Jim’s music has been compared to and described as a mixture of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Glen Phillips, The Wallflowers and Dave Matthews. He carefully balances the narrow beams between rock, pop, Americana, country and folk with the agility of an acrobat. An apparent, ever-present thread in each of his songs is what seems to be a very conscious effort to maintain lyrical integrity and musical originality. These efforts are part of what sets Jim Halfpenny’s music apart and makes it instantly recognizable. He believes that well written songs, focus and determination are the keys to ultimate success. "An old farm 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."

Using lessons hard-learned from his early farming experiences, Jim continues to cultivate his music and works to grow and raise a faithful following with live performances, both with the Jim Halfpenny Band and as a solo artist. Jim and his group are currently gearing up to record their third album, which is projected for a late 2011 release. More info at www.jimhalfpennyband.com.

Lyrics

The Roadway

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

With steady hands on the stearing wheel,
Every rock in the road I feel.
Window's down to let in the night,
I'm OK I'm feelin' right.
Slicing through a thermocline,
A cool wind whips my face.
On the roadway.
A midnight tractor turns the soil,
smell the earth and diesel oil.
It's sound gets swallowed by the night,
But I can see it's ghostly light.
An insect hits the windscreen,
It's soul gets left someplace on the roadway.
Drivin' all night. Drivin' a stake,
Deep in the heart of a sad Monday.
Things didn't turn out like she planned,
Now the weekend's strewn like bits of trash.
On the roadway.
You can glide down lonesome highways,
And pass the night and nothing else.
And if lonliness don't scare you,
You can have it all just to yourself.
Take an hour, take a lifetime,
Burn those cards that you've been dealt.
Then push through those flimsy barriers,
That keep you in your place.
On the roadway.
Drivin' all night. Drivin' a stake,
Deep in the heart of a sad Monday.
Things didn't turn out like she planned,
Now the weekend's strewn like bits of trash.
On the roadway.
I continue on through time and space.
On the roadway.

(c-2006 - Strong Domino Music - BMI)

Walkabout

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

There's blackmen in a southern land,
And they're smarter than the common man.
They sleep out under them southern stars,
With the kangaroo and koala bear.
When they feel like talkin', they talk.
When they feel like walkin', they walk.
It's a simple life with simple rules,
They got it all figured out.
When they feel like dancin', they shake it.
When they feel like lovin', they make it.
Ain't it time you and me take a walkabout?
We'll build a fire, just me and you,
Under a marbled moon with a digeridoo.
No power bills no traffic jams.
We won't have to work or make no plans.
When we feel like talkin', we'll talk.
When we feel like walkin', we'll walk.
It's a simple life with simple rules,
We'll get it all figured out.
When we feel like dancin', we'll shake it.
When we feel like lovin', we'll make it.
Ain't it time you and me take a walkabout?
We'll bring the dog, he should come along.
We'll leave the house and let the lawn grow long,
And wander off to Shangri-La,
Like the Bushmen in Austrailia.
When they feel like talkin', they talk.
When they feel like walkin', they walk.
It's a simple life with simple rules,
They got it all figured out.
When they feel like dancin', they shake it.
When they feel like lovin', they make it.
Ain't it time you and me take a walkabout?

(c-2006 - Stong Domino Music - BMI)

That's You Leavin'

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

There are two glowing tailights,
Disappearing down a driveway,
Out of focus in the damp night air.
There's a lingering smell of perfume,
And an echo of footsteps,
From a woman that's no longer there.

That's you leavin' me.
That's all the evidence that anyone would need.
That's you leavin' me.

There's a smoldering Marlboro,
In a Tiffany ashtray,
With a red lipstick kiss on the end.
There's a slow melting ice cube,
In a cool crystal glass,
And a door that's still flung out on the hinge.

That's you leavin' me.
That's all the evidence that anyone would need.
That's you leavin' me.

It didn't take a super-slooth to know.
It was only a matter of time before you'd go.

There's a hole in a heart,
That somehow keeps beating,
Pumping blood into a brain that's numb.
And two lungs that keep breathing,
But will not hold their breath,
In the hope that back you'll come.

That's you leavin' me.
That's all the evidence that any man would need.
That's you leavin' me.
I'm not astonished it was always meant to be.
That's you leavin' me.

(c-2006 - Stong Domino Music - BMI)

The Long Bar

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

Ninety-five years was enough time,
To spend in one place,
He decided to move on.
Surrounded by possessions,
A calm fell over his face,
And then he was gone.
With a friend by his side,
To wish him good luck, good-bye,
He crossed the threshold at dawn.
And like a first-time sailor,
He held tight to the rail,
And smiled at the grace of it all.

To those who go down on the ocean.
To those who go down on the sea.
To those that slip under,
Those warm, silver waves,
And learn what we all wait to be.
Step into that tavern in Valhallah,
And shake hands with the old friends you see.
Have a drink and a toast,
To those you loved most,
And save a place at that long bar for me.

It's no solumn occasion,
The kids are out on the lawn,
Playing in the sun.
The wives are in the kitchen,
The house is alive with their laughter,
Perfume and song.
And men, we don't cry,
We've said our good-byes,
We'll meet up again after all.
Life will go on and still go on,
And on, and on, and on.

To those who go down on the ocean.
To those who go down on the sea.
To those that slip under,
Those warm, silver waves,
And learn what we all wait to be.
Step into that tavern in Valhallah,
And shake hands with the old friends you see.
Have a drink and a toast,
To those you loved most,
And save a place at that long bar for me.

Pentagrams

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

She's got five sides.
Man, I've seen everyone.
And I gotta dig deep, real deep, real deep.
To tell myself I'm not in love.
Five sides.
Like fingers on a boxer's hand.
She can ball herself up like a fist,
And knock me on my ass.

She better not come 'round again,
Drawing those pentagrams,
Sittin' in her chair like Joan Of Arc.
She's 'bout as reachable as Tokyo,
And here I sit in Idaho,
Waitin' for her to give off some kinda spark.
To show me I'm not totally in the dark.

She goes in five directions.
Like the points on a pentagram.
And when I look for haven in her eyes,
I just see reflections of the fool I am.
I've given her five tries.
One for every year I've spent,
Trying to squeeze the blood out of that rock,
That big cold rock, of discontent.

She better not come 'round again,
Drawing those pentagrams,
Sittin' in her chair like Joan Of Arc.
She's 'bout as reachable as Tokyo,
And here I sit in Idaho,
Waitin' for her to give off some kinda spark.
To show me I'm not totally in the dark.

(c-2006 - Strong Domino Music - BMI)

First Things First

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

You could probably hear a pin drop,
In her room tonight,
You wouldn't have to listen hard.
She's probably wide-awake, alone,
And locked up tight.
With a dog chained in the yard.
She paints a faceless lover that she might meet,
Who'll satisfy this thirst.
And make everything seem real under his sheets,
But first things first.
Yeah, first things first.

You could probably hear him whisper,
In his room tonight.
He lights a candle like a fuse.
He lays his hopes out on the table, under the light,
To see which ones he can use.
He counts them like stars in the summer sky,
Novas, fit to burst.
He could bury the things that haunt him with one good try,
But first things first,
Yeah, first things first.

Keep time in your pocket.
Keep ready to make change.
It's a natural progression.
Like the cradle and the hearse.
First things first.

You couldn't bear the silence,
In those two rooms tonight.
It's louder than a scream.
They'll change the things that need changing, eventually.
Starting with their dreams.
Like the cradle and the hearse.
First things first.
Just like the cradle and the hearse.
First things first.

(c-2006 - Strong Domino Music - BMI)

Blue Sun

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

I've been staying up late, cleaning out my pockets.
Far from the salt mines with a tight jawbone.
Getting in my last licks. Rock-ribbed and ready.
Outside it's raining pitchforks and I got my best suit on.
Blue sun don't shine anymore.
Not on this door.
I been greasing each wheel. Taking out my garbage.
I hung up on my hang-ups years ago.
Come lightning, come snow. Come hell or high water.
I won't knuckle under, I won't fade to black.
Blue sun don't shine anymore.
Not on this door.

Only Temporary

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

Please excuse the mess.
I haven't had the chance to clean up lately.
Things might seem kinda out of control.
And thoughts that I have had,
About making life a little easier,
Just need time to take hold.
Please don't mind this face. It's only temporary.
I've seen it come and go 'bout a hundred times.
It's only temporary.
Push aside the crap, take a seat, hey, let's reminisce.
I haven't seen you for awhile.
How's the wife and kids? No, actually I'm feeling better.
Today I might get out for a drive.
Please don't mind this face. It's only temporary.
I've seen it come and go 'bout a million times.
It's only temporary.
Read my fortune if you like. It's like a roller coaster ride.
Please don't mind this face. It's only temporary.
I've seen it come and go many countless times.
It's only temporary.

Dandelion

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

Miss Aligned ain't the kind to live alone,
But she built a wide moat around her fortress of stone.
A well-worn path leads down to the docks,
Where desperate ships collide with desperate rocks.
In this hall of hers built on ancient bones,
Her bare feet plod the coldest stones,
Where our voices, faint but, oh, so clear,
Breathe words meant for no other ear.
"Go 'way. Come back. Go 'way. Come back."
Existing with what matters most.
With truth and trust and other ghosts.
Inside she's safe, she's warm, she's sane.
Outside a dandelion in a hurricane.
"Go 'way. Come back. Go 'way. Come back."
Old ghosts, old worlds and unturned stones.
Re-stitch the seam that comes un-sewn.
Align the bones.
"Go 'way. Come back. Go 'way. Come back."
Miss Aligned ain't the kind to live alone,
She got old ghost, old worlds, and un-turned stones.

Echoes

Written By: Jim Halfpenny

She wore bicycle shorts but didn't own a bike.
Some folks would say that that ain't right,
But you should-a seen her.
More curves than Nolan Ryan.
She had a funky little apartment on Barton Springs,
Close to the bike path and everything.
Man, I tell ya, for two years we were flyin'.
It still perplexes me, how much I cared for her.
Jeeze, Louise, my memory's in stir.
Just ask me and I'll tell you 'bout the canyon in my brain,
Where echoes of her laughter still remain.
La, la, la, la, la.
She had a planter's wart and wore Doc Martens.
I don't know how she got it, she never had a garden.
Kept her hair cut short just like Abe Lincoln.
She had a four-wheel drive that never left the road.
Told she got it incase the world exploded.
Man, she was always thinkin'.
It still perplexes me, how much I cared for her.
Jeeze, Louise, my memory's in stir.
Just ask me and I'll tell you 'bout the canyon in my brain,
Where echoes of her laughter still remain.
La, la, la, la, la.
Well, she left to go to Mexico or somewhere just as far.
She couldn't speak a word of Spanish,
But she liked to hear guitars.
And accordions and violins are playing for her there.
While echoes are all that I can hear.
It still perplexes me, how much I cared for her.
Jeeze, Louise, my memory's in stir.
Just ask me and I'll tell you 'bout the canyon in my brain,
Where echoes of her laughter still remain.
La, la, la, la, la.

Discography

TRUTH TRUST & OTHER GHOSTS - Released July 30, 2010. Currently on the national AMA and RMR charts.
CD has local and national airplay on both terrestrial and internet stations. The single, Dandelion was recently included on WWSP FM radio's BEST OF 2010 RELEASES list, in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

FIRST THINGS FIRST - Debut CD - Released May 1, 2006.
Track "Severe Weather" was selected by KUT Radio to be among 15 songs selected out of hundreds to be on the first ever Texas Music Matters Playlist. CD continues to get local terrestrial (central Texas) and internet airplay.

Set List

All original music. Titles include:

Pentagrams
Good Friends
The Rooster's Gone
Cool Your Heels
First Things First
Nowhere Town
The Roadway
That's You Leavin'
Out Of The Blue
Same Full Moon
Paul Revere's
Skeleton Boy
Severe Weather
Demolition Days
Blind Pigs
The Long Bar
Echoes
My Class Ring
Best Wishes
I Know About Love
Blue Sun
Ghosts In The Sidewalk
Homegrown Tomatoes
A Moment Of Science
Aims & Wishes
She's Afraid To Drive At Night
King Of Avalon
Annabelle's Tears
I Just Wanna See You
Super Sam
Kingdom Come
His Crusade
Baby Needs New Shoes
Run
Dandelion

Currently, Jim has four complete 45 minute sets and will soon have five. Depending on the venue the band plays a variety of up-tempo cover songs that are similar in style: Petty, Eagles, Mellencamp, Stones, etc.