Jim Halfpenny
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Jim Halfpenny

Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Austin, Texas, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Americana Singer/Songwriter




"Zak McKinney Review of Truth Trust & Other Ghosts"

From the Southern California desert to the Texas Hill Country and everywhere in between there are stories and songs that reflect the very traditions and origins of the human condition. In his debut CD, "First Things First", Jim Halfpenny has managed to infuse his humble beginnings and earthy roots with a pure devotion to telling lyrically exquisite stories and creating music that dares to cross many boundaries and encompass the emotions we have each experienced in our lives. From the acoustic driven rhythm of each song to the smokey vocals of Halfpenny which are only complemented by additions of spacey saxophone arrangements that linger in the distance, the simplicity of each song creates an experience that is anything but ordinary. By creating an album that dives into the rich history of American music and yet embracing the popular music that has come to fill airways across the country, Halfpenny has managed to build a bridge between generations and has produced a piece of work that will take you back to your roots, no matter what they may be. Although compared to the likes of Tom Petty, Bob Dylan and Dave Matthews; Halfpenny clearly stands his own ground and creates a sound that is sure to pull you in close and and keep you listening for the long haul. Jim Halfpenny has accomplished what many have attempted with a debut album that is truly unforgettable. If you haven't heard this artist, let alone the album, be sure give him a listen and I promise you wont be disappointed.
- AustinTXLive

"Jim Halfpenny - Truth Trust & Other Ghosts"

“My first impression of Jim Halfpenny’s Truth Trust & Other Ghosts focused on his voice. It’s clean and clear, but in an imperfect way — in other words, it has character. You may notice “character” as a quality lacking in the folks who make it onto shows like American Idol. It’s character that makes a voice interesting. Lots of people can sing — pop into any bar on karaoke night, and you’ll surely hear a couple performers who can truly sing — but holding a listener’s attention goes far beyond simply holding a note. The singer has to have a nuanced enough delivery to, for lack of a better phrase, keep it real. Well, that’s how it is in my little world, anyway. Welcome. Keeping it real. That’s exactly what Halfpenny does here. He sings about life — yours, mine, his — yeah, the experiences we all share even if we grew up at opposite ends of the world. His lyrics describe the world and the players on it in a wonderfully poetic yet understandable, earthy yet refined way.

In “Blind Pigs”, when Halfpenny writes: “She’s a liar. She’s a saint. She’s a stone cold sculpture of everything you ain’t. She’s a mother. She’s a wife. She’s a shadow in an alley with a switchblade knife.”… we can be pretty sure this song is about someone who used to be the love of his/your/my life, but things have gone, shall we say, a bit sour. The imagery is undeniably darkly beautiful, while the meaning is crystal clear.

My favorite track on the album is “My Class Ring”, which is a fun jaunt through my, um, I mean Halfpenny’s, high school years. The song has a perfectly understated B3 backtrack, a beautiful piano lead, and brilliantly placed guitars, that, along with the short staccato repeated words finish to the chorus and just the right amount of whitespace, give the song a special sound I’ve not often heard.

My other choice for favorite song is one that struck me the wrong way the first time I heard it, because it’s just so damn sickly sweet, and, let’s face it, I’m not a sentimental guy. But, you know, “Super Sam” grew on me, and I believe it’s because of the melody and instrumentation. The song is a perfectly produced love ballad, with a cute mix of guitars and keys and a low-key rhythm section. Gorgeous.

As I hinted above, producer Keith Davis deserves a lot of credit here. Davis has always been good at bringing out the best in the talented people he works with, including Tres Womack, Cody Hughes Davidson, and others, so I’m not surprised to see his name on yet another of my favorite recordings. Davis, a noted guitar player, seems to understand what it takes to let a song shine. I mean, the album gets almost jazzy in some — in fact, in just the right — spots. Mentioning Davis’s production, though, without mentioning Pat Manske’s brilliant mix would not be fair to Manske: there is not a note out of place here.

Truth Trust & Other Ghosts makes me want to seek out other Jim Halfpenny albums and also see a live show. I suspect it will make you want to do the same. See you there!”

RATING: 5 out of 6 Bullets – Steve Circeo, Americana Music Times – Sept. 26, 2010 - Americana Music Times

"Jim Caligiarai Review"

"...First Things First is filled with sturdy roots rock with occasional treks to Dave Matthews' space jazz."

- Jim Caligiuri, The Austin Chronicle, August 11, 2006 - The Austin Chronicle

"Review of Jim Halfpenny's Truth Trust & Other Ghosts"

"Jim Halfpenny has been an Austinite for only a small fraction of his life, but you’d never guess it from his music. Sure, his songs are full of sun-washed guitars that nod to his former career as a film composer in Los Angeles. But beneath this bright sheen is an earthy, country-tinged roots rock sound that’s right at home in the Hill Country. Halfpenny’s second album, “Truth Trust and Other Ghosts,” stays true to the elements that made his debut a solid effort. The music marries mainstream ’90s alternative with Americana to produce tightly crafted songs that sit somewhere between the Wallflowers and Tom Petty.

But the album really punches when Halfpenny drives the music home with stark, relatable images. “Strokes of genius and poetry and gloom/I stored them all in paper balls in the corner of the room,” he sings on “Aims and Wishes.”

You can regularly catch Halfpenny at the Nutty Brown Cafe on Wednesday nights, where he hosts the songwriter's night." - Alex Daniel, Austin American-Statesman, July 11, 2010

- Austin-American Statesman

"Laura Bethell/Maverick Magazine"

Though this album is a couple of years old, it’s only recently landed at Maverick Towers and made such an impression we thought you all ought to know about it. California-born Jim Halfpenny was raised in a rural desert farming community and spent twenty-odd years in Los Angeles writing film and television scores. Then seven years ago, following a short vacation to Austin, Texas, Jim and his wife upped sticks and moved to the hill country just outside of Austin. This album, recorded at his own Back 40 Studios, is best described as rural, rootsy rock with strong country influences. All twelve songs are penned by Halfpenny—who plays guitars, mandolin, harmonica, organ, piano—and are best dsecribed as life-stories. The word pictures he paints in Paul Revere’s (a typical American bar), Nowhere Town (young lovers desperate to escape to find something better than no future at home) and Walkabout (the freedom of just living life without today’s stress and expectations) all make a big impact. Yeah—highly recommended.
- Maverick Magazine - Kent, England

"Maria Mesa's Record Reviews"

"First Things First" - Jim Halfpenny

This little gem is one of the better singer/songwriter albums that have come my way. Jim Halfpenny and his band have created a well rounded package that seems to have everything well in check. Catchy songwriting, experienced musicianship, and a quality well-polished production. Instrumentation includes soprano sax, mandolin, accordion, violin, and fretless bass for added depth.

Halfpenny writes deep, thought provoking lyrics. "Like the cradle and the hearse, first things first" is a great way of saying death is just another beginning. The opening song "Pentagrams" has lines like: "She goes in 5 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." The insert contains complete lyrics with landscape photography and cool graphics.

With it's musically KGSR friendly feel it's a bit hard to categorize. Bluesy pop rock with a bit of Texas twang comes close. A dash of Americana? Sure, why not. Most songs are good, but my favorite is the final bonus track "The Long Bar". A great classic drinking song and an ode to friends and family no longer with us, it wraps the disc up nicely. While he is also deeply involved in soundtrack work in his backyard hill country studio, Jim Halfpenny's time would be better spent on projects like this.

- Maria Mesa, Columnist, Austin Daze Magazine - Austin Daze Magazine

"Radio Review"

"Totally dig your CD! I've been reporting spins to both AMA and RMR charts." - Wildman Steve, Owner/Program Director, Wildman Steve Radio WMSR - Auburn, AL

- Radio Station WMSR - Auburn, AL

"Brian Beck KGSR Radio, Austin"

"First things first, LISTEN to this record! Jim Halfpenny writes from the heart about things we all love and fear and then puts them to a beat you can cruise to!"

- Brian Beck, Producer/DJ, KGSR Radio, Austin, Texas - KGSR Radio


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.



Jim Halfpenny was born in rural Southern California in a desert farming community crisscrossed by veins of life-giving canals that bring 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. At night he’d practice guitar and perform at parties and high school dances in the rock band where he wrote his first song. Considering these rootsy origins it’s clear why Jim's music is rich with earthy textures – he’s borrowed from the soil he used to cultivate as a kid, and from the limestone beds of the Texas Hill Country where he has now transplanted himself. .

Before August of 2002 Jim lived in Los Angeles, California. He had graduated from Musicians Institute and attended UCLA to study film composition and his career as a film composer was flourishing. 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 13 episode series for television and a musical for the stage. His work often encompassed musical styles ranging from rap to orchestral and everything in between. A vacation trip to visit friends in Austin changed everything. After returning to LA Jim and his wife sold their home, left California, bought a house and some land in the Hill Country outside of Austin, built a recording studio on their property and named it Back 40 Studios.

Taking advantage of new found inspiration, the first project 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. In the spring of 2009, "Severe Weather", one of the songs off the CD, made Austin NPR’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. Jim’s second CD, Truth Trust & Other Ghosts, was released in June of 2010 and hit the road running. After teaming up with a prominent radio promoter out of Nashville the album hit the national Americana (AMA) Charts and received 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.

The past few years Jim has targeted the national festival circuit to expose his music to different audiences.  Among the list of music festivals Jim has performed are the Key Largo Original Music Festival, The Mississippi Songwriters Festival and the Mirrors on Texas Music Festival. He is also a founder and producer of the Dripping Springs Songwriters Festival, held each year on the third weekend of October in Dripping Springs, TX.

To serve as a base of bearings, Jim’s music can been described as a mixture of Tom Petty, Paul Simon, Glen Phillips, Steve Earle and The Wallflowers. He carefully balances the narrow beams between Rock, Pop, Americana, Country and Folk with the agility of an acrobat. Jim’s strict effort to maintain lyrical integrity and musical originality is the divine thread that weaves the fabric of each of his songs. These efforts are what distinguish Jim Halfpenny’s music and make it instantly identifiable. He believes that well crafted songs, focus and determination are the keys to a songwriter’s 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."

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 is gearing up production on his third album, which is projected for a summer 2017 release. More info at www.jimhalfpennyband.com.