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Exclusive Interview: Ten Penny Gypsy

It’s always exciting to speak to an act on their way up in the music business.  It’s even more satisfying when the act has a #1 international iTunes hit and 5 Arkansas CMA Nominations under their belt.  Such is the case with americana duo, Ten Penny Gypsy.  Justin Patterson and Laura Lynn Danley have made 2020 into their best year yet, and they’re hear to share some insight into their hit album, “Fugitive Heart” and much more….

Hey Justin and Laura Lynn! Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions for your fans and our readers. We’ve really enjoyed your album, “Fugitive Heart.” What a great collection of songs! Tell us, how many songs were written for the record, and were there any that you really liked that didn’t make the cut? How did you decide which ones to include?

Thanks so much for the kind words! We are very proud of the album, and very gratified that it has resonated so strongly with listeners! The most satisfying feedback we are getting is that every song on the album seems to be somebody’s favorite. That confirms to us that it is a tremendous product from start to finish. Coming off our debut album, we felt we had good songs to consider for the follow-up. “Road to Memphis”, “Highway 65”, and “Brick by Brick” were popular songs from our setlist that we had chosen not to put on our first record. We definitely wanted to get them on the new one. Then, there were newer songs written in the interim to be considered. We took about a dozen songs into the studio, and settled on ten that stylistically fit our vision for the record. “River and Me” is a song that just missed the cut. It is a catchy little tune, co-written with our “Fugitive Heart” guitarist Buddy Case, that has become a staple of our live shows. We have definite plans for its future release.

You’re currently enjoying some success with the single, “Your True You.” Talk about that song, what it means to you, and if the reactions to the song have surprised you?

“Your True You” is a song that Laura wrote for a friend who had reached a crossroads on that proverbial journey to find their truest expression. Written as a ballad, our producer Anthony Crawford made the astute decision to change the tempo, and construct a traditional Americana arrangement for the song. It really blossomed into something special, reaching #1 on the iTunes County Sales Chart in South Africa, and confirming the global appeal of its optimistic message. That was an exciting surprise for us, and a very meaningful one, knowing the song touched so many people.

Tell us about the video shoot for “Lonesome No More.” Where was it shot? Who worked on it? Any plans for any future music videos?

The video for “Lonesome No More” portrays the separation between a mother and daughter brought upon by the nationwide lockdown, and makes the recurring lyric “Lonesome no more, maybe someday” seem especially timely and poignant. Filmed in Laura’s backyard in Little Rock, the shoot was especially meaningful to us, as the video features her real life mother Beverly, whom Laura had just moved to Arkansas following their many years of separation. We do have plans to release our next single from “Fugitive Heart” the second week of January, accompanied by a full-length video.

What has been the biggest surprise of 2020, musically?

There is no question the biggest surprise of 2020 from a musical standpoint was the pandemic. From all standpoints, for that matter. We had planned on a full album release of “Fugitive Heart” on April 1st, with high-profile shows booked to support it. Then everything came to a screeching halt. We decided to delay the release until July, as we had to construct a new plan to release and promote an album within a totally uncharted environment. It was challenging, to say the least.

How has the pandemic affected the band? Have you been able to gain anything positive from it?

As stated above, the pandemic dismantled our original plan for releasing our album in April. However, “Fugitive Heart,” with its optimistic take on the themes of isolation and separation, turned out to be very timely when it finally arrived in July. Who this summer wasn’t feeling separated from their interests, their careers, and their loved ones? The songs were very relatable. Also, we had to adjust to a world filled with only virtual performances. It was very uplifting to witness the creativity and selflessness of our local music community, as people came together in collaboration, sharing information and know-how, and adjusting to the new reality of virtual performances and alternative revenue streams.

What music do you like to listen to? Who are your greatest influences, and who might your fans be surprised to know that you like?

We really enjoy listening to great songwriters, no matter the genre, you know? We obviously lean to the Country/Americana/ Folk Rock side of things, so Avery Brothers, Lucinda Williams, Jason Isbell and Dawes are always appealing. Our influences coming up were a bit different:

Justin: My father raised me on Merle Haggard albums as a child. Later, when I heard the finger-style guitar of James Taylor, everything changed. I became very taken by those singer/songwriters of the 1970’s – Gordon Lightfoot, John Denver, Jackson Browne. Some of that influence can definitely be heard in songs I’ve written for Ten Penny Gypsy.

Laura: Laura: I grew up singing in the church, so inspirational artists from The Carter Family to Amy Grant have had a tremendous influence on my music. I’ve also been inspired by the music of Joni Mitchell and Bonnie Raitt. They were definitely pioneers that paved the way for all female singer/songwriters.

People might be surprised that we were both fans of the Bee Gees in our youth. This fact has never before appeared in print. Too bad that group got a bad rap with Disco and people started burning their records. Barry Gibb was really a great songwriter.

Do you have any plans for a new album? Have you started working o it yet?

We continue to be filled with gratitude for the response to “Fugitive Heart,” and we’ll be promoting it hard through the end of January. We are thrilled that everybody is asking questions about a new TPG album! Although it is not our focus now, there is certainly going to be another album. There will always be stories to tell, and another song to be written! No firm details to give out yet, however.

Any parting words for everyone?

It is our wish for everyone that they be safe, well, and “Lonesome No More!” Thanks for your support of Ten Penny Gypsy and “Fugitive Heart,” and for inviting us onto your playlists! We hope the songs have brought you some joy in these crazy times. Here’s to a world back to normal in 2021! Peace!

Thanks to you both! Here’s to a successful new year!


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