Arkansas singer/songwriters Justin Patterson and Laura Lynn Danley had been writing and performing separately as solo artists for years when they decided to form the Folk/Americana duo Ten Penny Gypsy in 2017. That decision changed their fortunes immediately, and put their musical careers onto a new and exciting trajectory.
In 2018, “Ten Penny Gypsy,” their self-titled debut album, was nominated for “Album of the Year” at the Arkansas Country Music Awards. The group garnered additional Arkansas CMA nominations for “Americana Artist of the Year” and “Vocal Group of the Year” in both 2018 and 2019.
Ten Penny Gypsy is looking to build on that success in 2020 with the release of their second full-length album, “Fugitive Heart,” a collection of original songs once again produced by renowned multi-instrumentalist Anthony Crawford. In addition, the album prominently features the talents of 2020 Arkansas CMA nominee Buddy Case (Guitarist of the Year).
1. Hi Justin and Laura! Great to speak with you guys. So, what’s going on in the Ten Penny Gypsy world? How has 2020 treated you?
Thanks for having us! We’ve been extremely busy promoting our recent album release, “Fugitive Heart,” which we are really proud of. The year has been such a trying one for everyone in so many ways more important than music, and we’ll never lose sight of that. Yet, in the midst of the world’s craziness, it has been very gratifying to see our music generating such a positive response from listeners. We really weren’t sure what to expect, honestly. Everyone’s attention and priorities have been turned upside down this year, and understandably so.
2. Your album, “Fugitive Heart” is amazing. Congratulations on a great record! Give us a behind the scenes peek at the creation of the album. When was it written, where was it recorded, any interesting anecdotes about recording the album?
Thanks so much! We wanted this album to reach a broader audience than our well-received 2017 debut had, and felt we had some really great songs to offer. Once again, we put them into the talented hands of multi-instrumentalist/producer Anthony Crawford (Neil Young, Steve Winwood, Dwight Yoakam), and recorded the album at his studio in Loxley, AL. He is such an accomplished musician, and a mad genius behind the board. This album sounds so good sonically, we can’t thank him enough. In addition, we were blessed to have the massive guitar talents of Arkansas CMA nominee Buddy Case, and he infused a driving, Country/Blues flavor into some of these songs that was not heard on our debut. It always comes down to the songs, though. These have really seemed to strike a chord with audiences, and timing has played a big role in that. Though the songs on “Fugitive Heart” were written prior to Covid, they do thematically address the uncertainties caused by separation and the distances between us, and who among us hasn’t experienced that in 2020? Musically, it’s a very bright and upbeat record, so there is an underlying sense of optimism that you can still feel throughout the album.
3. TPG has been nominated for 5 Arkansas CMA Awards. Can you talk a bit about that? What were you nominated for, exactly? Tell us about the Arkansas CMA.
We are so grateful to the Arkansas Country Music Awards for the exposure they’ve given us. They are such dedicated advocates for the unsigned artists in our state, and there is tremendous talent here. We aren’t Traditional Country by any stretch of the imagination. Our sound is more an eclectic mix of Folk, Country, and Americana, and yet the ACMA honored us with a place at their table. Our self-titled debut album was nominated for “Album of the Year” in 2018, and we also received nominations for “Americana Artist of the Year” and “Vocal Group of the Year” in both 2018 and 2019.
4. Any touring plans, once Covid lifts?
We’ve packed a suitcase and it’s by the front door! Seriously, we are looking forward to the time when things get back to normal, and we’re all able to go out there and hug our fans around the neck in person. We have been contacted by festivals about possible dates in the spring of 2021, but so much is still up in the air. In the meantime we’ll continue to reach out to our fans virtually as often as possible.
5. What’s next for Ten Penny Gypsy? Any plans for a new single or video? When will the next album come out?
We will be releasing a lyric video soon for the song “Your True You”. It has really resonated with people worldwide, recently reaching #1 on the iTunes Country Sales Chart in South Africa. Just a way to say thanks and celebrate that accomplishment with our fans. We will also release a new single with full video in December. As songwriters, there’s always a new song to write, so we’ll be looking forward to getting back into the studio sometime in 2021 to work on the next album.
6. Have you ever performed in Nashville? If so, where is your favorite spot in Music City?
We have not yet performed in Nashville as Ten Penny Gypsy, but say the word, and we can be there TONIGHT! Seriously, we would love it! Please have your readers shout out to their favorite Nashville venue and recommend bringing Ten Penny Gypsy to town! We’ll have ourselves a time!
7. Which song on your current album is your personal favorite, and why?
It has been so gratifying that, whether it’s fans or music writers, everyone seems to have a different favorite song on “Fugitive Heart.” Here are ours:
Justin: “Fugitive Heart” -The title track has always been one of my favorites of the songs I’ve written. I also believe it’s some of the best vocal work Laura and I have done together. Anthony Crawford’s arrangement of the song is powerful, yet so elegant, as the acoustic guitars really shine.
Laura: “Your True You – I was asked to write a song by a friend of mine who was in pain, and at a crossroads on her quest to find her truest expression. It is so meaningful to me that the song’s message has touched so many hearts. I wrote the song as a ballad, but Anthony Crawford introduced a bouncy beat and some mandolin, and it really blossomed into something special.
8. Any last words for your fans and our readers?
We want to thank everyone for embracing “Fugitive Heart” with such enthusiasm! We know how unsettling this year has been, and we appreciate you taking the time to invite us onto your playlists! Stay safe and healthy!