Nicholas Penn

Young Kentucky musician reflects on Kentucky local art, music, events and changes.  This site contains original music, gig updates, and booking information.  Blending easy listening west coast rock with Appalachian folk themes, Nicholas Penn has created a sound of his own.  

his-story

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Early career

It was a tradition in his family to receive a guitar on the 12th birthday. The guitar as an instrument had been passed down from his grandfather, to his mother, and then to him. Coming from a long line of musicians, Nicholas seemingly was genetically predisposed to music and music creation.

While his grandfather and mother focused on classical guitar and worship music for the Christian Church, Nicholas initially was taken with love songs and the alternative/rock scene of the 1990’s. Though he got his start singing and playing in churches in 2004/2005, Nicholas soon began to branch out into more “creative” genres such as folk, rock, and indie/singer-songwriter.

In 2006 Nicholas moved from Durham, North Carolina to Georgetown, KY where he formed a band called The Ben Lumen Band.

Nicholas cut his teeth as the main songwriter and band leader for the Ben Lumen Band, which lasted for about two years. During their time, the band mainly focussed on writing and recording just a few key songs that they performed at local events and festivals.

The Ben Lumen Band broke up in 2008 as Nicholas was entering college at Georgetown College.

The Yesterday Trees

In late 2008 Nicholas began working with keyboardist Cameron Webster on a folk/tronic project called The Yesterday Trees. The duo set out to record an album, each of them agreeing to provide half of the songs for the album. They ended up each bringing 5 songs to the table, and then collaborating on each others tracks.

Over the course of the month of December 2008, they recorded all of the songs. They had special priviledges which allowed them to access the santuary of Faith Baptist Church in Georgetown, KY, where they did their recording. The duo would enter the church around 8 pm every night, and record until about 4 am every morning. Over the course of a month of recording, sculpted what would become their album “Paper and Pencils”. This eclectic album was a turning point for both musicians, as they began to delve into the world of home music production.

 
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College and early adulthood

During college at Georgetown College Nicholas spent most of his time playing music and writing music. It would seem that his education was only to serve his songwriting, and it did so very well. During his time at Georgetown College Nicholas wrote on various topics that we was exposed to such as environmental ethics, ethics of consumption, social justice, and the same old boring love songs.

During this time Nicholas collaborated with the hardcore/metal drummer Hunter Hanks. The two met artists met int he middle stylistically, settling on Dave Matthews as a common artist they wanted to emulate. Hunter, as a drummer was eager to emulate Carter Beauford of Dave Matthews, and Nicholas was obviously eager to emulate Dave Matthews. This time prooved to be pivotal for Nicholas, giving him a much wider range of creativity and introducing him to a different style of music.

Nicholas and Hunter played as duo under the name “The Cabrew Montage”. This band name came from the concept of “Cabrewing” which means to canoe down the river drinking beer. This was a central contept for Nicholas as a a creator feeling as if he had little control over his life and was just washing around from bank to bank as he floated down the river of life.

In 2012 Nicholas graduated from college and moved to Lexington, KY. There he began playing music at farmers markets and was soon invited to play at local restaurants, bars, and coffee shops. He quickly gained a reputation as being a very good “chill” musician for laid back social gatherings.

After 4 years in the Lexington area Nicholas began to more seriously develop his career as an artist. Teaming up with cellist Seth Murphy, he began to focus on booking more performances at local festivals and events. Realizing that festivals want to have a kick drum coming through the speakers, Nicholas taught himself to play a suitcase kick drum and tambourine while he played guitar and sang. This addition gave the guitar and cello duo a chance at performing at a lot more regional festival including Playthink Movement Festival, KY Yoga Festival, Whippoorwill Festival, and Pete Fest.

Present day

Nicholas is continuing to play music with Seth Murphy and to expand his network of festivals who are asking him to play. He is intentionally focussing on playing higher quality festivals year by year, and in his free time is focussed on developing his music production skills in order to be more of a producer and less of a touring artists.

Nicholas is still very focused on live performances for yoga events. He is tending to be more appreciated and invited to yoga events of all kinds.

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