Penne Sandbeck / Blog

Summer Again

Almost a year since my last blog entry, we are Efland residents and hosts to a variety of deer, skunks, owls, cicadas, squirrels, and snakes. Our garden is hanging tough in spite of the heat, as I hope are everyone else's. I've been lucky in my "day job" for the last year and am back at work on writing songs and striving to grow more as a writer and a musician. I wish I could plant and water a song; some people seem to be able to do that. Thought for the evening: If our songs were gardens, what would each garden resemble? One with all the basics, like tomatoes and beans? Zinnias and sunflowers? Lavender and herbs? Roses? Okra, melons, and squash? Labyrinths? Secret gardens behind brick walls?

Rolling Stone Gathering No Moss

Well, as soon as I moved back to Hillsborough, our landlord told us we had exactly two months to mosey on. We are now proud citizens of Efland where, according to an old friend, all tornadoes and big storms spawn. I feel this is an unfair assessment. In the meantime, have met several hummingbirds, blue-tail skinks, and am inclined to think well of our new habitat! Also, new office/studio underway--hooray!


Back in NC, hooray! I am now #26 in the rankings for Hillsborough musicians on ReverbNation, LOL. It's all good. I am looking forward to playing more music this summer, and am starting to think beyond the sea of boxes on my carport (sigh). Is moving ever easy?

So long, FredBurg

I've barely been here a year and it looks like I'm southbound again. Crazy! Plus, my job was so hectic I never got to do any gigs here. Does this mean I have to give back my Fredericksburg ranking, LOL? More soon (the least I could do before I leave is hit an open mic or busk, for cryin' out loud).

relocating SUCKS

Well, I've been out of the loop for a bit due to a new job and getting adjusted. It's been three weird months, but I hope things will be getting better soon. I've got songs to finish and songs to learn!


Everyone is original and unique--so I feel odd having a statement that I sound like Etta Baker or Joni Mitchell or Nancy Griffith. Of course, I don't sound like them any more than they sound like me. I think this particular effort to help listeners identify artists they can relate to is a little misguided. Let me help you here--lately, I've been thinking a lot about women who I think have paved the way for a lot of us, especially for me, and women I listen to and look up to. They're mentors I've never had the pleasure of meeting but here they are: first, anyone who knows me knows that I have revered Joni Mitchell since I was eleven and, even though I haven't had the nerve to tackle many of her songs, I'm feeling a pull, more and more, to get in the water and try. Another person is the late-great-incredible Kate McGarrigle. Still another is Lucinda Williams. There are more, of course (there are always more--I left out Libba Cotten, Etta Baker, and Kate Wolf!), but I think these three women share an indomitable spirit and artistry--and belief in themselves--that I aspire to.

2014 at last!

On one hand, every year is another year older. On the other hand...what's wrong with that? I'm looking forward to growing as a writer and musician, and getting to play out more this year.

summer's winding down and things are picking up

I've got a box of CDs burning a hole in my closet floor, so I've taken a few to Mary at the 4Cs in downtown New Bern. Price is very reasonable, ask Mary or Chantal and they'll fix you up. I'll have them at the next few gigs (see schedule), too.

mumfest is coming...

Hey everyone in our corner of eastern NC--a group I work with, the NC Songwriter's Co-op (NCSC) will have a stage at Mumfest in New Bern, on October 14--we've just got that Sunday, but I may have a few slots for local folks. I'm pleased to hear from one of y'all already! Check in with me, and I'll see what I can do. NCSC does have a songwriter's contest (deadline is October 1) so you might want to join them anyway--their annual dues are very reasonable. Check them out: their link is http://www.ncsongwriters.org/fr_home.cfm. Otherwise, I am REALLY looking forward to opening for Jon Shain on August 25 at New Bern's Broad Street Social Club...fun starts around 8. Come see us! Between Jon coming to town, finally getting to play at the club I pass by every day on my lunch break, Mumfest, the day job, trying to get some songs written, hoarding money to get my CD packaged, designed, and out...I am one busy human being! But the CD mastering is coming right along, which makes me very-very happy. We're hoping it'll be ready for everyone right after Thanksgiving.

nat turner's dark virginia night

Crazy weekend, sick daughter, husband giving a presentation...and I realized I haven't been giving this site much attention lately. But--here's a freshly-uploaded song I wrote. Judy Woodall did all the great resonator and electric guitar layers, there's a taste of bass (not the fish), and I'm soldiering through on acoustic. Hope you like it all...some notes to go with it follow:

The hills scrubbed bare with winter grass, they glow in the dark. It's a ghost land, here.

Barns slowly divesting themselves of nails and studs and boards, just slowly sinking into earth.

Farmhouses high on the rise, a light on. But no one's lived here for six years. The heirs don't know what they'll do, how they'll sell the land off.

Local radio station, as I turn to the Nat Turner Highway. A black folksinger named Narissa Bond told about going into a 7-11 in Smithfield, and the white clerk being mean. She is very gracious about it, and sad. It makes me angry and ashamed that I couldn't be there to stop his boorish behavior.

And in the middle of all this, I'm riding through a ghostscape.

Riding, riding, riding into the night.