all the ways you could undo me

Count This Penny – Baby, You

If I didn’t know these two were actually head over heels for each other, I’d be completely convinced that they’ve hurt one another deeply. Such is the power of Count This Penny‘s latest release, “Baby, You.” The song strays a bit from the band’s Appalachian roots and it’s exciting to hear them go in a new direction. The hallmarks of their sound are still there (Amanda’s bowl-you-over voice and impeccable phrasing, Allen’s perfect harmony and quiet intensity), but there’s something in the songwriting that’s been untapped until now. As people the Rigells have convinced me that true love is real, and as artists they’ve shown me the reality of being truly heartbroken.

leaving to stay

Madison favorites Count This Penny bade farewell to the banjo-wielding John Ray on Saturday, July 20th, 2013 at one of Jenny and Lou Sanner’s beautiful backyard concerts. Here are a few photos from the night. Click here or any image to go to the album.

every smile just like a wrecking ball

Appalachian-poppers Count This Penny has the honor of making the last album to be produced at Madison, Wisconsin’s Smart Studios. Following years of phenomenal albums from the likes of Nirvana and Death Cab for Cutie, the studio went out on a high note with Pitchman.

I’m fortunate enough to live in the same city as Count This Penny (Amanda Rigell, Allen Rigell, and John Ray), and thus have gotten to see them perform on several occasions. It’s impossible to divorce the band’s live show from their recorded material, and that’s a gift. There’s a certain intimacy about CTP; they draw you in and make you feel like you’re part of the show, yet at the same time deliver something so special that you feel like you’ve stumbled onto a private moment not meant for everyone.

Pitchman‘s title track is one of Count This Penny’s most instantly memorable songs. Murder ballad “Big Tall Pines” is the kind of song that makes you want to give up everything and start over, riding the rails and busking in one small town after the next. I’m always taken by surprise with Amanda’s delivery on the word ‘matchbox’ near the end of the tune – both rhythmically and by the edge in her voice.

Amanda also shines on “I-26 Waltz”; her overdubbed vocals have a delicate interplay that sounds like a more lived-in take on the sylph-like vocals of First Aid Kit. Husband Allen’s voice lends itself well to the melancholy, pure and authentic and providing balance to the darkness on tracks like “Mountain”. John Ray lends a voice of a different sort, letting his banjo sing on “Medicine” and album opener “Roll Up Your Sleeves”. In combining their individual talents, Count This Penny has put out an album that truly hits home.

Pitchman drops 10.02.12.
Check out Count This Penny’s website here.
Click here to download “Medicine” and “I-26 Waltz” before the album comes out.