By day, Kyle Jahnke works as a medical case manager for a non-profit agency, helping to resettle refugees from all over the world. The 2004 Lake Highlands High School graduate picks them up from the airport, gets them get an apartment, makes sure they have all their benefits in order and acculturates them into the United States.
By night, Kyle and friend Andy Baxter become the rock/folk band Penny and Sparrow (Kyle is on the left in the photo). They tour Texas writing songs and performing their music, and this month they released their debut album, Tenboom. You can listen to the entire album on Bandcamp here or iTunes here (my favorite song, Brothers, is here), and you can watch their videos on Youtube here.
Alex Page, another LHHS ’04 grad who we’ve featured here on the blog, played all strings on the album. Chris Jacobie, another LHHS grad we’ve written about, produced and performed on it too.
Kyle, who has a Masters in Public Health from UT, admits he never thought of music as a career path.
“I got started by playing drums in a couple of high school bands and at church youth group,” he told me while preparing for tonight’s gig at the Carousel Lounge in Austin. “My first band was the legendary Shibby 46 featuring [LH classmates] Blake Rodgers on bass and Matt Sears on guitar. We then got Alex Page to play violin with us and renamed ourselves Nothing Far. I think we got turned down to play [the LHHS Homecoming talent show] Varsity Revue once,” Kyle added. “No hard feelings,” he joked.
“It wasn’t really feasible to play drums in college (nowhere to store them, too loud) so I picked up a guitar. I had no guitar lessons (I had about a month of drum lessons when I was 10), but I had lots of free time.”
The album is named for Corrie ten Boom, the woman of Jewish heritage and Christian faith who risked her life hiding and housing Jews during the Holocaust. As of this writing, it’s #3 on the iTunes Singer/Songwriter chart and they list it as New and Noteworthy.