Moving Stories: Videos from the American South

Penny & Sparrow’s “Moniker”


Kyle Jahnke and Andy Baxter — the two Texans who make up the duo Penny & Sparrow — headed to Florence, Alabama, back in 2015 to record an album with John Paul White producing. The duo’s new album, “Wendigo,” was also born of the Muscle Shoals heat, and it includes a particularly spooky number called “Moniker.” This beguiling, slightly anxiety-inducing video for the song is based on a painting called “Halloween,” by the Georgia native and realist painter, Bo Bartlett. 

We asked Jahnke and Baxter about the thinking that went into the song and the video. Here's what they said:

This video was inspired by many things. From Ray Bradbury's trick-or-treating kids, Bo Bartlett's painting "Halloween," all the members of the "Loser's Club," and every snapshot we still have of dressing up when we were younger.  It's still warm in Texas and Alabama as this is being written, but at night, it's becoming jacket country. We both wake up to more and more dead leaves on the ground.  There aren't many pumpkins out yet, but there will be. It's getting dark early now & it feels like the weather wants to get in the holiday spirit.  

We took a season we love, and we tried to tell you a ghost story about growing up. It's one you already know. Once upon a time, we all got scared and learned what fear does to us. We get older, and we learn to cope with or fight off our fears. As we age, the stuff that terrifies us changes.  The nightmares we have go by countless monikers, and we have the option to let all the horrific things under the moon beat us. Or ... when the season is just right ... and the leaves are the color of blood oranges ... and the TV is overrun by slasher flicks, we could dress up with our family and friends, run around in the dark, and laugh at what's scary.  Halloween invites you to do that.

We hope you get a little spooked by our video. And we hope it makes you remember all the grand things about being a kid.

Thank you, Ray Bradbury. Thank you, Stephen King. Thank you, Bo Bartlett.

"Halloween," by Columbus, Georgia, native Bo Bartlett, was the visual inspiration for this video.