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Artists on Trial: Victor & Penny

Artists on Trial: Victor & Penny

Victor & Penny is the charming, self-proclaimed "Antique Pop" duo of Erin McGrane and Jeff Freling. The two have spent their summer touring the country extensively, and look forward to recording another album this fall. Their unique brand of ukelele and guitar music brings a modern flair to early 20th century songs and a clever, intimate approach to original songs.

The Deli: Gun to your head, 1 sentence to describe your music. What is it?

Victor & Penny: Antique Pop is the popular music from the time when jazz was young, sassy and all the rage—the Top 40 before there was Top 40.

The Deli: Tell us about your latest release or upcoming shows. What can we expect?

V&P: We just returned from an extended summer tour that went really well. We've played over 100 shows so far this year (most of them on the road), traveled 30,000 miles and we're still going strong. We've been touring on and off since last summer and we've learned a lot about the road and ourselves—it's been a fantastic experience. But now, we're home in KC for most of the fall and winter and we're glad to be back in the thick of all the great happenings here. The news is that we're going to record our next album in October here in KC and we're writing songs that will appear on the album alongside more antique pop. The album will appeal to kids of all ages.

The Deli: What does "supporting local music" mean to you?

V&P: First and foremost: going out and seeing live music performance. There's nothing else like the thrilling give-and-take between performer and audience. Secondly, please purchase local music when it's for sale. Many independent artists (especially those on the road) live on the income from merchandise sales. People might not know that the bar doesn't always pay the bands, nor do bands always get the door money. These days, often it's the audience buying merch and tipping the band that is the payment for live music. I'm not saying that's the best system, but it's often the way it is.

The Deli: Who are your favorite "local" musicians right now?

V&P: KC is exploding with talented artists of all kinds right now—it's hard to choose. But we've been very impressed with the dedication and character of some of the young stars like Enrique Chi (Making Movies) and Hermon Mehari (Diverse).

The Deli: Who are your favorite not-so-local musicians right now?

V&P: We love to listen to other independent artists we've met on the road like Tina & Her Pony, Danielle Ate the Sandwich, Brian DeMarco and Lucas Young & The Wilderness. Besides that, the new Fiona Apple album is really interesting.

The Deli: What is your ultimate fantasy bill to play on?

V&P: It's a triple bill: Us, Radiohead and Duke Ellington.

The Deli: Would you rather spend the rest of your life on stage or in the recording studio?

V&P: We'd split that 50/50—Erin enjoys the stage most and Jeff enjoys the recording studio.

The Deli: A music-themed Mount Rushmore. What four faces are you putting up there and why?

V&P: Erin: Aretha Franklin, Julie Andrews, Ella Fitzgerald and Joy Williams. Why: These are women singers I admire (all for different reasons).

Jeff: Django Reinhardt, Johnny Marr, Les Paul, Marc Ribot. Why: These guitarists influenced me the most

The Deli: All right, give us the rundown. Where all on this big crazy web can you be found?

V&P: http://victorandpenny.com

The Deli: Always go out on a high note. Any last words of wisdom for The Deli audience?

V&P: We're glad to be back—we've missed everyone!  Come out, come out and play...

You can hear the delightful sounds of Victor & Penny this Saturday, September 15. They'll be at La Esquina for the Manifest Destiny Art Installation at 2:00 pm, then at Davey's Uptown with Howard Iceberg & The Titanics and Miss Tess and the Talkbacks at 9:00 pm.  

--Michelle Bacon

Michelle is editor-in-chief of The Deli - Kansas City. She also has a weekly column with The Kansas City Star and reviews music for Ink. She plays with Deco AutoDrew Black and Dirty Electric, and Dolls on Fire. She is lactose intolerant but really enjoys cheese.

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