Americana Highways is hosting this video premiere of Heather Maloney‘s song “One Hundred Pennies,” from her forthcoming album Live at The Academy to be released on June 3 via Signature Sounds. The album was produced by Ryan Hommel, recorded and mastered by Jared Libby at That Sounds Groovy, and mixed by Andrew Oedel at Ghost Hit Recording Studio.
“One Hundred Pennies” is Heather Maloney on acoustic guitar, electric tenor guitar, and lead vocals; Ryan Hommel on string arrangements, guitar, and backing vocals;
Reed Sutherland on backing vocals and upright bass; Cynthia Tolson on string arrangements and violin; Celaya Kirchner on violin; Kasey Calebaugh on viola; Emma Hays Johnson on cello.
The video was produced with video and audio by Joel Moss and with special thanks to Caffe Lena. This a video of the live performance of the song. Heather Maloney’s vocals pull you directly into the heart of it, a child counting on her mother to make everything okay, even when the struggle shows through, with one hundred pennies in a ziploc bag. And then it evolves into the beautiful song of a survivor.
I wrote “One Hundred Pennies” a few years back when a long-forgotten childhood memory surfaced out of nowhere. I was 7 years old, my parents had just split and I’d moved into a one bedroom apartment in New Jersey with my mom. My new bedroom was her walk-in closet, and my new school was twice the size of my old one.
We were suddenly very poor, and one of the ways we pinched pennies was pretty literal: once a week we’d budget my school lunch by dumping out a big jar of loose change and counting out 5 sandwich bags of 100 pennies. I was so ashamed to carry around a bag of pennies in my new school, so I hid them from my classmates in the lunch line. No one noticed for the first few months, but one day the lunch lady stopped the line to give me a lecture about how much time she spent counting her drawer because of me, and how I should join the school program for kids who couldn’t afford lunch. I cried and ran out of the lunch room. The next day I was told that I’d eat lunch in the school counselor’s office for the rest of the year.
It’s a painful memory for sure, but the song that came out of it isn’t just about shame and struggle. It’s also about a little girl bravely orienting herself in a scary new environment, a family discovering resiliency through struggle, a single mother working miracles, and most of all, what it feels like to dig up an old source of shame and watch it transform into a source of pride. – Heather Maloney
Find her tour dates here: https://www.heathermaloney.com/tour
Get ahold of the music here: https://heathermaloneymusic.bandcamp.com/album/no-shortcuts-live-at-the-academy
Also enjoy our earlier interview of Heather Maloney here: Interview: Heather Maloney and Her Visual Revision