Nicholas Penn A guide to the songs and Words

Hollingshead House Show: Featuring Seth Murphy on Cello

Kissing Canopy

An unfinished song about how to nurture one another to grow up strong in our power, to stand in our own, and to nourish our own sense of happiness. Like trees, can we grow side by side, but not lean on each other unnecessarily. Let's not drag each other down into darkness, but grow towards the light and reach out to each other just enough that our Canopies are Kissing. Conceptualized and begun at Age 21.

Funnel Clouds

This song is about a dream that I had before I turned 21. In my dream it was my 21st birthday and the world was ending, the sky was ripping apart, and tornadoes were rushing towards me. I believe it was a premonition of what was coming for me. This is a song about addiction. I like to open my shows with this song as a reminder that I am able to stand here and sing for you because I was able to come through this. Addiction nearly destroyed my gift. Thank you for allowing me to share my gift with you.

Love and Affliction

A love song for myself. The idea that I am going to be with myself the rest of my life, so I might as well get to know and learn to love myself. Written age 23.


A love song I co-wrote with my drummer at the time. It was for his girlfriend (at the time). Only song I've ever written for someone else's lover :). Written at Age 20.

Jumbo Love

A love song about treating a woman right!!! Named after a rock climbing site called Jumbo Love. I wrote this during a phase where I was listening to a lot of reggae. Written at age 21.


This is my most recent accomplishment. It was written after a an artist retreat with Kentucky Natural Lands Trust to visit Pine Mountain in Eastern Kentucky. The song compares strip mining and rape culture. This story came out of my struggle as a man to give recognition to the fact that "you can't just take whatever you want", whether that be from the environment or from a woman. This song is a good glimpse into the direction I am headed as a songwriter as I seek to write more about social issues in a fresh and inspiring way. Written age 26.

I'm Still Awake

This song is about idealistic young love, but also about being committed to facing your fears and the uncertainty of the future. The central concept is that the world is chaotic and messy and wants to drag us down, but that we have the power to resist and make our lives beautiful and meaningful. Often times we aren't motivated to face our fears when we are alone, but we wait until we are in love and have someone else to fight for. Written age 22.

You Saw the Light

When we are in love we are put into an interesting position where we both have to see someone for all the good that they bring, but also see them for their weakness, darkness, and chaos. This song is about acknowledging a persons messiness, but not letting it obscure the light that it trying to shine through them. It was written during a break up at the end of my college career. Age 21.


This song was inspired in fragments by several different wonderful women, and over the years has evolved into a work about the beauty and inspiration of the feminine spirit. Shakti is sanskrit word for the female principle of divine energy. Written age 21.

Cigarettes for the Homeless

This song is on the upcoming record. This song is dedicated to my mom who has dedicated her life to working with fringe populations that slip through the cracks, particularly the homeless, immigrants, and elderly.

Written Age 20.

For Everest

This song is about my struggle to with the idea of God. The name For Everest, or Forever Rest (Heaven), is a play on words. The image in my mind was the face of God turned up towards the sky so that the nose was the highest point and looked like a mountain. The highest point on earth, Everest. What is life? What is all this for? Maybe its For Everest. Written age 20.

Born to Buy

On the upcoming release. This song is about my struggle with living in a consumer driven society. Written age 21.


This is one of the few songs I've ever written in 30 minutes. I sat down and said, "I'm going to write a break up song in the key of A that sounds kind of like Amos Lee". While you are listening to the instrumental, imagine that sound that cassette tapes make when you rewind them. In the recording that I haven't done yet I am going to use instruments to create that effect. Written age 23.


Breakup song. Play on Words. Written age 22 while in Guatemala.


This is a song about people who spend their life being mean to everyone. It's a warning to them that they will lead a lonely life and die a lonely death. Written for my freshman year room mate. ha! Age 20.

Sensimilla Makes Sense to Me

This is a story about my only run in with the law. Anyone else think that it shouldn't be a crime? Written age 22

Created By
Nicholas Penn


Created with images by Bachy - "spring oak canopy" • Ⅿeagan - "Springtime in Oklahoma" • geralt - "self love man mirror" • Jackie.lck - "Lovers." • tpsdave - "zion park utah mountains" • - "Black Mountain in Wise County, VA" • webandi - "coffee cup coffee cup" • shaytrjmn - "candles fire light" • stux - "moon cypress mountains" • Unsplash - "american flag hanging barn" • SamHawleywood - "Everest From Kalapathar" • frankieleon - "cassette" • Dimplemonkey - "I named him Clyde. Still had another 2000 ft. left to go into the woods. He "flew" the rest of the way there thanks to me. #turtle #shell #grass #green #picoftheday" • Martin Hesketh - "Death" • CinCool - "Men in Uniform! Geneseo Police"

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