Head Above Water — the fourth full-length album from Pirate Jenny

Pirate Jenny’s fourth full-length release, Head Above Water, contains 12 new tracks written and produced by Kevin Hendrickson, Paul Iannotti, and John Morgan, as well as one cover song. Following a 20-year haitus, Head Above Water’s thematic pirate rock is a natural sequel to their 1990s releases Never Sea Land, and Once Upon A Wave, and includes a blend of rock, pop, ska, and jazz styles tied together by a loosely woven pirate theme and storyline that continues from their earlier albums.

Featuring the additional talents of bassist John Avila, drummer Thom Sullivan, and others (to be mentioned), Head Above Water was born from a recording session the day before Kevin’s 50th birthday Oingo Boingo tribute concert in Portland, October 2016. Over a two day period Kevin, Paul, Thom Sullivan, and John Avila recorded Paul’s original “Spiral” and a cover of the Hendrickson/Hoskins tune “Trick or Treasure” in the former Secret Society recording studio located below the ballroom of the same name on N.E. Russell Street in Portland. The sessions were engineered by John Askew, and co-produced by John Avila, who also played bass on both songs as well as suggesting many overdub textures and melodies.

The sessions were planned partly as a warm-up for our concert the next night, where we would perform and entire set of Boingo songs with Avila, Sullivan, and other talented friends. The concert, which was attended by about 150, was a fundraiser for Ethos.

Spiral contained a rap section featuring lyrics specifically about Kevin\’s birthday that was intended as a surprise gift from Iannotti to Hendrickson, but the record session necessitated revealing the lyrics earlier than planned. The lyrics also introduced each of the members of the Oingo Boingo tribute band that would play the following night, nicknamed “No Spill Blood.”

After the concert Paul Iannotti flew back to New York and we began to correspond about the idea of making a complete album. Head Above water was officially in progress.

Four years have passed, as well as an entire presidency and a good part of a pandemic. Final recording sessions took place in a garage with plastic separation barriers. Now, finally we’re we’re proud to offer you another glimpse into our pirate world: Head Above Water! It’s available on all streaming services, as well as a limited run of 12″ vinyl.

Head Above Water Songs in production order

Spiral and Trick or Treasure

Recorded Oct 14, 2016 in Secret Society studio, Portland Oregon with engineer John Askew, drummer Thom Sullivan, bassist and co-producer John Avila. “Spiral” was composed by Paul Iannotti in anticipation of Kevin\’s Oingo Boingo tribute band night on Oct 15, and was meant to characterize the style of OIngo Boingo as a fitting song to record with Boingo’s bassist John Avila. Trick or Treasure, a cover of a song written previously by Kevin and his songwriting partner Loren Hoskins, also fit the style of OIngo Boingo both musically and thematically, being about Halloween and having a ska rhythm with prominent xylophone / marimba percussion parts. The basic tracks for both songs were completed on Oct 14 and 15, and the song was performed by the same musicians later on the evening of Oct 15th, under the band name “No Spill Blood.” The performance took place in the same building, one flight up from the studio in the Secret Society Ballroom, and was open to the public.

Oct, 2016

Kevin invites Paul Iannotti and Oingo Boingo bassist John Avila to join him in Portland for a Boingo tribute concert and brief recording session. Paul writes “Spiral” as a birthday surprise for Kevin. Kevin, Paul, Thom Sullivan, and John Avila track Spiral and Trick or Treasure in the Secret Society recording studio with engineer John Askew.

Dec 2016

Kevin and Paul purchase matching Tascam Portastudios so they can collaborate between Portland and New York.

March 14, 2016

John Morgan and Kevin begin tracking new songs in Portland, including a concept called “Boggle Me Bones” which didn’t make it to the final album.

May 13, 2017

Paul sends demos of Pirate Imagery, Rock Doctor, Galleons of War pt. 3, Holy Skull, and Pirate Lady.

June 9, 2017

Kevin sends Paul a demo for Crowded in My Mind.

June 11, 2017

Kevin and Paul collaborate remotely on Rock Doctor. Paul sends stems of his demo, and Kevin edits drum stems, then adds guitar, accordion, and xylophone.

Oct 27, 2017

Paul sends vocal overdub stems for Rock Doctor demo and Pirate Lady version tracked by Kevin and John in Portland. The Rock Doctor demo becomes the final album track. The Pirate Lady track gets redone entirely much later.

March 2018

Lighthouse keeper’s fantasy production. John Morgan overdubs drum on Kevin’s demo in progress, which ends up transforming into the final album track.

April 2020

Paul sends Olly Oxen Free demo.

May 1, 2018

Bruce Withycombe and Willie Matheis record saxophone on Paul’s demo of Galleons of War pt. 3 in Portland.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *