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Penny to Shimmy 1982 to 2022

Have you ever zoned out a bit while driving? You have those moments where you let your thoughts wonder while your muscle memory keeps your hands on the wheel and a good distance from the cars near you. During one of these type of drives in 1982 to Gatlinburg from Nashville this song came to my mind line by line like the white stripes along the road.



Penny. Shimmy.

Nickel. Tickle.

Dime. Time.

Dollar. Wollar.


The lyrics, feeling almost like a songwriter exercise, came to me easily word by word during the drive. I memorized the lines I had in my head and then finished the lyrics and created the instrumental for the full song later. Over the next 5 years I didn’t record the song officially, but by 1988, I finally had the team I needed to create the track.


The next step after recording the song was to pair it with a visual. My dad had recently moved his production studio, JM Associates, back to Little Rock, so we had use of the production equipment for our own projects at times. My brother Matt was mentioning something about doing mime work and we collectively came up with the idea that he use that skill for a video for “Penny to Shimmy”. For the video you see his talent as he shows each coin and mimes his best moves.


Fast forward to 2022 where the fly away trio, the members of Soul Stingers who are willing to fly and gig, are doing a set at the historical landmark the Ojai Valley Women’s Club. That day, with Gary Wicks on upright bass and Bill Flores on dobro and mandolin, we played two songs with one being “Penny to Shimmy”. Our group was able to as a trio perform the song and capture the lighthearted sound.



Willy Nelson, if you’re seeing this, really wish youd record this!


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