From the press release by Bill Ellis, ethnomusicologist at St. Michael’s College and former music journalist for the Commercial Appeal in Memphis, TN and the Japan Times in Tokyo: 

“Follow” is the first single from Hallowell, whose debut self-titled album, Hallowell, is set for a spring 2019 digital and vinyl release on Great Comfort Records. A wistful, lush ballad, “Follow” features harmony vocals by Elin Smith of Danielson and suggests an imagined collaboration between Sparklehorse and Charlotte Gainsbourg. It’s a song, says Memphis, TN-born Pensak, inspired as much by his love of Tropicália – which grew as he worked among the Brazilian community in Cambridge, MA while a seminary student – as by the Quebecois-influenced culture of his current home, Burlington, Vermont. “I wanted to write a sort of modern hymn reflecting both my place and the music I’ve been soaked in for the past twenty five years,” says Pensak. “It’s Björk and Lambchop and The Sea and Cake as much as it’s Caetano Veloso and Gal Costa; I’ve listened to it all so much, it’s in my bloodstream.” Lyrically, “Follow” is cast in the poetic style of William Carlos Williams and ee Cummings. The song’s central image, “minnows in tide pools,” explores something at once beautiful and precarious. Pensak elaborates: “‘Oh, this is everything!’ the minnows think - and yet they are trapped, right beside the vastness of the ocean. And in the song, grace is the ocean coming to them, freeing them. We often don’t think of faith that way, as finally opening up the world, freeing you from a small and safe existence. There’s a loss of control that ironically leads to true freedom, and a vast and scary expanse of love that came and got you.”


day comes
without knocking
ever true sun
finds us
in tide pools

Day comes
Ever knocking
Ever true Son
Finds us
In tide pools

Free lead sheet with tabs:


released November 17, 2017
“Follow (feat. Elin Smith)” 
Words: Joseph Pensak; Music: Joseph Pensak, 2017
Vocal: Joseph Pensak
Vocal: Elin Smith (Danielson) 
Acoustic Guitar: Joseph Pensak
Electric Guitars: Louie Kiley (Bleach Day) 
Keyboards: Vinny Marksohn (Bleach Day) 
All other instruments: Christopher Hawthorn
Found Sounds: Joseph Pensak
Produced and Mixed by Christopher Hawthorn at The Studio at 150

Cover photo by Navah Stein in Italy

Copyright © 2017 Joseph Pensak/admin. New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP