Behnkes bound for the sky
Matt and Jenny Behnke have half-painted walls.
That sounds like a line in a country song, but it’s reality for the McMinnville couple who recently rearranged their lives to get serious about a career in the music business.
And as with other things the two have put their minds to, the pieces seem to be falling into place.
“It’s always been about timing and commitment,” Matt said.
In 2011, the Behnkes released their debut album, “Making Ready,” the same week their son Max was born. The indie-country effort was well received, and the couple earned a supportive fan base locally. They said the encouragement they received from the musicians who played with them was huge.
“When you make the music, it’s hard to believe in it sometimes,” Matt said.
“It took awhile for us to have the belief, ‘there’s a spot for us in music,’” Jenny added.
With the little one in their life, they took a hiatus from performing. But last summer, it was evident the drive to play music had not faded, and the two took steps to give themselves a shot at a music career.
First, they downsized, selling their house and buying a new one to cut their mortgage in half. Both love to remodel — Matt is a professional carpenter and woodworker — but they realized their new project house was a distraction, so they stopped working on it.
“We literally have half-painted walls in our house,” Matt said.
Then Jenny gave up her full-time job in October. They changed the name of their act from The Behnkes to Sky Bound Blue, and set up their marketing packaging over the winter.
They didn’t have to wait long to see results. Thanks in part to connections with McMinnville-based social media group Heels in the Rain, the Behnkes have their first record deal with New Jersey-based independent label Smoke Tree Records.
“We feel lucky we finally have a team,” Matt said. “It feels like it’s the right time.”
With the future somewhat unknown, Matt and Jenny are carrying their hopes and fears with them on the path toward tours, recording sessions and collaborations. One thing is sure: There’s no turning back now.
“The level of work coming our way is something to talk about,” Matt said.
Sky Bound Blue will hold a signing party at 9 p.m. tonight at The Old Oak, and will perform at McMenamins Hotel Oregon Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Paragon Room.
For more information and to hear the band’s debut album, visit thebehnkes.com.
Ossie Bladine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.