Nanaimo musician Jamie Penner is releasing his debut album, ‘Out of Curiosity,’ on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy Mike Bonkowski)

Nanaimo musician plays all instruments on DIY debut album

Jamie Penner releasing guitar-centric instrumental record ‘Out of Curiosity’

Six months ago, as people were starting to self-isolate and “there was nothing else to do,” Jamie Penner challenged himself to write and record his first album. Next week that album comes out.

On Oct. 1 the Nanaimo-based musician releases Out of Curiosity, a CD featuring seven guitar-focused instrumentals. Penner plays all instruments – guitar, bass, drums and keyboards – and he recorded the compositions in his home.

“If you’d asked me a year ago if I was ever going to do a record, it wasn’t even on the radar,” he said.

Penner doesn’t read or write music and had to teach himself how to do the recording and producing. But what he lacked in experience he made up for with motivation. He said “one of my obsessions is to do things really too big.”

“A couple of years ago we decided to do some Christmas concerts and I put a band together with some guys I knew from town here and it turned into this ridiculously epic show. We did four nights of 12 Christmas carols in a full rock concert with lights and everything. So that’s just typically my thing,” he said. “This is what this turned into.”

Penner also had some guidance from his friend Al Harlow, longtime bassist and guitarist for ’70s Vancouver rock band Prism. He said he hung out in the studio for a day when they were recording their last album and “got a feel for how it happens.”

“I had a bit of mentorship from [Harlow] through the process and even at the end of it, when he offered to have a listen to the songs and give me a critique, I got an unbelievable review of all the songs,” he said.

Penner said the songs got easier to record as he started to figure everything out. But once the music was finished there was still work to do. He still had to design an album cover, acquire the licences for the cover songs and register to get his songs on iTunes.

“It became very consuming,” he said. “When I wasn’t doing my real-life job, this was basically what I was doing constantly.”

Penner describes Out of Curiosity as an “against-all-odds recording,” but once he challenged himself to make the record he knew he wouldn’t settle with “a couple of songs to listen to.”

“Now this thing’s got the full cover, I set up a publishing company … for all the royalty stuff, it’s going to be distributed digitally when it gets released Oct. 1, I got some CDs done up, we’re doing a pre-sale,” he said. “It’s just one of those things where if I’m going to do it, I’m going to make it look as big as possible.”

Out of Curiosity is available here.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo man killed in Highway 4 crash

RCMP say dirt bike turned ‘suddenly’ into traffic

Nanaimo RCMP arrest man with axe in downtown park. (File photo)
Man seen with axe at Nanaimo park, numerous RCMP officers respond

Incident happened Friday evening at Maffeo Sutton Park

Nanaimo Track and Field club member Olivia Lundman set a Canadian record in the U18 3,000-metre race walk event at meet in Kamloops this past weekend. (Photo submitted)
Nanaimo Track and Field Club race walker sets national record at her first meet of the season

Olivia Lundman breaks 30-year-old mark in U18 3,000-metre race walk

BC Liberal candidate Duck Paterson on the campaign trail. (Submitted photo)
BC Liberal candidate Duck Paterson clarifies position on climate change

Paterson calls human activity a ‘contributing’ factor and says climate change must be addressed

Bouquet to the person who sent the beef about the rude couple at the fast food restaurant. I want to say a huge thank you for standing up for that poor person who had to endure their bullying. That couple would be my father and his girlfriend. It’s about time someone told them off.
Beefs & Bouquets, Oct. 21

To submit a beef or a bouquet to the Nanaimo News Bulletin, e-mail

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Candidates in the Nanaimo riding include Kathleen Jones, B.C. Liberal Party, top left; Sheila Malcolmson, NDP; Lia Versaevel, Green Party. (Photos submitted/News Bulletin photo/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Parksville-Qualicum riding include Rob Lyon, B.C. Green Party, top left; Don Purdey, Conservatives; John St. John, independent; Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Liberals; and Adam Walker, B.C. NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Parksville-Qualicum candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Candidates in the Nanaimo-North Cowichan riding include Chris Istace, B.C. Green Party, top left; Duck Paterson, B.C. Liberals; and Doug Routley, NDP. (Photos submitted/Elections B.C. image)
B.C. VOTES 2020: Nanaimo-North Cowichan candidates

Provincial election candidates discuss their priorities in their own words

Rotary Centennial Garden at Maffeo Sutton Park. (Sean Fenzl photo)
New Rotary garden officially open at Nanaimo’s Maffeo Sutton Park

Rotary Centennial Garden design inspired by the shoreline

Members of the Sipekne’katik First Nation load lobster traps on the wharf in Saulnierville, N.S., after launching its own self-regulated fishery on Thursday, Sept. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Vancouver Island First Nations back Nova Scotia’s Indigenous lobster fishermen

Nuu-chah-nulth Tribal Council calls for action before lives are lost

Most Read