Band of the Week, 3 Penny Acre

The band took home the coveted Band of the Year award and Album of the Year award for their self-titled debut release. The group is set to release a second album later this month. The Free Weekly caught up with them for a quick interview to find out more.

3 Penny Acre

The Band:

Bayard Blain (guitar, mandolin, bouzouki, and vocals). Bayard is a luthier. He builds guitars, mandolins and bouzoukis for a living. Check out

Bernice Hembree (Upright bass, piano, vocals). Bernice owns Terra Tots, a local cloth diaper and natural parenting store in the Mill District in Fayetteville.

Bryan Hembree (Guitar, brush bucket, vocals). Bryan works for the University of Arkansas.

First show: October 2007. When Karon Reese and Steve Striffler needed a band to play at their wedding, we put something together the week of the event. We had a great time together, liked what we heard that night and just kept playing.

Type of music: A mix of Americana, folk, bluegrass and roots music. We like to say it is “Original Ozarkansas Music.”

Originals or covers: We write 95 percent of what we play. Usually, the covers we do are by songwriter friends that you may not have heard of before. We love exposing their music to new audiences.

Sounds like: Three people making honest, original music. Jonathan Byrd called us, “a vocal freight train.”

Songwriter’s muse: Bryan — Walt Whitman; Bayard — tonewoods; Bernice — Broadway

Influences: We have too many to list. We love the community of acoustic musicians here in Northwest Arkansas. We have a great thing going here in Fayetteville.


2008 — Walnut Valley NewFolk Song Winners

2009 — NAMA Best New Band; Featured on “Front Row” that aired on AETN (PBS) TV

2010 — NAMA Band of the Year, Album of the Year

What kind of crowd do you draw?: We draw a listening audience of all ages. Folks love to come and pay attention. Our audience enjoys themselves, but you won’t see any bar fights break out during our shows.

When and where do you practice?: We practice once a week at Bryan and Bernice’s house.

Albums: “3 Penny Acre” released in 2009. “Highway 71” is set for release June 20

Total number of tattoos and piercings: Bernice has a bass clef on her wrist and various other tattoos. Bayard mostly has woodworking scars that could count as tattoos and piercings. Bryan is still holding out for either the “Neverending Story” medallion or “Karate Kid” Miyagi dojo logo.

Back stage ritual: Vocalizing

Road trip ritual: We pop cloves of garlic — keeps everyone healthy on the road.

Funniest or strangest thing that ever happened during a performance: We played a festival at a clothing optional resort in West Virginia. Enough said.

Plans: We have been playing 70 to 80 shows a year. We want to continue at this pace. We love touring around, playing new places and meeting new people. We will tour the next 18th months in support of our new album. We have a third album of British Isles and Irish tunes in the works that we will release after that period.

Goals: To keep making music and spreading it around the country. And, we’d like for Toyota Prius to sponsor us with a fleet of touring hybrid vehicles!

New projects: We are hosting a one-day festival in August called the Fayetteville Roots Festival. We will be announcing more details at our CD Release Party on June 20 at Greenhouse Grille. We are bringing in some great emerging artists from across the country.

Upcoming shows and tours: Our CD Release Party is going to be June 20 at Greenhouse Grille. They are opening up just for us. It will be a ticketed event. $10 in advance at or $12 at the door. The show is limited to 200 tickets. Greenhouse will not be serving dinner but will have the bar open and a light menu from the bar. It should be a fun time. We also have a ton of dates out of state in the coming months, including an east coast tour in August.

Dream act to open for: We would love to put together a show with Tim O’Brien.

Last CD purchased: Bryan — Corin Raymond’s most recent release “There Will Always Be a Small Time;” Bernice — David Rawlings Machine “A Friend of A Friend;” Bayard — Jonathan Byrd “The Law & the Lonesome.”

Most played song/s on your iPod: Bryan — Joe Crookston “Good Luck John;” Bernice — Hayes Carll, The Avett Brothers, The Hereafter; Bayard only listens to music on the dusty CD player in his shop.

Websites: or

Categories: Music