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Leaving Los Angeles: How a Move to the Midwest Paid Off for the Well Pennies

Monday, October 08, 2018

Bryan and Sarah Vanderpool make soft-spoken, big-hearted folk full of lush vocal harmonies and intricate string passages. It’s a sound that translates well to television: their band, the Well Pennies, have had songs featured in The Fosters and Switched at Birth. But in their Des Moines, Iowa, neighborhood, surrounded by neighbors that include a police officer, teacher, and medical professionals, the fact they make music at all is a curiosity. The married couple is part of a growing enclave of creatives in Des Moines that includes visual artists, musicians, and — as Bryan emphatically adds — a coffee shop that that bests industry tastemaker Intelligentsia.

“Keep calling it a flyover state,” he jokes of the often-overlooked location. “We don’t want any more people. They’re flooding in!”

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