Tag Archives: Dan Zanes

How do they do it?

Yellow-shirt-kurt

For many of us that play in the kindie realm  we are all aware of the Justin Roberts, Laurie Berkners, Dan Zanes and The Okee Dokees of our genre. But how many are aware of the Kurt Gallaghers, Laura Dohertys and Jim Cosgroves?  LauraDohertyThese three fine individuals have been at this music thing for a very looooonnng time and making a living at it. If you’re going to KindieComm and a would be pursuer of music in this kindie/childrens/family/all ages realm and looking to make a living at it. I suggest you find one of these fine folks during the conference, buy them a beverage of their choice, sit down, ask some pertinent questions and hear what they have to say. That’s the best part of these festivals. The panels are informative but the conversations had with other artists and fellow kindieteers are PRICELESS.  Buy em a beverage and tell em John sent ya!

Cover of American Profile. Diane Guthrie photo.

Cover of American Profile. Diane Guthrie photo.

Dan Zanes is here THIS SATURDAY!!!

dan zanesIn a town (Chicago) filled with great kids music we are truly blessed with the variety and quality of the acts that play in the neighborhood.  Laura Doherty, Little Miss Ann, Istvan and his Imaginary Band, Human Tim+Robot Tim, Miss Jaime, Mister Singer, Jeanie B! and national acts  Ralph’s World and Justin Roberts (two time Grammy nominee).  So the fact that my family and I are excited to see Dan Zanes and friends this Saturday is a bit of a big deal.  He is  referred to as the founder of the modern Kindie (kids independent) movement and one of the first to play great all ages  shows.  He is also an artist that inspired me to get into the kindie movement when I heard my band mate (pre-Poochamungas) Pete play Wagon Wheel.  A song I profiled on the blog earlier this year in my Song and the Process  series (see article here).  I’ve seen Dan play solo and with Elizabeth Mitchell but never with the full band so this is a treat. We’ve probably listened to the Catch That Train CD a thousand times. Watched the Jump Up video just as much.  My daughter is a big fan and I’m sure my son is about to become one as well.  The thinCatch-That-Train-300x300g about Dan’s music is it’s all rooted in Americana. Whether rock, traditional, folk it’s always got terrific roots. Dan’s secret is simple. Play great music that everyone can enjoy.   So head to the Harris Theater this Saturday, November 15th at 2pm. It’s gonna be a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Now go out and support an Independent artist today!

The Song and the Process. Grandma Said by Story Laurie

Story LaurieThe journey in which Story Laurie (2013 Best Children’s Performer, Hudson Valley Magazine) became Story Laurie is a tale unto itself. There shall be a slight reveal here because of it’s connection to one of my favorite songs Grandma Said but it is definitely a yarn spinner for another time… What caught me about this song was the deep rich vocals of Lauri McIntosh and the depth and simplicity of the uke led three piece band (ukulele, bass, drums) backing her up. The song itself is a sweet conversation between the Grandma and a child who is asking many questions and grandma doesn’t have the answers but really admires the questions.  The lyrics came from “Grandma” Avis who was a legendary storyteller in Woodstock, NY.  Avis was a mentor, friend and family to Laurie (and many others) who helped guide her in her storytelling craft and endeavors. After Avis passed away too soon from cancer.  While Laurie was dealing with her grief she took the funeral bookmark which instead of a proverb or scripture passage had a poem written by GrandmaCD-Story-Laurie Avis called… Grandma Said.  She then put those words to music and added just a chorus keeping the poem almost entirely intact.  The song is simple, sweet and sentimental without the sapp (I’m not even gonna mention it was recorded with Dean Jones.) Anyone who ever listened to a child ask questions knows the feeling.  This is a departure from her usual songwriting technique.  Usually Laurie goes for walks (another theme here visit Dan Zanes article), finds a melody and the comes home to record it on whatever is available.  iPods, answering machines, tape recorders,  etc.  I asked why she didn’t use her phone and she says it’s a simple machine lacking such features. She just recently put out a new song and  has a bunch more to record.  That is when she’s not homeschooling the kids, storytelling, gardening, teaching song workshops, singing about organic foods and of course being Story Laurie.  One of her recent teaching collaborations turned into the song Who Grew My Soup which is worth a listen as well.  So give Laurie’s webpage a look and while you’re there buy the CD. Go support your local kindie artist today!

Next week and tomorrow is the Big Day

Next week here at A Man, A Band and A Plan I will have a couple of bonified super duper interviews.  First I have a talk with Drew Holloway of Recess Monkey discussing the musical growth of the Recess Monkey who play some pretty darn cool music.  Then it’s a  return to the Song and the Process and an interview with Dan Zanes and one of my all time favorite songs Wonder Wheel!  Stop on by next week it’s gonna be a lot of fun.

tim stolie

Human Tim and Super Stolie!

Tomorrow the Poochamungas take the stage at Lincoln Hall.  many of Chicago’s finest kindie rockers will be there playing a couple of songs and acting all kinds of silly.  The rehearsal on Thursday went well and was really a lot of fun.  Getting to hang out and play music is the whole idea anyway.  There was food, beverages and a whole lot of good music. The show looks to be a great time so go and get your tickets today! Remember it’s SATURDAY, MARCH 8 AT 3PM.

 

2013 Remem-blurred!

The backyard view.

The backyard view.

New Zealand started out the year as my friend Nick invited us (the wife and I) to his wedding in January (amazing). Seems it’s been full-speed-ahead-try-to-catch-up-break-neck-pace-all-year-long. The year I went to the Grammys.  Many thanks to Jeff Bogle for making it an epic adventure there as well. What a great time thanks to the McHattons (TESLA!)

It's Electric!!!

It’s Electric!!!

, Okee Dokee Brothers, Mindy Thomas, David Tobocman, Debbie Block, Bill Harley and everyone else I got to hang with including new kindie blogger Rebecca Yorn Allison (Kids Can Grove)  Then there was a the last kindiefest ever! Didn’t know it at the time but many thanks to Bill, Stephanie, Mona and Tor for making it happen.  What a great time and I really did learn a thing or two from the panels but so much more from the people!

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Story Laurie, Dean Jones (thanks for the beer), MCJ (always brings it funky), The McHatton clan (Such a great family), Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis. Rod Martin , Chris Wiser, Paul Butler, Dave Loftin, Paul Stark, Steve Songs, Laurie Berkner, Dan Zanes, Ralph, Jeff Bogle (again), Stefan Shepard, Rebecca Yorn Allison, Brady Rymer, Bridgette Rymer, Melissa Levis, Jacob Stein, Charlie Hope, Little Miss Ann, Mr Singer and the Sharp Cookies (good luck on the new school), Jack Forman, Drew Holloway, Korum Bischoff (Great addition to the School Break Primates) David Wax Museum (one of my favorite CD’s I heard this year!), Molly Ledford (I promise to be quiet next time), Morgan Taylor, Jason Rabinowitz, Joanie Leeds, Mr Kurt Gallagher (Peace and Quiet is a great song!), Lucky Diaz, Alisha Gaddis, Johnny Bregar (Polly’s Rain Dance is Awesome), Sean Hogan (Welcome to Fatherhood brother!), Kathy O’Connel (the Grand Dame of kindie), Danny Adamson, Tom Baisden (union brothers unite!), Tim Kubart (Congrats Chica Dude!), Beth Blenz-Clucas, Tito Uquillas and whoever I’m forgetting.  Just send me a note and I’ll add you to the list. Then we had a few gigs, finished our second CD, got some national exposure (thanks Elizabeth), played some more, kids kept growing, my daughter soloed in ice skating, my son jammed with me daily, listened to a lot of great music and wrote about a bunch of it. Went to CHITAG (thanks Rock Father). Frances england blink of an eyeWe also had family bouts of pnemonia, respitory ailments, colds and flus  and car crashes (no one injured).  My daughter just turned nine and my son will in a few months turn 4.  I joined a group of Dad Bloggers on Facebook (some seriously funny stuff).  Reconnected with some Pine Forest Camp folks from my youth.  Lost some weight and managed to keep it off.  On the right track closing out the year.  It was a interesting year to be sure and the growth has been good.  Thanks to all who have read the pages here and to those who inspire me to write and get better at it.  Hope everyone learned from 2013 and I wish them and theirs a Happy 2014.

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Local Kindie Shows

Art by Joe Somers

Art by Joe Somers

The Poochamungas have a big CD release show at Schubas September 29th at 2pm with Koo Koo Kangaroo.  It’s going to be a great time.  This got me to thinking about other great shows taking place in the Chicago area.  So I thought I’d list a few.

Ella Jenkins – Sunday, September 15th at the Old Town School of Folk Music  http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2013/09-15-2013-ella-jenkins-11am/

Laura Doherty – Saturday, September 21 at 27 Live in Evanston.  http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/365473/tfly

Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell – Saturday, September 28th at the Old Town School of Folk Music.  http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2013/09-28-2013-dan-zanes-and-elizabeth-mitchell-11am/

Little Miss Ann Trio at St. John Berchman Fall Festival – September 28 in Chicago.   https://www.facebook.com/events/417309165039674/

Mr Singer at the Lincoln Park Zoo every Wednesday and Friday. http://www.lpzoo.org/events

Kindiefest no more…

Kindie so long old friendThe long road I mentioned yesterday (link here) just got a little longer and harder.  I flipped on the laptop this morning to find that kindiefest was over. It has disbanded for reasons unknown and I for one am a bit saddened by this.  It was my hope that eventually we could have a similar event in the Midwest, preferably Chicago though anywhere  in the Midwest would be fine (hello Jiggle Jam!)  Everyone in the kids music world knows the Justin Roberts, Laurie Berkners and Dan Zanes. You also get to meet the Jim Cosgrove’s, Kurt Gallagher’s and Laura Doherty’s.  Regional musicians who were plugging away, making a living but all looking for new ideas and sharing their own experiences and you got to meet the ones struggling just like you were.   That was the best part for me.  Showcase was always a lot of fun, (for the record I did buy the Pizza in 2011 not wanting to have to leave showcase)  there were some really worthwhile panels (find your own Mississippi-thanks Molly Ledford!) and the  Friday Keynote/meet and greet was always a highlight.  I got to meet so many unpretentious great musicians and industry folk like Kurt Gallagher, Sean Hogan, Kathy O’Connel, Jeff Bogle, Dean Jones, Dave Loftin, Paul Butler, Danny Adamson, Joanie Leeds and her future drummer husband (his name is Dan), Jim Cosgrove, Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis, Jack Forman, Justin Roberts, Beth Blenz-Clucas, Bridget Rymer, Story Laurie, Stefan Shepard, Bill Childs, Tor, Stephanie Mayers,  Mona Kayan, Mista Cookie Jar,  Justin Lansing, Joe Mailander, Johnny Bregar, Key Wilde, Chris Wiser, Rod Martin, The Pop-Ups, Laura Doherty, Little Miss Ann, Tim Kubart  and the others I have forgotten.  I say thank you all for your insight, kindness, advice and laughs.  Especially the laughs!   I don’t know about you folks but I’m not ready for this party to end.  Kindie Chicago 2014? It might happen…