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? These 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.
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged all ages, children, Children's, conference, Dan Zanes, family, Jim Cosgrove, Justin Roberts, kindie, Kurt Gallagher, Laura Doherty, Laurie Berkner, lids, Mr. Kurt, music, The Okee Dokee Brothers
That is how my weekend is looking. First Up is Keb Mo and I shall be the show runner which is a fancy word for gofer for the band. Most importantly this allows me to see the show backstage and if you haven’s seen him perform he’s pretty darn good. His new album is well worth a listen. A couple tickets are still available at the North Shore Center for Performing Arts Skokie website.
Then Sunday Morning I shall be headed to see the superstar kindie singer Laurie Berkner with my son at the Park West. This will be the first concert I go to with just him. Up to now my daughter has been my partner in crime but it’s time to give the lad his due. We’re looking to have a lot of fun as Laurie is one of the best for the younger set.
It should come as no surprise I’d find my way round’ to interviewing Brady Rymer. I have championed his Love Me For Who I Am CD on this blog a few times and even named an award after him for the Best Kids CD not nominated for a Grammy (First annual “Rymer” this year awarded to Frances England.) But I digress… Upon listening this seems a pretty direct song. Picky Eater is really a universal song about those who choose not to eat many of life’s great foods and how when on a plate they “should not mingle”. It’s got a bit of a funky reggae rhythm and it’s quite infectious in its joy of not eating certain delectable dishes. Unless it comes to dessert which has no sort of restrictions. Just like my own children. They might not like dinner but they always have room for ice cream. The great thing about this song is that it’s origin lay a bit deeper than expected. Seems Brady has been playing regular gigs at Celebrate the Children School in New Jersey which is a school for kids with autism, aspergers and other related disorders. He thought he should write songs for that audience, that they could own. But also the idea those songs also be universal. So with the help of the school (they sent a list of song titles) he came up with songs to be on the CD, Picky Eater being one of them. By intertwining his experience with his own kids (one a picky eater) , his childhood and the song title he had been sent Picky Eater was born. This isn’t his usual way of writing songs, not that he has a set songwriting style. Sometimes it starts with a hook and sometimes strumming a guitar sorting out big ideas while humming. He had never before started with a title and worked from there. When these titles arrived he grabbed his guitar and excitedly got to working. It was a nice change of pace and with Picky Eater he developed an over abundance of material. Once he gets to writing he usually gets on a roll. In this case he ends up having to shorten the song. Now that he has these songs he heads over to Budd Lake, New Jersey where his friend, musician and teacher at Celebrate the Children School, Dan Myers, has his studio (Dirt Floor Studios). Dan also helped compile the list of song titles along with school founder Monica Osgood (they both got writing credits). The two of them (Brady and Dan) get to recording the majority of the songs with just the two of them playing all the instruments (you should be impressed). Only adding other musicians when necessary. Brady recorded his vocal track live while he played an electric guitar. He felt recording his vocals while playing helps give the songs a “live” feeling. They used a drum sampler called EZ Drummer to give them a grove and added the live percussion with Dan Sadownick later. Brady worked on a couple songs at a time for this recording, traveling from his home in Long Island, NY to Budd Lake,New Jersey. I’d say the travel was well worth it as the song turned out quite infectious. The brilliance of the song is it’s universal appeal but knowing the origin is anything but universal. Anyone who ever had a child say no at a dinner table will empathize with this song. I should mention that Brady has a brand new CD coming out this year called Just Say Hi! and can also be found playing bass with the Laurie Berkner band not to mention he has gotten back together with the band From Good Homes who play a few shows a year. Do yourself a favor and check out the Love Me for Who I Am website, listen to the songs (Picky Eater is second) and go buy the CD. It’s an amazing piece of work celebrating those who don’t always fit “the norm” but deserve to be heard and celebrated!
Posted in family, Kindie, songwriting
Tagged asbergers, autism, Brady Rymer, Celebrate the Children, children, Dirt Floor Studios, kids, kindie, Laurie Berkner, music, School
The 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…
Posted in family, Travel
Tagged Bill Childs, Dan Zanes, Dave Loftin, Dean Jones, Jeff Bogle, Joanie Leeds, Justin Roberts, Kindiefest, Kurt Gallagher, Laura Doherty, Laurie Berkner, Little Miss Ann, Mona Kayhan, Paul Butler, Sean Hogan, Stephanie Mayers, Tor