Tag Archives: Trout Fishing in America

Family, KC and back in the studio

At present I have two sick children running fevers in the house after a fun-filled weekend trip with our neighbors.  While they have finally been slowed down, this weekend they totally rocked out.  Literally!  We packed up the vehicles and headed out on Thursday for the KC Jiggle Jam Festival.  We stopped halfway in Des Moines, IA for a water park visit and then proceeded the rest of the way to KC.  If you’re not aware, and many are not, this is the largest independent family music festival in the country and it celebrated its 5th birthday this year.  We of course helped blow out the candles.

Two of my favorite musicians and my daughter

Our friend Jeni Cosgrove and one of the people who has a lot to do with Jiggle Jam and it’s success.


Funky Mama rocks the crowd!

It’s only 10 bucks to get in, in advance or 15 at the gate and the bands they had are great!  Trout Fishing in America, Sugar Free Allstars, The Verve Pipe (family favorites), The Okee Dokee Brothers (great new CD), Funky Mama, our friend Jim Cosgrove (got to throw down some harp with him) and the list goes on.  There are 3 stages of music, 2 arts and crafts tents (both free) and 10$ for a jumpee pass and there were 10 of those.  Plus the hotel we stayed at was across the street with a pool and the mall is right there as well.  Oh yeah, there’s a shooting fountain to cool off right in the middle of everything (it was needed as it was 95!).  This is the most family friendly event you could ever go to and my kids had a great time.  I suggest you pay a visit next year,  Did I mention there is a Legoland and an Aquarium on the grounds as well?  Start planning now!

So this Sunday, June 3rd we are FINALLY headed back to the Kingsize studio.  I am really excited to finish up a few songs.  We have lots of vocal work to do and a few more songs to add.  Nice to be moving forward again!

The performance is the thing, bands that have it and upcoming shows.

Well it’s less than two weeks till our rare “evening gig” at the Independence Tap for FretKnot Friday.  It got me to thinking about bands that I have seen perform in the kindie world who I find truly exceptional.  There are a lot of great acts out there but then there are those who reach to the next level.  The Poochamungas are finding their stride.  We perform the music well which is about 3/4 of the battle.  As a band we hear each other, give each other space on the songs and really have come together as a group over the last three years.  However our performance part could be better.  I think it’s good but I know it can get better and it’s getting there no doubt.  Band/audience interaction is another 20% of the puzzle in my opinion.   Our sax player leading the kids train during Train Rolls On, the sax/ harmonica duels,  banter from the many band members, the animal impersonations and bad jokes.   We get on well with the audience no doubt.  But all that stuff takes practice.  It’s not enough to just play music in the family music realm.  You also have to entertain kids and parents alike if you’re looking play more than once at a location.  So here is my list of 6 bands you should see live, agreed upon by my expert panel. That’d be me and the daughter.

The Boogers – Punk rock kindie trio the best at what they do. Your kids will think so too!

The Not-It’s – Power Pop, great look and the songs  totally rock an audience.  We  Love the tutu’s and ties and so does the audience!

Brady Rymer –  Brady and a Washboard Player rocked 200 people at the James Hotel during Lollapalooza.  Everyone was up and dancing.  His last CD shoulda at least been nominated for a Grammy.

Justin Roberts – What all bands should strive for.  Great pop songs, talented band and a whole lot of fun.  Banter, puppets and dancing for the whole family.

Trout Fishing in America – Great music, no gimmicks.  How 2 guys make so much sound is amazing and their connection with the audience is amazing as well. Listen to the live “Out the Window” recording on Kids Place Live and tell me you don’t feel part of the audience.

This is just our favorite six.  Actually talking to my daughter today she also brought up the Okee Dokee Brothers.  If you like banjo driven bluegrass and great lyrics. We do!  They put on a really good show as a duo or with their full band.  Also you can never go wrong with The Verve Pipe.  The only reason they’re not on the list is I’m still bitter over watching them sing 6 part harmony.  That’s just wrong.  Go see them as they are really good as well.  So that’s our top 8.  I’d better stop now or I’ll never finish.

So the Poochamungas are playing an evening show this coming Friday, April 13th at Fretknot Friday.  It’s held every 2nd Friday at the Independence Tap here in Chicago.  A combination of open mic and bands and started by an  Old Town School of Folk Music members it’s really a lot of fun.  I have attended a few times and because Don our Bass Player is a regular (he was a founding father) and he wanted to bring the band and the band said yes.  So we’ll be playing sometime after 1opm.  Come on by and I’ll buy you a beer and hear some songs we never do.  It’ll be a good time!

Kiddie vs. Kindie – NOT THE SAME.

Today I read two articles (thanks Zooglobble) about kids music or  referred to as “kiddie” music and let me tell you at first I got really angry!  One was by an artist who made a “kids”  CD but is not a kid artist and the other was a music reviewer on Deadspin.  

Laura Veirs is a respected artist who makes good music and I got to say I really like what I have heard.  She delves into an old folk music children’s CD (Tumble Bee) and does it well.  But in her own words she says she made a “kids album” and is not a kids artist.  She is playing kids show at Old Town School of Folk Music in support of the new CD, a detour as she calls it… But I digress.  She said the “bar is kind of low ” in children’s music and…  I would have to AGREE.   IF  you had only listened to what the mainstream offers (Wiggles, Dora, Barney, and Kidz Bop, etc). The offerings are really pretty lame. Which is what the article in Deadspin by Dadspin writer Drew Magary states quite graphically (he minces no words so be warned).  This is why the whole “kindie” movement was born!  But how many people subscribe and listen to Kids Place Live on Sirius/XM (home of the kindie movement) or follow shows like Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl,  Imagination Parade,  Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child and others which usually play once weekly.  Kindie radio is only a tiny segment of the entire broadcast world.  Most kids music people hear these days is on the TV and most of it is pretty lame.  Now they (Laura and Drew) might of meant all kids music but I find that hard to believe (I may be wrong).  Because the bar set by bands like Recess Monkey, Justin Roberts, Grenadilla, Brady Rymer, They Might be Giants, The Not-Its, The Boogers and Trout Fishing in America, etc, is pretty darn high. Because the quality of their music is really, really good.   I know cause I am trying to reach the bar right now as I make another CD.    So while I fervently disagree with a blanket statement over kids music being “lame” or “the bar is kinda low” that’s the perception we as “kindie” artists  try to change every day.  Whenever we play a show,  a DJ spins one of our tunes on the radio or someone listens on iTunes. That excellence in music is excellence in music whether your playing for kids, punks or folkies.  Or as my friend Jim Cosgrove put it… ” I love the Beatles and when my daughter plays I Saw Her Standing There over and over, it gets annoying. But, so what. If it touches her soul and keeps her dancing and singing, who cares what I think. It’s not about me. The Barney theme song may drive you or me to shove pencils into our ears, but if it brings joy to a child, that makes it worthwhile music.”  Which I agree with except for Barney.   Really Cosgrove?  You had to go with Barney? 

A bounty of Family Music

If you follow the kindie world as I do and your not in a band, a parental music blog/critic or a talent agent/booker I would worry about you a little.  But being in Chicago we are really blessed with an active kids music scene. Justin Roberts and Ralph Covert are from here and play regularly.  We have Mr. Singer, ScribbleMonster, Little Miss Ann, Human Tim/Robot Tim, Laura Doherty, Jeanie B and many others including my own Poochamungas.  Any weekend of the year there is quaility family music playing at a festival,  club or library somwhere near you.  But in the next couple months we not only have the local scene we will have Dan Zanes, Bill Harley, Jim Cosgrove and Trout Fishing in America.  I reccomend you see as many of these performers as possible because they really do represent the finest in family entertainment. From Jim’s high energy positive message “free range family rock” as he calls it to Bills truly amazing story telling (Walk Around the Block is a family fav),  Trout Fishings great musicianship (I still can’t believe two guys can make that much music) and Dan Zanes who’s just plays the music he loves for the people who enjoy it.   Each one of their shows are interactive fun and they have been doing it a long time. They are all masters of the craft and make it look so easy (it’s not) and have so much fun.  Each act has their special way of performing  and have performed all over the country.   Most of all they don’t visit the Chicago area very often.  So go see these performers as they stop for a show.  See dates and places and times below and click on them to link to where they are playing.

Dan Zanes at the Old Town School of Folk Music Oct 15 (Chicago)

Jim Cosgrove at the Blues Bar Oct 22 (Mt. Prospect)

Bill Harley at the Stage Left Cafe at the Woodstock Opera House Nov 12 (Woodstock)

Trout Fishing in America at the Od Town School December 4 (Chicago)