The lineup for the 2011 edition of the Austin City Limits Festival (September 16-18, ugh, the humidity!) was announced this morning and, yeah, that top of the bill is pretty darn good. Stevie Wonder! Arcade Fire! Alison Krauss! Kanye West! My Morning Jacket! I've run out of exclamation points! (OK, now I have.) Still, scroll down a bit and you'll find the lineup for the Austin Kiddie Limits stage, not in a particularly friendly way, but the brainy among us can figure it out. As with the Kidzapalooza lineup, you can split the AKL lineup into 2 basic divisions. The first are the folks you'd most typically find here at this site... Sara Hickman Heidi Swedberg Mariana Iranzi Brady Rymer Recess Monkey That's a good lineup (heck, I've put on shows featuring three of 'em), and I think they're all a good fit for the AKL stage. Beyond that we have The Paul Green School of Rock, Q Brothers, Peter DiStefano & Tor, the Barton Hills Choir, and Quinn Sullivan, all making return appearances to the AKL stage. (Sullivan's performance may very well be the most crowded the stage gets all weekend.) So, in other words, while first-timers may find these performances worth sticking around for (and I think even I could be tempted to see the Barton Hills Choir), should we make the trip down to Austin again, I think it'll be an opportunity to broaden some of the kids' musical horizons... time to camp out in the gospel tent or catch Abigail Washburn.
Oh, how we do enjoy our Biscuit Brothers here at Zooglobble HQ. The DVDs are great, the CDs are around the house -- really, we love 'em. But there are times when not living in Austin, the Brothers' home base, really puts a crimp in our Biscuit-lovin' lifestyle. For example, we'd probably be thinking about attending the Austin Family Music Festival this Saturday, featuring not only shows from the Brothers (and presumably Buttermilk, though I'm not sure about Tiny Scarecrow) but also sets from the incredibly cool Sara Hickman and the incredibly cool-sounding Invisible Czars. (Not to mention a lot of other musicians and farm animals. Can't go wrong with farm animals.) And on top of that, long-awaited Season 5 of the Brothers' TV show (sadly unaired here in Arizona, despite my pleas to our local PBS affiliate) debuts that very morning. Here's a clip from the season opener featuring Austin artist ZEALE RapZ. At 3 minutes long it doesn't give a good sense of the general goofiness a full episode provides, but, hey, it's all I'll get of Season 5 'til the DVD comes out, oh, 3 years from now.
OK, not really. But you know how I told you about Sara Hickman's long list of 2010 activities? And how Sara Hickman's been making music with Jason Molin? Well, they'be been cranking out more demos. Yeah, the awesome "Bananas" is still there, along with some other demos, including "Family Time Rocks." What's that all about? Well, it has something to do with Family Time Rocks, Hickman's and Molin's attempt to use her status as Texas State Musician to get families to get more creative. (That website just has a splash page that doesn't do anything, but does have a Nov. 7 date. Hmmmm....) Anyway, all that would be reason enough to post something and to be excited, but here's where I blow your minds, folks. Guess who's joining Family Time Rocks?
Does your state have an official state musician? Well, as a person who's been living in and traveling to/from Texas for about a quarter century now, I can assure you that Texas cares about its music. And for 2010 the Official Texas State Musician is none other than Sara Hickman. Considering that their 2009 Official Texas State Musician is Willie Nelson, Hickman's in fine company. She's also in other fine company. In this week's newletter she announced that she was going spend year focusing on families...
Sara has decided to utilize the opportunity to bring attention to arts/music in the schools, in families. Her mantra is FAMILY TIME ROCKS! and she hopes to raise awareness of how school funding is being cut for the arts, and to sell cds to generate income for BIG THOUGHT (Dallas, TX) and Theatre Action Project (T.A.P./Austin), two groups that bring poetry, theatre, creative expression to kids in Texas that, otherwise, would not be exposed to creative thought... Her feeling is that families who create and play together, stay together.And to that end she's collaborating with a whole lot of folks. Of greatest interest to fans of Sara's family music (namely, me), she will be: -- Working with Jason Molin on Family Time Rocks!", which will "incorporate music, ideas, conversation to stimulate/motivate/create family creativity time!" (Exclamation point in the original, though, hey, I'm OK with it.) -- Producing a CD for Monica Cravotta and friends "musician moms sharing songs for wee ones! Whee!" (again, exclamation points and "Whee" in the original, though I'm partial to "Whee!" myself.) -- Working on a DVD of animated shorts of her children's songs. The second and third items are exciting enough. The first? Really exciting. One, because Molin has a little experience with writing kid-friendly music (The Jellydots covered Molin's "Lake Rules" on their Hey You Kids! disk). Two, because if this song from Hickman's and Molin's "Newspaper and Trumpet" compilation is any indication of what the rest of the disk will entail (at least musically), it will be way fun.
The lineup for the 2009 Austin City Limits Festival (Oct. 2-4) has been announced, including the Austin Kiddie Limits stage... Ralph's World Milkshake Q Brothers Telephone Company Lunch Money ... are definitely there. It's unclear whether Quinn Sullivan, Palm School Elementary, and Loose Cannons are playing the AKL stage or one of the other stages. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo is also listed (at his site) as performing at AKL, so I'm kinda thinking there are a couple more acts to be added. Top of the bill is a little OK, not great (Pearl Jam, Dave Mathews, Beastie Boys); it's the undercard, as always, that's where it's at (Levon Helm, Sonic Youth, Lily Allen, Blitzen Trapper, etc.) And for those of you looking for (potential) kids stage cameos, look no further than Medeski Martin & Wood, Terri Hendrix, and Andrew Bird...
I've been waiting a long time to review this album, longer than I should. I'd been waiting for Austin, Texas artist Laura Freeman to release the follow-up to her 2005 album Color Wheel Cartwheel, thinking I'd include that album in a review of the new album. Well, forget the new album (which will come out someday, just not today), because Color Wheel Cartwheel is pretty special; to wait any longer would just be wrong. The album is, as you'd expect from its title, a concept album, dealing with colors. Down through the rainbow the songs move, from "Red" to "Orange," on through "Yellow," "Green," "Blue," and "Indigo and Violet." ("Purple" is thrown in there for good measure.) It'd be pretty easy to make color songs just by listing things that are of that particular color, but the what makes this album so much better are the differing stylistic approaches for each song. "Red" is loud and brassy, "Orange" is sassy ("You take a little yellow / you take a little red / Mix 'em up together and voila! / Orange, oh orange / Orange makes me wanna cha-cha-cha"). "Yellow" is a mellow, bluesy little tune, while "Green" is set to classic country music. Certainly listing different items of particular colors help drive home the point for each song, but Freeman is also using the colors for jumping off into other stories (a philosophical discussion on blue jeans in "Indigo and Violet," for example). The differing approaches, the use of color to, well, color the songs, they give all the songs life. Interspersed between the songs are friends and musicians reciting the colors of the rainbow in various languages. I don't think there's any thought that kids will actually learn colors in a foreign language, they just subtly drive home the point about colors being all around us in the world. Freeman went to New Orleans to record the album, and she's pulled in contributions from a whole bunch of musicians. Kids ages 2 through 7 will most derive educational value from the songs. You can hear samples of the songs at the under-30-minute album's CDBaby page. I mentioned to Laura Freeman recently that Color Wheel Carthweel was a fun little album and she replied, "Well, we had a lot of fun making it." That fun is evident on this excellent little disk. I hesitate to call it an "educational" album, because every album is educational, but also because it unfairly narrows down the prospective audience. This is one of the rare "educational" CDs your family will listen to long after they've mastered the concepts inside. Definitely recommended.