Ahhhh... nothing like a little Elizabeth Mitchell track to take the edge off a cool, crisp fall morning. (What's that? I live in the Arizona desert and "cool, crisp" means about 75 degrees? Shhhh!) The track is called "Rollin' Baby," and it's a cover of a track from Mitchell's sister-in-law Anna Padgett, who records as The Good Ms. Padgett. "Rollin' Baby" will remind you a little bit of "Who's My Pretty Baby?," very simple and sweet. Even better, it's free for the price of an e-mail (use the widget below). Padgett, incidentally, has a new album, The Good Ms. Padgett Sings The Little Red Hen and Other Stories, this fall. Her first album had a vibe similar to that of her sister-in-law's, and I'm guessing her second will as well...(Photo credit: Laura Levine)
Y'know, Elizabeth Mitchell's version of "Ong Tal Sam," or "Little Spring" was always one of my favorite cuts off Sunny Day, and this video just makes me love it even more. Oh, the cuteness. (Yes, I am secure in my masculinity and still feel confident in proclaiming, "Oh, the cuteness" on the interwebs.) Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower - "Ong Tal Sam (Little Spring)" [Vimeo]
Elizabeth Mitchell. Mates of State. In concert, together. Bill Childs has posted a few songs they performed together in concert this weekend on his YouTube channel, but this is the one that made me smile the most -- I love the energy in this one, the excellent tambourine-ing from MOS' Kori and Jason's eldest daughter, and the patty-cake at the end of the song by Mitchell and Storey. (Not to mention the Bow Wow Wow mashup, which I've actually heard before.) Elizabeth Mitchell with Mates of State - "Bo Diddley" [YouTube]
If Kindiefest's Saturday night showcase was about introducing new(-ish) names (and one longtime favorite) to a new crowd, the Sunday afternoon public concert was more about a lineup guaranteed to draw in, you know, the public. There was indeed a nice crowd, both of conference attendees as well as local families. (It's not a coincidence that the conference is held in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Park Slope, famous (and perhaps occasionally reviled) for the sheer number of families who live around there. And unlike the showcase, with its brief 20-minute sets that may subconciously lead artists to forgo contemplation for excitement, the public concert, with 30-minute sets, and a more passive audience, allows for more variation in styles. For example, the concert kicked off with a set from Oran Etkin, who tells stories (either more traditional stories or about the instruments themselves) via jazz. He was very engaging with his young audience. Most of his songs are originals, but here he is with a take on a piece Dizzy Gillespie made famous... Oran Etkin - "Salt Peanuts" [YouTube] Next up was the delightful Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band. The Brooklyn iteration of the band included Phillippa Thompson (who sometimes plays with Elizabeth Mitchell) and multi-instrumentalist Dean Jones. The set was similar to the one she played here in Phoenix in January, but the more enclosed nature of the performance here led to something occasionally hushed. I spoke with Elizabeth Mitchell a little bit later and she, too, enjoyed it... Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump Band - "When You Get Old" [YouTube] And that was just two down...
I suppose the fact that it's taken me more than six months to post an interview with Elizabeth Mitchell is an indication of just how much is going on in the family music world. Luckily, like Mitchell's music, most of the information herein is timeless. I conducted this interview backstage at the 2010 ACL Festival, where Mitchell performed with her band (including her husband, Daniel Littleton, and daughter Storey). Backstage, where we were both waiting for Frances England to perform, and over the happy music-making noises of kids at the drum circle, Mitchell and I chatted about early musical memories (think classic rock, not nursery rhymes), the jadedness of adult rock show audiences, and how she chooses which songs to sing. Also, she gives us a sneak peek into a couple of her forthcoming albums. Zooglobble: What are your earliest musical memories? Elizabeth Mitchell: I guess singing to myself a lot. To myself, by myself, along with the clock radio, or not. Did you make up songs? I think I did, I think I was just always singing. We listened to a lot of music in my home -- there wasn't a lot of playing music. I studied piano, but nobody really played. It was the '70s, so my mom loved Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, Carole King. And then there were also great singers like Ella Fitzgerald -- that's my mom's favorite singer, so we listened to her a lot. And my parents both also loved classic Broadway musicals such as My Fair Lady and West Side Story, so we listened to that. And I would sing along with all of it. Even A Chorus Line, which has some very questionable lyrics in those songs, and I would sing along having no idea what I was singing along with. Also, the Allman Brothers' "Ramblin' Man." I loved that song. It was one of my favorite songs as kid. I had no idea what a "ramblin' man" was, though when I think about it, looking back, I can remember the first time I was in a motel room, by a highway, and I heard the sounds of cars and trucks going by at night. So I think there was something about "Ramblin' Man" that was resonating with me even though I had no idea what the song was about. It's a great melodic line, though. It's great. It's a great song. I love the Allman Brothers. We actually did a recording of the Allman Brothers song "Blue Sky" recently. I'm a sucker for '70s classic rock, I love classic rock.
This video for "Sunny Day," off Elizabeth Mitchell's fine 2010 album of the same name was released late last night, but now that the sun has indeed come up (and the flowers are growing), I can say this is still a cute, handcrafted video. Features Mitchell's daughter Storey in the video, on vocals, on harmonica, on songwriting, and caterer. (OK, maybe not caterer.) Elizabeth Mitchell - "Sunny Day" [YouTube]