Frequently Asked Questions, or, What Is This Place?

Hey! I decided that after 4 1/2 years I should update this thing.

To describe this as "Frequently Asked Questions" would be less than the truth -- few of these questions have been asked, let alone frequently.

They are, however, all questions, and 1 out of 3 is pretty good (if, you're, uh, a hitter in baseball).

Who are you?
I'm Stefan Shepherd, married father of two kids, ages (as of May 2011) 9 and 5. I live in Phoenix, Arizona. I currently have about $4 in overdue library fines. (Yes, I updated my outstanding balance for my library fines.)

Who died and made you the Greil Marcus of kids and family music? What qualifications do you have?
Kinda confrontational, aren't you? Well, I have a few fancy letters after my name, but none of them have anything to do with music or kids and families, let alone music for kids and families. But I'm 1) a parent, 2) a big music fan, and 3) able to put together a complete sentence, sometimes even stringing a few sentences together into a paragraph.

Oh, and I'm willing to listen to all this music, separate the wheat from the chaff, and write about it. You're free to start your own website (or comment here) should you disagree with me. Aaaaand, I've been doing this for close to 7 years now. So stop hassling me.

So how much kids' music do you listen to in, say, a year?
I'd guess that over the past year I've listened to at least 300 different CDs. I have no way of proving this, but I'd be surprised if there were a dozen people in America that have listened to as many different kids and family CDs as I have in the past year.

My [however-many-years]-year-old child listens to all the same music I do, and they love it. Shouldn't you be playing your favorite music for your kids instead of listening to this pap?
I think you should be playing music that you really enjoy with your kids. Having said that, what's wrong with also playing music that might be targeted specifically at your child's age, either musically or lyrically? To make a literature analogy -- even if you read John Updike to your kids (which I think you'll agree is probably not the wisest of parental choices), don't you think they might appreciate a nice Mo Willems or "Junie B. Jones" book sometimes, too? And besides, there's lots of fabulous music that's being made in this genre right now -- it'd be a shame if you missed it just because you chose to ignore it.

You aging indie hipsters are all alike -- trying to impose your musical tastes on your kids. Why???
You're, uh, like the exact opposite of the questioner above. (You've also never met me, because those who have would never characterize me as an "aging hipster," O Vague Questioner I've Totally Made Up For the Purpose Of This Post.) I've been a parent long enough to know that imposing cultural taste on kids is a fool's errand. All you can do is expose your kids to music you love and music of all different genres reflecting all sorts of experiences. And if, in the end, they decide to listen to [insert the name of the band you spent many a college night at the bars mocking then singing along to, karaoke-style], that's OK, too.

Who else thinks you know what you're talking about?
NPR's All Things Considered, for whom I review kids music occasionally
EMP Pop Conference
Wall Street Journal (twice)
Kindiefest (multiple appearances)
Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live
Arizona Republic, Phoenix New Times (twice), Raising Arizona Kids
Other assorted papers and website (see here for a semi-complete listing)
My mom

Also, I'm the founder of the Fids and Kamily Awards, which I'm pretty proud of.

I like the cut of your jib, sir, and would be interested in having you write something for my fabulous website/newspaper/inflight magazine. Are you interested in such an opportunity?

I've written for Wired , Real Simple,, and done freelance work for the iTunes store. I wrote for the Phoenix New Times. Brief reviews and blurbs of mine appear at the excellent DC-area venue Jammin' Java. I wrote liner notes for Sarah Lee Guthrie's Smithsonian Folkways album Go Waggaloo.

So, yeah, I've written stuff for others in the past and would be interested in doing so again. Maybe. E-mail me (zooglobble AT earthlink DOT net) and we can talk...

How about booking shows? Do you do that? Because I really need you to book a show for me.

I've booked shows on my own (e.g., this one), as well as a secular series for my church. I currently book a series at the Children's Museum of Phoenix. Other venues may come online at some point.

So, yeah, I'm always interested in helping to spread great live music to new places. If you're looking for someone to put together a kids music series or festival stage (or you're an artist looking to play a show), e-mail me (zooglobble AT earthlink DOT net) and we can talk.

I have the world's most awesome CD for kids and families, and I'm desperate to have you hear it and review it. How can I go about doing so?
Find out more about submitting albums for review here.

Do you know where I can buy the Hoodwinked soundtrack for something short of a developing nation's GDP?
I used to (, but sadly even that supply has dried up. I only wish I knew why the soundtrack went out of print. You are now forced to try eBay or other sites, for which you'll probably have to pay $50 or more... (This actually was one of the few questions on here that I was asked, frequently. The soundtrack is now freely available -- and the movie 5+ years old -- so I never get that question anymore. I keep it here to remind me of those heady days.)

The name "Zooglobble." What's up with that?
Google "Nobody Understands Me" and "Sandra Boynton." That'll get you most of the way there.