Interview: Father Goose (aka Rankin' Don aka Wayne Rhoden)

fathergoose2elgort.jpgAsk anyone who attends a Dan Zanes concert and they'll tell you that the most energetic point in the show is the entrance of longtime Zanes collaborator Father Goose. When he strides onstage, Father Goose (known to others as Rankin' Don or even Wayne Rhoden) works to bring the whole crowd to their feet.

Now, with the recent release of his first album for Zanes' Festival Five Records, It's A Bam Bam Diddly!, one of 2007's best kids and family music albums as judged by this year's Fids & Kamily Poll Father Goose has started to carve out a name as a family music ringleader in his own right.

Father Goose recently answered a few questions about his musical upbringing and approach on his latest CD. Read on for what music he listened to growing up ("The Gambler?"), how he put together his latest album, and what exactly he does while waiting to go on stage at a Dan Zanes show.

Oh, and read on for a free download from the latest CD, courtesy of Festival Five Records. (It's for a limited time, so grab it while you can.)

Thanks to Father Goose for taking the time to answer the questions...

Photo courtesy Arthur Elgort


Zooglobble: What music do you remember listening to or singing growing up?
Father Goose: Growing up in Jamaica, which is known as the birthplace of reggae music, you would be surprised of the many other genres of music that are played on the island. I sang along to our superstars Bob Marley, Toots & The Maytals, Lee "Scratch" Perry and out of the USA I listened to Tom Jones, Kenny Rogers, James Brown and numerous others, even some from Europe.

Who (artists, parents, etc.) were your biggest musical influences?
My parents were great in that they did not set any limits as to the type of music I would listen to. That in itself was a blessing because without them my musical voyage would not have begun.

When did you decide you wanted to become a performer?

The need to do something music related started at an early age. I began playing instruments at five and by my early teens I was performing for friends and family.

How did you pick what songs you wanted to record for this CD?
The songs on the CD showcased my life’s journey from Jamaica to the United States. The folk tunes, nursery rhymes, r&b sound and reggae were music I loved as a child so when it came to selecting the songs for the CD I went with what I know.

How did you pick the artists who appear with you on the record?
When I started singing and performing in the U.S., Coolie Ranx and Screechy Dan were also performers and we all became good friends. When the time arrived for me to record this CD I knew I wanted to record with friends, Sister Carol because her lyrics are awesome and others that I have admired. I love Sheryl Crow’s music; she and Dan Zanes have collaborated in the past so I was honored when she agreed to sing on “Flying Machine.”

The CD sounds a little bit like a Dan Zanes CD in that the guest artists sometimes have the lead role while you (or Dan) are in the background -- more of a ringmaster than a leader. Was that by design?
I believe this CD differs somewhat from a Dan Zanes CD in that the main objective for the guests on the CD, metaphorically speaking, was that they were the ingredients and I came along as the seasoning that added flavor to the music.

What else did you learn these past few years from working with Dan?
Traveling with Dan these past few years around the globe has shown or highlighted the fact that the world truly wants and needs family music.

I'm just curious -- your appearance at a Dan Zanes concert is usually near the end of the show -- what do you do while waiting to go on stage?
Basically, I meditate and get in the zone prior to going onstage and the only way to achieve this is by separating oneself from the sounds, commotions and sometimes confusions that come with the production of a concert event.

What do you hope listeners (kids or adults) get out of the CD?
For them to take a look into my world and realize that my musical, spiritual and physical journey is never ending, there’s always a party going on… “it’s a bam, bam diddly!”

What's next for you?
Discovering the many other components to “Father Goose”; evaluate several new projects which have come my way that I have to take into consideration, and sooner rather than later put pen to paper on the tunes that are already hammering in my head for the next CD.


Thanks to Father Goose and Festival Five for offering this limited-time free download to you, Zooglobble readers --the laid-back yet infectious "Chi Chi Buddo" Thanks, y'all!

Father Goose - "Chi Chi Buddo" (Time expired)