Intro to Kindie: Bill Childs (Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child)

 Bill Childs and kids

Bill Childs and kids

So a month or two ago, I was talking with a fellow kids' music person about my upcoming series on best kids music albums (here's the one on best kids music albums for new parents), and he said that he'd been thinking about a similar question, of how to introduce new listeners to kids music.  He described it as the musical equivalent of an "elevator speech" -- if you only have an hour or so, how do you grab someone who's not familiar with the genre, make them want to hear more?

I thought that was an excellent idea for a new series here, and so today I'm pleased as punch to kick off this new "Intro to Kindie" series with the person whose turn of phrase sent me down this path -- Bill Childs.

Bill wears many hats in the kids music field, but the specific hat he had on when he was thinking about introducing new audiences to kindie and kids music generally was as the long-time proprietor of Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child.  His radio show will celebrate its tenth anniversary later this summer, and part of that celebration includes a new flagship radio station, Austin's KUTX.  Starting May 9, STR will air on Sundays at 6 PM, and Bill's been thinking a lot about what will air that first episode and beyond.

While more folks will be sharing their lists as part of this series in the weeks and months to come, I'm really happy to have Bill lead this off.


When Stefan suggested that I kick off this series, I was super excited, and then I realized… oh dear, this is a tough project.  So instead of actually tackling that project, I’ve just included the songs I’ve picked for the first two weeks of Spare the Rock airing on KUTX here in Austin, which is probably just about the same thing.  

Let me start it off with some caveats:

  • This isn’t my “best of family music.”
  • The songs I picked don’t (necessarily) represent the songs I like best of those artists.
  • It’s not even necessarily a definitive introduction to our show!  You’d have to also listen to the non-kids’ songs I included for that (plus the in-studios — we had Mates of State and Carrie Rodriguez for the first two weeks).  
  • The playlist for our second week on KUTX is still in flux, so what you see below might not even represent what I claim it represents.
  • There are many — many, many — artists I could have included and felt great about including, so anyone’s absence from this shouldn’t be read as anything.  At all.  Top of my head: Okee Dokee Brothers, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, Mister G, Mista Cookie Jar, Key Wilde & Mr Clarke, Moona Luna, The Jimmies, and good lord so many more that I shouldn’t even really try, should I?  That’s a fool’s errand.
 Spare the Rock on KUTX Sundays at 6 pm

Spare the Rock on KUTX Sundays at 6 pm

My goal, and I think this tracks Stefan’s request, was to put together something that would give someone new to the modern world of music for families a sense of the breadth and depth of what is in store for them, in genres, personalities, styles, tones, and so on.  This particular list is Austin-centric, since I put it together specifically to welcome an Austin audience, but I think it works for anyone.

It’s in alphabetical order.  (What, like I’m going to try ranking them?  I’m not crazy.)

Asylum Street Spankers - Sliver

The Board of Education - The Lonely Tomato

Bunny Clogs - 3 Dogs and a Pancake

CandyBand - Down By The Bay

Jonathan Coulton - The Princess Who Saved Herself

The Deedle Deedle Dees - Henry (Hudson), How Ya Gonna Find a Way

Lucky Diaz & the Family Jam Band - Pinata Attack

Frances England - Mind of My Own

Lori Henriques - The World is a Curious Place to Live

Sara Hickman - Middle of a Little Country Road

Koo Koo Kanga Roo - Shake It Well (feat. POS)

Lead Belly - Rock Island Line

Lunch Money - Tiny Dinosaurs

Elizabeth McQueen - This Little Piggy

Milkshake - Baltimore

Elizabeth Mitchell - Lovely Day

Willie Nelson - Won’t You Ride in My Little Red Wagon

The Pop Ups - Outside Inside

Ralph’s World - The Great Outdoors

Justin Roberts - Meltdown

Secret Agent 23 Skidoo - Gotta Be Me

Shine & the Moonbeams - High Five

Sippy Cups - Springtime Fantastic

They Might Be Giants - Thinking Machine (and others)

Dan Zanes & Friends - Side by Side (feat. Father Goose)