Thursday, May 31, 2007

First Library Program!

I performed at the library in Wilburton, OK today. It was my first summer reading program of the year! We had a fairly small group, but an enthusiastic one. I was grateful to the parents for their participation along with the kids! I had everyone standing up to become a wind farm - it was pretty cool.

Evalyn and Lisa weren't with me today because of Evalyn's dance recital dress rehearsal but they will be joining me in my itinerary next week. Being in the car together should give us plenty of time to finish Harry Potter books numbers five and six together in preparation for the release of the final book in July! (After seven hours on the road there and back today, I made the comment that my job isn't singing, it's driving! Whew!)

My lineup today was: "Howdy Song," "Oklahoma Land Rush, 1889," "My Oklahoma Home (It Blowed Away)," "Boom Town," "The Wind Energy Song," "Oklahoma Heroes at the Library," "Silly Song," and "Oklahoma Kids: A Kaleidoscope." That list will probably vary some over the summer depending on my audience, but it's pretty close to what you can expect if you come to one of my programs. Of course when Evalyn is with me we'll also do "Oklahoma Annie!"

Are you an XMKids fan? I spoke to Absolutely Mindy on the phone today. XMKids has my new CD, and they are planning on playing "Can You Guess" during their ShortWaves programming. Please call in and request it! I'm also hoping they'll play "Get a Clue" but they haven't added that one to the play list yet. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Review Get a Clue on CDBaby!

My new CD, Get a Clue, is now available on CDBaby!

If you have already received your copy, and are enjoying it, please help me out - drop by CDBaby and write a review. You will earn my eternal gratefulness! Not only that, I'll send you an extra copy free to share with a friend! This offer expires in one week (6/6/07), so hurry!

To write a review go here: Get a Clue on CDBaby, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click "write a review".


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Calm Before the Storm

I can't believe my first summer show is nearly here! I'll perform at the Wilburton library 1:00 on Thursday - day after tomorrow!! Unfortunately Evalyn and Lisa will not be able to come with. Evalyn's dance recital dress rehearsal is that afternoon.

I've been practicing my songs every day, trying to get them memorized. The older I get the harder that is. I performed a bunch of these songs this Spring in the schools, but I'm still having trouble keeping them memorized! Too many songs in my head I guess. This is reminding me of Paul McCartney's new CD title - Memory Almost Full - great title! I hope it's a great CD because I just ordered it.

I've also been trying to get various things done in preparation for the big summer tour. One thing I did today was order a new banner. For years I've been performing with "Wacky Witty Way-Out Songs" on my banner. My program this summer is "Oklahoma CenTUNEial Celebration" so I figured a new banner was in store. The graphic I'm posting is a mock-up. The real thing will look way way cooler. Well, probably not, but it looks pretty cool, don't you think? Post a comment!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Answering Service

Not a lot happening around here today (Memorial Day). We had some friends over and went out to lunch.

This morning somebody called, and we, thinking it was our friends, who were on the way but late, let Evalyn answer the phone. After saying, "Hello? Hello? No. No." She hung up.

We asked her who it was and she shrugged and said, "It must've been a wrong number. They said is this Reading dot com?"

So it was probably somebody calling about their CD order placed through my website!

I guess that's what we get for not having a separate business line. Anyhow, if that was you by any chance, sorry about that. Call us back please!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ear Cramp

I'm home alone today. Lisa and Ev are visiting the Western Museum in Oklahoma City with some friends.

And yet I am not exactly alone. I have stayed behind to attend a Children's Music Network board meeting by telephone. This is the lunch break, but I'll basically be on the phone for hours and hours today and tomorrow hashing out the secret inner workings of CMN with my co-conspiraters. Hence the title, Ear Cramp.

Just one of the many things I do to make the world safe for children's music!!

To find out more about the Children's Music Network, including the upcoming twentieth anniversary national conference in Albany, NY in September, check out our website:

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Holy Petrolium, Batman!

Wow! I filled Ruby Sue (our Subaru) at the gas pump the other day and just about choked at the total. I'll be driving nearly every day this summer to get to all of my gigs. I built the cost of travel into my fees, but not at these prices! It's going to hit my family pretty hard. And when I think that oil companies are still posting record-breaking profits - it doesn't seem right.

So when I received the invitation to blog about this from, I figured why not? I signed their petition to Congress to do something about price gouging by the oil companies. You can too - just click here.

I'll be doing a lot to prepare for summer shows over the next few days. My first one is a week from tomorrow! Check out my schedule to find out if I'll be playing in your town. Hopefully I'll see you at the library this summer!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My!

Today was Evalyn's kindergarten field trip to the Oklahoma City Zoo! Lisa and I volunteered to go help corral the kids. Amazingly, there were enough parents there for each to be in charge of just one or two kids. Our little group had three adults and three children.

Evalyn's favorite part was watching the bats in the new Oklahoma Trails exhibit. Mine and Lisa's was watching a grizzly bear swimming around in the water, playing with a tree branch. We also saw the herpetorium (snake house), some big cats, elephants, gorillas, and the girls stopped to play with... rolypolys! Never mind that we have them all over our driveway at home.

Evalyn and I have a little tradition of singing the kookaburra song to the kookaburra whenever we come to its cage. You know, the one that goes "Kookaburra sits in the old gum tree / Merry merry king of the bush is he / Laugh kookaburra, laugh kookaburra / Save some gum for me!" Today we sang it together as a round - it sounded really great!

Nothing else to report music-wise today. If you pre-ordered the Get a Clue CD, you should be receiving it soon if you haven't already! Let me know what you think!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Thanks, Kids!!

Most Thursdays this school year I've been visiting classrooms at Richmond Elementary, where Evalyn attends Kindergarten, with my guitar and binder in hand.

My purpose has been to try out new songs in front of actual kids, and get their feedback. (I've been doing this as part of my writing process for many years.) The songs on my new "Get a Clue" CD were each improved by the reactions and suggestions I collected from Richmond students this year. So thanks, everyone for your help, if you're reading this!!

This morning I visited all of the nine classrooms I worked with and delivered a shiny new copy of "Get a Clue" to each. (And when I say shiny I mean SHIIINEEEEY! - the cardboard sleeves have a brilliant protective coating that makes them invincible, and unfriendly to signing pens!)

It was fun to see everybody one last time and hopefully at this moment the kids are listening, enjoying, and picking out which bits I put in or changed based on their feedback!

Friday, May 18, 2007

CDs Are Here!

The Get a Clue CDs arrived today! They look great, they sound great, and I'm happy!

I spent much of the day processing and mailing out pre-orders, with Lisa and Evalyn's help. I arrived at the post office at 4:45 with a huge bag full of packages. They just love me there, I know it.

Make the postal workers smile, and order your copy today at!

Now until June 1st, I'm offering an introductory price of only $10, plus additional copies at $5 each, and each order comes with a free children's music compilation CD. It's a deal you can't refuse! Tell all your friends!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

New Poster!

My cool new posters for the "Oklahoma CenTUNEial Celebration" arrived and above is what they look like. Photo by Tony Thompson, layout by Paul Fleming. Lisa has already stuffed a bunch of envelopes for me to mail to the libraries where I'll be performing.

The new CDs should arrive tomorrow! Yeah!

Today I visited Evalyn's classroom to sing for them one last time. I took all their requests and we had way more songs on the list than we had time for, but we had fun with the ones we could get to. I tested out a new version of "Silly Song" incorporating Oklahoma animals for this summer's Oklahoma programs, and that went fantastic! (We'll be seeing all those animals at the zoo next week on the class field trip!) And Evalyn got up to sing "Oklahoma Annie" with me. That's the song we wrote together on the new CD, and it was the first chance we'd had to sing it for her classmates. It's a charmer!

I've got to go practice some songs. What do you think of the poster? Post a comment!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

First Tooth!

This has been an eventful day for Evalyn! She graduated from Kindergarten, and she lost her first tooth! She's never been so excited about anything! She's in bed right now with the tooth under her pillow, trying not to go to sleep. And she's listening to my "Loose Tooth" song.

To celebrate the occassion, I'm gonna share that song with you. That's right, I'm giving it to you as a free download! Just click the link above, where it says "First Tooth!" You'll land on a page with a link to the song. (I didn't want to link directly - that would cause the song to automatically download for anyone subscribed to the podcast, and this is special for you, my faifthful (or brand new) reader!)

Enjoy the song, and please let me know what you think - post a comment!

P.S. If you're reading this in the somewhat distant future and the link no longer works, you'll have to forgive me. I have probably come across the file in my directory, wondered what it was doing there, and thoughtlessly removed it. That's OK, though because by now the song is probably a big international hit and you're sick of hearing it anyway! ;-)

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Michael Orwick

I thought I would share the cover art for my new CD with you since I haven't posted it here yet. The drawing was done by Michael Orwick. He has perfectly captured the essence of my "Get a Clue" song, showing the objects of the boy's investigations gathering behind him as he reads.

I found Michael online when I was searching for an illustration to use in the Paws Claws Scales and Tales CD booklet for the song "I Took My Dragon For a Walk." His painting, "Clean Up After Your Pet" just happened to fit perfectly. It shows a kid at the park with a huge dragon on a leash. The kid is holding a sandbox shovel, and seems to be "sizing up" his chances of escaping the pooper scooper fine, prominently posted on a sign in front of him.

All of Michael's illustrations show great imagination and humor. Each one seems to tell its own story. My favorites include a penguin getting ready to test out a pair of mechanical wings, gossiping giraffes, and a bear dancing with moths in the moonlight. You can check them all out online at

Sunday, May 13, 2007


I hope you had a happy Mother's Day!

We started the day with a special breakfast, after which Evalyn and I took turns telling Lisa what we appreciate about her. We ended the day all lying in bed reading Harry Potter.

One of Evalyn's gifts for her mom was an original song which she wrote and recorded herself. It began as a picture of a bird she created with her fingerprint art kit. She wrote a poem on the page as well, called "Bluebird" and she began singing it. I noticed that she was using the same melody every time, so I asked if she wanted to record it.

We had a clandestine recording session last night while Lisa was shopping at Lowe's. Evalyn wanted to get out every instrument in my collection, but we finally settled on some jingle bells and an egg shaker. She sang her vocal, added the percussion, then wanted me to add guitar.

I had trouble matching a guitar part to her vocal. It's tough to get a six year old to see the value of planning a session and rehearsing - Just hit record, Dad! So we kept it fun, and we burned a CD for Momma to hear this morning. Of course she loved it.

Now I, being the perfectionist I am, and hearing much potential in Evalyn's melody, tried to create a cleaner version of the song with some editing, pitch correction, and added drum loops. Lisa and I both rather like the "dance mix" version. But Evalyn is unhappy with it because I edited out a couple of her words. I may put them back in and try to create a track we both are happy with, but for now, Evalyn has banned the "dance mix" from public listening. I guess it goes to show how important ownership is to a child in her own creative work.

You can hear Evalyn's version of the song, and view the artwork, at Lisa's Kids Music Planet Podcast Myspace page - yes proud Mamma posted it there already!

Friday, May 11, 2007

Get a Clue

My new CD will arrive sometime next week. You can pre-order copies now at! If you order by June 1, you get an introductory price, an option to buy additional copies at half price, AND a free bonus CD. Check it out.

So what is the new CD all about? Well, it's a long story...

"Get a Clue" is the Collaborative Summer Library Program theme this year, so many states will be doing mysteries. Back in September or so I began recording a set of five mystery songs.

That work got interrupted early on, though, when I decided I'd better write some songs about Oklahoma. That's because the summer theme here in Oklahoma will be the upcoming Centennial. I ended up booking some school shows in the Spring before I actually wrote the songs. That's a new one for me. No pressure.

So, after mounds of research and writing and memorizing and performing, I turned back to the recording. I really wanted to provide some mystery songs for the Get a Clue folks, plus put some of my new Oklahoma songs out there, so...

The CD ended up to be more of a double EP - five clue songs and five Oklahoma songs. The Oklahoma songs I consider a work in progress. The recordings are very simple, and there are more songs than I had time to record. Someday maybe I'll put out a full-length CD with fully produced tracks. (Anyone know of any grants for Oklahoma history curriculum?) But for now this will allow my fans to take something of the show home with them.

Anyhow, I worked hard to put as much as I could into the CD in the time I had. I'm pretty pleased with the results.

Here's a track by track tour. You might like to open a new window at and listen to samples while you read about each song...

1. If you've ever wondered what it would sound like for me to front the ScribbleMonster band - and really who hasn't? - the opening track will answer that question for you. The arrangement and instruments for "Get a Clue" were done by ScribbleMonster. Very cool!

2. Similarly, the arrangement and instruments for "Can You Guess?" were done by Mr. Billy. You can hear his kids' voices and my daughter's voice on this one as well. Both these opening tracks truly ROCK!!

3. "Hanging Out With Heroes at the Library, Detectives Version" is an old song which I gave a facelift with new drum tracks and some new verses.

4. "Junior Detectives Club" is an old song I dusted off from the last time Oklahoma had a mystery theme. The recording is simple but charming - picture a meeting of the Junior Detectives Club, opening with a theme song. The piano and voices were done by Stillwater's own Rana McCoy and her young voice students.

5. "There's Something Going On at the Library" is another old track with a face lift. I never was happy with the vocal from the original version. Now I am. The instruments are shinier, too.

6. "Boom Town" is an energetic (in more ways than one) kick-off for the Oklahoma half of the CD. This song captures the excitement of the oil boom in 1930s Oklahoma.

7. "Oklahoma Land Rush, 1889" is a fun song to do live. This is a simple vocal/guitar rendition.

8. "Oklahoma Heroes at the Library" - Yep, two versions of the same song on one CD. This is a "live" version with verses about real life Oklahoma heroes.

9. I wrote and recorded "Oklahoma Annie" with my six year old daughter, Evalyn. This was a true collaboration between the two of us, and it's one of my favorites on the CD. It tells the story of a super hero pony named Annie!

10. "Oklahoma Kids, a Kaleidoscope" is my dad's favorite track. I challenged myself to write a song with that title, since it is the theme for Oklahoma's reading program. My friend Mr. Billy calls the style "Monty Dylan."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thrivin on Feedback

Hey, remember me?

It's been months since I posted to my blog here. I'm starting a renewed effort to crank this thing up. So much has been going on the past few months I hardly know where to start. I think I'll keep it to one topic per post though. (Not counting this paragraph.) What I plan to do, just to let you know, is separate out this blog from the podcast. That way if you just want to learn about songwriting, you can subscribe to the podcast. If you just want to read rambles about my life as a children's musician, you can subscribe to this blog. And of course you are welcome to do both. That's coming soon - I'll keep you posted. Now on to rambling about my life as a children's musician!

Today I visited a second grade classroom at my daughter's school for the last time this year, to get feedback on a new song. As I was packing up the teacher said to me, a bit apologetically, that she hoped I got something out of my visits. That got me thinking a bit. Sure the kids were unruly at times. They gave me lots of irrelevant comments and impractical suggestions. They had fun, but from a teacher's getting things done point of view, I'm sure these sessions seem less than optimal.

But to me they were essential! Every song I brought to that class was changed in some small (or large) way based on their input. Just singing a new song for a group of kids the first time while observing their reactions tells me a lot. Then I go through a process - they tell me what they liked, I ask them questions, they ask me questions, and they make suggestions.

These days I can't imagine putting a song on a CD or performing it at a school assembly without getting it "kid approved" first. Kids are great at feedback. They are brutally honest, but never mean. They have boundless imagination to share, and best of all, they know what it's like to be a kid.

The second graders liked my new song today, but they got me thinking about some issues. These kids never let me get away writing less than my best. So it'll be back to the drawing board for this song, and that's a good thing!

Every one of the songs on my new CD (more about that next time) were shaped in some way by this class and the others I've been visiting throughout the year. My songs are all far better for the effort. Thanks, kids! I couldn't do it without you!