Running a successful independent creative career involves constant innovation. Artists make things, inspired by/reacting to the world around them.
When artists become parents, songs like “Waltzing with Dinosaurs” just happen… at least in our family. Sure, we still play high lonesome murder ballads and driving instrumentals. But there is a new brightness in our home: Matt Heaton’s new kid CD Toddlerbilly Riot! And yes, it is a riot!
The new CD features a stellar cast of guests (Laura Cortese, Katie McNally and Jenna Moynihan on fiddle; Zach Hickman on bass; Hanneke Cassel on piano; Jared Seabrook on drums; and Nigel and Shannon Heaton on vocals). It plays like a party from track one:
Reverb-drenched electric guitar and retro-surf drum groove intro. Car race announcer voice: “Welcome to Toddlerbilly Riot! Is everybody ready to dance?”
Whee! Clever, hilarious and expertly performed and arranged, the CD leans much more toward rockabilly and surf sounds than Matt’s debut album, Happy You Made It. (Which I blogged about back in late 2013. That’s a great CD, too).
As Matt has honed his “playing for kids” style, he discovered that playing on a big orange hollow-body electric guitar was tons of fun for the audience, and for kids. This, in turn, led to writing more in an early rock and roll style.
So, thanks, Matt. And thanks to many other fine musicians who have put together great albums that happen to also be made with kids in mind (vs creating content for kids with “tested” pedagogical concepts above great musicianship). Thank you for harnessing your musical excellence to make something silly, joyous and useful for kids and parents. And thank you fully embracing the vitality of being an indie artist, which is to constantly redefine and expand artistic reach.
(And thank you, laws of creative balance, for instilling perspective–as Matt and I have both diversified our offerings, our DUO has become even stronger! We have never played with such focus before. By performing slightly fewer dates as a duo, we are appreciating them more than ever.)
So, find balance and joy for yourself. Pick up a copy of the new album at Matt’s site–or buy it right from itunes or bandcamp. Oh, and if you parent in the Boston area and haven’t taken your 6 and under kids to hear Matt at a local singalong, you’re in for an engaging hour for your kids, with high quality playing, because kids get to be discerning, too.