Like most overnight sensations, kindie rock took decades to come together. One of my jobs when I was at WXPN was to run the board for Kids Corner, the station's nightly hour of songs and talk radio geared for families. And that's where I think I first noticed the huge distinction between "children's music" and "songs for families."
Kathy and Robert taught me (and, at this point, an entire GENERATION of Philadelphia radio listeners) how to reconnect to the traditions of listening to music as a family, not just slapping an Elmo CD into the dashboard so those kids in the backseat will shut the heck up on the way to the supermarket. As a society, we're spending so much time in the car with our kids, so shouldn't we all get to listen to music we all enjoy?
For musicians, kindie rock has totally legitimized a world that was a shadow universe when I started in radio twenty years ago. Back then, Trout Fishing in America were the rebels, for daring to book both "kids shows" and "adult shows" at the same venue in the same day. (BTW, can we finally get these guys a Grammy?)
I've already written about Z-Rock, chronicling the (exaggerated) adventures of a real-life metal band that turned to playing kids' parties to make the rent. And if you told me two decades ago that Dan Zanes and They Might Be Giants would be topping the kids' music charts, I'd have wondered why the little brats were so lucky to get to hear music from artists it was so hard for me to discover while I was still in high school.
Jealous, I am. When I was growing up, my parents just had one box of music they had ordered from Columbia House. So I grew up on eight tracks of Neil Diamond's The Jazz Singer, plus some greatest hits compilations from ELO and The Captain and Tenille. In hindsight, doesn't that explain so much about my bizarre taste in music?
You no longer have to wait until high school to share great music with your kids. And with so many parents looking for fun ways to generate powerful family experiences, family house concerts are a great way for musicians to expand their audiences. You can make kids' music your full time career, or you can let it be just one of many outlets that connect you to fans.