OWTK Kindie Music News

OWTK @ The Grammys

I live a charmed life.

I stay at home, I’ve got a lovely wife, and 2 adorable children (“that’s debatable” – Mary Poppins reference, which will make perfect sense as you read on).  The blurb of a bio I hand out when freelance writing ends with “Jeff considers himself to be one of the luckiest guys in the world, although he needs to be reminded of that fact from time to time”.

I needed no such reminder this past weekend as I upped the ante on my good fortune by flying out to Los Angeles, CA for the freakin’ Grammy Awards.  I know, right?

On Saturday, the Children’s Recording Arts Alliance hosted a Grammy Kid’s Benefit Concert celebrating the artists nominated in the two children’s categories (music & spoken word).  No, Pete Seeger wasn’t there, neither was Mary Poppins, I mean Julie Andrews.  Both of those legendarily talented individuals would wind up taking home Grammys the following afternoon, but no matter, there were no losers this year.

Nominess The Battersby Duo, Judy Pancoast, Bill Harley, Steve Pullara w/ Oran Etkin, Miss Amy (and many of the players involved in the Healthy Food For Thought 2xCD), along with Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players all performed very abbreviated sets for a packed house (which included Desperate Housewife Marcia Cross and her kids) at The Mint on Pico Blvd.  Those artists can all slap “Grammy Nominated” in front of their name (or band name) until the day they die.  Not a bad consolation prize, I reckon.  See, no losers in the bunch.

I recorded Pullara and Oran Etkin’s performance with Etkin’s camera, so once that is uploaded by the clarinet master himself, I will pass it along.  All the performances were terrific, but one band stole the show (as they often do).

Enjoy “Trick or Treat” from Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players live in the City of Angels:

I also got to meet for the first time, in no particular order: Todd McHatton, Lucky Diaz and Alisha Gaddis, Birdie Mendoza, Greg from the Hollow Trees, Aaron Nigel Smith, Groovy David, and the one and only Heidi Swedberg who MC-ed the concert and who is about as funny as you’d imagine (+ I just get tickled pink when a woman curses…a lot!). Much like Award acceptance speeches, I’m probably leaving out fine folks that I meet for the 1st time. Sorry if you are one of them!

After the gig, and following the kid’s Grammy nominee luncheon, I met up with a trio of wonderful kindie acts – Randy Kaplan, David Tobocman, and Norm Jones (Rhythm Child) – along with Tobocman’s wife KC Mancebo and Heather Jones (Norm’s better 1/2) for a fantastic dinner at Waterloo and City (awesome name, awesome restaurant) in Venice, CA.

The next day was THE day.  Grammy day.  I got to the Staples Center/LA Live! complex in downtown L.A. WAAAAAAY too early to ensure a great parking spot – one where I got to keep the keys to the rental car with my laptop and clothes in the trunk (I’d already checked out of my hotel).  I chatted up some police officers and security folks as I meandered around with the gawkers.  When the time came to enter the L.A. Convention Center for the pre-telecast, I calmly walked down the red carpet (yep) soaking up the surreal scene.  The rest of it you could have seen (and still can on Grammy.com) – who won, who didn’t.  It was exciting to just be there, surrounded by actual talent: producers, musicians, artists, and the like.  Neil Young walked past me, I said hey to the fellas from Vampire Weekend, and I was standing right next to the Black Keys and the Zac Brown Band when they won their Grammy Awards.  Oh, and I saluted Philly with ?uestlove of the Roots outside the men’s bathroom.  Pretty funny stuff.  It’s a good thing I’m not affected by flying solo out in public or by being in the presence of famous folk, otherwise that may have been a difficult day for me.

The big show at night was less interesting, actually.  My seat was in the arena – barely – but that wasn’t it.  The Grammy Awards have never reflected my taste in music and despite a performance by Mumford & Sons and Avett Brothers (w/ Bob Dylan who I love but who just needs stop.  Enough already. Stop, Bob.) this year was no different.  Plus, I was stuck in a seat in the exact middle of the aisle, in a suit.  For a big 6’4″ fella that is akin to torture.  Throw in performances by Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber and by God it was torture!  Ha. Seriously though, I want to thank Beth Blenz-Clucas of Sugar Mountain PR for even floating the idea of me coming to the left coast and Justin Roberts for thinking of me and connecting the dots for that Grammy ticket.

One more thing about Grammy weekend: A big shout out to Arcade Fire, a band I’ve liked since their debut.  I’m so damn proud to have been at the Grammy Awards when a real indie band on a indie record label took home music’s biggest prize.  I kinda welled up with pride, for having been raised in that community with similar ideals regarding art and music (fashion, not so much).  I may have even shed a little tear.  ‘Twas a perfect end to an amazing (and warm & sunny – geez, I didn’t even mention the perfect weather!) weekend.

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