ACL Musicians Can Help You Get Your Kids To Sleep

Play Date

Shanti Wintergate from Play Date on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

[Updated with info from Seth Goldstein from The Ohmies, after I found an email I had lost.]

Oh, so sad about the rain and no ACL Sunday. More sad for people with flooded homes and cars. ACL, I can’t wait to meet up again next year. Now, on with the show.

For GrowingUpAustin interviews with Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) artists, I wanted to dig deeper, past the superficial questions about the band members’ musical influences and their fascinating personal lives and ask about what is really important to Austin families.

Here is a compilation of the answers to the first question: “What is the best lullaby song ever that isn’t a traditional lullaby?” Because, sometimes parents and kids really need a good lullaby. If you are on Spotify, here is the Playlist.

There were some traditional responses that are good to remember. We use both of these at our house.

  • Shanti Wintergate from Play Date  – “You Are My Sunshine” (Play Date, by the way, is the first made-for-kids band that Sparkles has added to her disco playlist that includes Adele, Justin Bieber and songs from Grease. That is a pretty big deal around our house. That’s why Shanti gets the cover photo for this post.) UPDATE: Sparkles just saw Shanti’s picture and she says, “Shanti,I love you! I like your red dress and I love your music.”
  • Rev. Sterling Lands II from The Warrior Gospel Band – “Amazing Grace” (The Blind Boys from Alabama did an amazing version of this at ACL on Saturday, here’s a pic of that…)
Blind Boys from Alabama

Blind Boys from Alabama at the Zilker Tent

These songs are beautiful.

Casper Babypants

Casper Babypants on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage

I’m not to sure about these. The music sounds like a lullaby, but the words are so sad. This would make a great breakup-recovery-playlist. I might still try “This Lullaby” and “Hobo’s Lullaby,” oh my, these melodies are so sweet.

  • Johnathan Terrell from Not In the Face – “This Lullaby” by Queens of the Stone Age (Queens of the Stone Age played at ACL, what is with this lullaby list + ACL 2013 connection?)
  • Greg Attonito from Play Date – “Pale Blue Eyes” by The Velvet Underground
  • Kevin Russell from Shiny Ribs  – “How Can You Mend A Broken Heart” by Al Green
  • Arlene Bell from Disciples for Christ – “I Love You More Today” by Conway Twitty 
  • Ian Bevis from Bear Mountain – “Tuesday’s Gone” by Lynard Skynard
  • Kevin Marks from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound – “Hobo’s Lullaby” by Woody Guthrie

These choices don’t have sleepy music or sleepy words, but they are fun and that can be good too.

  • Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe –  “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus (Ironically, since Brian says this song always puts him to sleep.)
  • Rick Carney, Music Director for School of Rock – “Blitzkrieg Bop” by the Ramones (Not too sleepy and I might change a lyric somewhere in there, but it makes me smile.)
  • Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets – “Borderline” by Madonna (I don’t know if you know this about me, but I don’t like made-for-kids music very much. When I see music with my family, I like kid-friendly grown-up music better. But the shows by Tim Kubart and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage were AMAZING. There was no kid-friendly or adult-friendly line to be drawn, it was just high-energy, great-rhythm, crazy-dancing, smiles-on-every-face music. I heard a rumor that Tim and the Space Cadets from Brooklyn and Mother Falcon from Austin might join for another Austin show soon, one that costs less than $225. Stay tuned for more of this…)
Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

Tim and the Space Cadets with Mother Falcon on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage

Tobias Winkerton from Junip sings Swedish Christmas carols, wether it is Christmas or not. Kristen Geller from the Andy Z and the Andyland Band gets extra credit, because she composes original pieces with her child’s name in it, which is pretty sweet. Scott Mills from CALEB said good lyrics and melody keep him awake, so he sometimes goes to sleep to “Med sud i’ eyrum” by Sigur Ros, ambient music in a different language.

And, since everybody is sharing, I’ll share an unusual lullaby from our house. Blue Eyes and I sing one song for each girl, when they are in their PJs and all snuggled in their covers with the lights off. When my teenage step-daughter Noel babysat, she didn’t know the songs we usually sing, so she sang a song she knows all the words to, Bohemian Rhapsody by Queen. They call it “The Mama Song” and they sang it every Thursday night for a good long while. So, sometimes we are shopping at Target and Buttercup will start belting out “MAAAAMAAAAAAAA, just killed a man!” Yeah, it’s not how they describe it in the parenting books, but it all works out somehow.

I’m going to try out the new lullaby songs this week. If y’all try some, let me know how it goes. And stay tuned for answers to Question #2 – If you met a teenage musician and she asked, “What is more important, to be inspired or to practice?”, what would you tell her?


My Secret to Austin City Limits (ACL) With Kids – A Babysitter

 Austin City Limits Music Festival

I’m the blogger who encourages family experiences with live music all year ’round. Maybe I’ve hit my head or developed a split personality, because this year I’d rather leave the kids at home with a babysitter.

Here is what I’m saying…

ACL is high maintenance. It is hard to get there and back, you have to commit for a long day, it’s hard to pack just the right things and the food can get expensive.

I could go on.

The weather can be difficult, the crowds are intense, people smoke pot and/or drink too much and as we were leaving Austin KIDDIE Limits last year, on stage just outside the entrance, the announcer yelled as loud and clear as humanly possible, “DO YOU WANT TO HEAR SOME MOTHER F#$%#$% MUSIC!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!”

What am I, 1000 years old? It’s rock-n-roll, baby! It isn’t supposed to be pretty!

But, here’s the other thing I’m saying…

My kids don’t know the difference between live music on Guerro’s patio and live music at Austin City Limits. They like the activities at ACL’s Austin Kiddie Limits about the same as they like our neighborhood carnival. They don’t need AUSTIN CITY LIMITS. There are venues, bands, days and times that are more fun for them. (Have you checked out AustinKidsDance.com?)

And in a related opinion…

ACL is AMAZING for a parent WITHOUT her kids. I see live music with my kids, but in general, we aren’t seeing my most favorite bands. My most favorite bands play late at night, in a venue with standing room only and a concrete floor.  I’m almost 50-years-old now, you know. I can’t do that without needing to see a doctor the next day.

But, each day of ACL has a large number of great bands playing in the middle of the day where you can sit in a chair (bring your own) or a blanket. I’m not usually all about quantity, but it helps. In one weekend, I can hear several of my favorite bands and hear a dozen or so new bands that I’ll listen to all year ’round. Until the next time ACL comes around. Then I’ll go again. With and/or without my kids.

ACL is October 4-6 and 11-13 at Zilker Park. Weekend passes are still available for the second weekend. See the ACL web site for more information.

If you are going with your kids this year, check out a post I wrote last year with helpful tips for parents or tips from ACL here. Also check out this new site – ACL with Kids.


Holiday Hikes Are Just As Sweet

Growing Up Austin - Barton Creek

It is funny, in the late spring, when the grocery stores advertise their grilling recipes, as if grilling is somehow associated with summer. One of the reasons why Austin is the best city in the world is that it really is almost never too cold to grill. Just wear a jacket if it is chilly. Put on the patio light if has gotten dark early. The meat will still get done and it will still be delicious.

Hiking is the same. It feels like a summer activity sometimes, but really, you can hike in Austin any time of year. For one thing, sometimes it is 75 degrees in December. For another, as long as it isn’t below freezing, you can put on a jacket or a coat and be just fine. (Check out our near freezing hike last year.)

Blue Eyes, Sparkles, Buttercup and I hiked Barton Creek, #4 Homedale Access, the other day. Well, we call it rock climbing instead of hiking, because Sparkles loves rock climbing, but not hiking. I chose this spot because it is as rocky as they come. For the 5+ crowd, there are areas full of boulders that make for a 3-dimensional hike. I especially like the curves and dips of the rock formations on the creek bed. I wonder why the rock is washed away by the water in some places and why it lasts forever in others. I also wonder about the plants that can grow in the rock, with the smallest amount of dirt for their roots to grow.

As the holidays get more and more hectic, I’m going to remember to take a holiday hike now and then, to get away from the busy and remember the wonder.