ACL Musicians Can Help You Get More Sleep

Play Date

Play Date plays on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage.

Today is the last day in the series of posts with answers to everyday parenting questions, answered by ACL musicians. First, we talked about lullabies for babies, then practice vs, inspiration in teenagers, then what to do if you don’t like your kids music. Now, for answers to the most requested question of all, related to lullabies but different, how do you get the little kids to go to sleep? It’s so important because when kids get more sleep, you get more sleep.

  • Survey answer #1: Routine. Whatever it is that you do, do it the same each night. It’s a harder discipline for the grown-ups than the kids sometimes, but it’s worth it.
  • Survey answer #2: Run ’em real good. Tire them out. Wrestling, tickling, tag in the house, whatever it takes.
  • Survey answer #3: Dancing, playing music and singing followed by reading, cuddling, talking, making up silly stories, making up silly songs and sharing happy thoughts. I must say, I totally want to go to bed at these two houses: Brian Vander Ark’s from The Verve Pipe and Kristen Geller from the Andy Z and the Andyland Band. I might show up one night. Really.

Some folks suggested specific songs, shows or stories to play real quiet, maybe in a loop, as they fall to sleep.

  • Ian Bevis from Bear Mountain recommended Stairway to Heaven, which does have a dreamy vibe, but I don’t know what I would say if they asked me what it means. Does anyone know what it means?
  • Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets recommends PBS Sprout’s “Goodnight” show.
  • Andy Zamenes fr0m Andy Z and the Andyland Band recommends Andy Z and the Andyland Band musical stories. Which is totally fair, since kids are his specialty.
  • Greg Attonito and Shanti Wintergate from Play Date both recommended the Play Date song written for bedtime, “AYO.” I recommend it to. I might even sing it to myself tonight as I try to sleep.
  • Gordy Quist from The Band of Heathens has also written his own lullaby. He wrote this as a gift to parents everywhere looking for restful sleep. God Bless him. It’s a free download here. It’s beautiful.

Many thanks to all the musicians who took part in the interviews: Rev. Sterling Lands II from The Warrior Gospel Band, Gordy Quist from The Band of Heathens, Shanti Wintergate, Greg Attonito and Rick Silvestri from Play Date, Andy Zamenes and Kristen Geller fr0m Andy Z and the Andyland Band , Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe , Johnathan Terrell from Not In the Face , Seth Goldstein from The Ohmies, Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets, Kevin Russell from Shiny Ribs, Arlene Bell from Disciples for Christ, Kevin Marks from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Rick Carney, Music Director for School of RockElizabeth McQueen from Asleep at the Wheel, Ian Bevis from Bear Mountain and Scott Mills from CALEB.

Thank y’all for taking a listen to all that was ACL this year. Stay tuned for a last post with just a few more thoughts.


ACL Musicians Help Raise Your Teenager

Elizabeth McQueen

Elizabeth McQueen playing with Asleep at the Wheel on the Lady Bird stage

Like I said yesterday when we talked about lullabies, I have answers to real questions from ACL 2013 musicians. Today’s topic is 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?”

Everyone said “both” in one form or another.

Maybe inspiration and practice are like the chicken and the egg, you have to have both and one leads to the other. But which comes first?  Please, ACL musicians, give us a clear and definitive answer…

Out of 17 musicians…

  • 8 said practice
  • 6 said inspiration
  • 4 said both equally

Yes, very clear. Thanks, y’all!

Tobias Winkerton from Junip had an interesting response. He recommended practicing on being inspired. I think I know what he means from my writing.

I need to pay attention to how inspiration works for me, so I can nurture it and give it room and light. I don’t get inspired when I’m too busy or trying to work to fast. I get inspired when I look at something from the side at an angle instead of head on.  When inspiration first starts, it feels like a headache. Like there are no words in the English language for what I want to say. Like I want to turn off the computer and go to sleep, I think because I’m tired but really because I’m afraid I won’t be able to do it. I’ve had to practice being aware of that feeling and working through it until I get to that place were it all feels good.

Well, Tobias, maybe that isn’t what you meant, I was just imagining.

Stay tuned for more answers to your parenting questions. Next, find out what you should do if your kids like really crappy music. And they want to listen to it in the house. And on road trips. Ahhhh!

Many thanks to the practice folks:
Rev. Sterling Lands II from The Warrior Gospel Band, Gordy Quist from The Band of Heathens, Rick Silvestri from Andy Z and the Andyland Band, Andy Zamenes fr0m Andy Z and the Andyland Band , Brian Vander Ark from The Verve Pipe , Johnathan Terrell from Not In the Face , Tim Kubart from Tim and the Space Cadets, Seth Goldstein from The Ohmies

the inspiration folks:
Shanti Wintergate from Play Date , Greg Attonito from Play Date, Kevin Russell from Shiny Ribs, Arlene Bell from Disciples for Christ, Kevin Marks from JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound, Rick Carney, Music Director for School of Rock

and the both folks:
Kristen Geller from the Andy Z and the Andyland Band, Elizabeth McQueen from Asleep at the Wheel, Ian Bevis from Bear Mountain, Scott Mills from CALEB


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?