I fell into this gig at the behest of the LV Music Awards committee. They thought that it would be cool for me, as a kids’ performer, to appear with a bunch of kids. My immediate thought was, “How’s about an adult set with some of my contemporary friends?” You see, I’m still stuck in limbo with the folk dichotomy – adult folk or kids folk? Some folks can’t do both. I can but that’s not often appreciated. Still….
But I figured it be another learning experience, and that’s what I’m looking for these days. It turned out that it was exactly what I needed and more.
I stumbled upon a wonderful musical group of parents, kids and grandparents that has been incubating in a small underground community; yes, even in a basement! Bob Sedlock (Major Dad) has been working with these kids, and I think the band’s name No Pressure is accurate for the way he’s been developing these kids. Let’s play, but still take the music seriously. And the band shows this respect in how they create their music and identity as a band.
I showed up at the first rehearsal, plugged in my guitar (after getting familiar with these two pop songs, writing out chord charts – show ’em I’m a pro, ya know). They had these two songs down, but not quite polished. We proceeded to work on them, I got more comfortable with where I should fit in (the mandolin didn’t work out) and watched how Bob and the band interacted. It was very nice.
Parents hung out to the side and were respectfully supportive. Again, this was new territory for me. Still in my observation stage. But after a garbage can ending to one of the songs, I suggested a crisp silence after the last chord (let the silence be the big bang) and then let loose the big ending. We tried it once, and the effect was palpable. The parents, the kids and Bob simply took it in. Whoa. It was at that point, I attained some cred in the process. Things turned from that point on. The kids, parents and Bob listened to what I had to offer and I bcame part of the process.
What unfolded over the last sessions was remarkable. I found out that Bob was a talented horn player as a kid, guided by his dad (no slouch of a horn player himself) and has brought together this amazing community of young players. He has a basement sound stage that is very cool, with drums, DI’s, amps, keyboard. Yes, a veritable playground for adults and kids. I’m very jealous. But it is very much a workshop for these kids and he has plainly been a mentor to them all. Bob is actively creating community, much like and yet different from what I do. I do it in front of a public audience. He does it at home with his kids and his neighbors. Hat’s off to Bob Sedlock.
I particularly like the family aspect to this whole collaboration. The Sedlocks are in their third generation of musicianship. Bob’s dad is a respected player with Lucky Seven, a soul horn band I’ve appreciated from off-stage many times. And these families have really invested in their kids making music. The kids are serious about the project and are now starting to recognize the benefits. And now I get to watch the whole process from inside. I am wiser for this happening in my life. I thank them all for inviting me in.
The players (at this point, no longer kids, but fellow musicians) were able to take notes on what we were doing, with no egos in the way, adapt and move on. This is all a product of the way they were taught. This is the really good stuff, my friends. The end result was a pretty gratifying show on the Music Cafe Stage.
Great chops from the drums and bass, keys and horns, vocals and guitar leads. It all came together and it moved the audience. That’s what it’s all about. We did it.