It’s also easy to understate the effect that beginning a family can have on an artist. But Dan Zanes gives testament to the contrary with his unpretentious songs for the most unassuming audience: kids.
Displaying a wild shock of hair, Zanes began his career with the ’80s pop band, the Del Fuegos. Since then, his hair grown longer and grayer, Zanes has released 8 albums featuring children’s music, most recently 76 Trombones in 2009, and he won a Grammy in that category for his 2006 Catch That Train! The recordings feature collaborations with various artists, notably Sheryl Crow. The stripped-back style of the music, with influences ranging from Latin to bluegrass, generates a summer feel, due to the cheerful, drifting daytime lullabies and the essaywriter zany, upbeat rhythms. From flying kites with the slow-going clouds to banging pots on the porch with the neighbors, Zanes’ music is as likely to make you feel like a kid again as it is to get the little ones up and dancing.