Shades of Howdy Doody, only no puppet and the host will be Sean McCollough, not Cowboy Bob, and he’ll play banjo and guitar. Nearly three months after its WDVX debut in June, McCollough will take his weekly radio show, KidStuff, live once a month beginning with the Saturday, Aug. 27, broadcast. Best known to legal-agers as a member of the LoneTones and the John Myers Band, McCollough has always favored putting a few kids’ songs into his repertoire, and released a collection of them, This Is Our House, in November. The disc has picked up an approval rating from the pretty prestigious Parents Choice Foundation for 2011, and some of the tracks will be played on the live show, as they do on the pre-taped version.

The centerpiece for the spontaneous episodes, though, will be a kid performer, chosen by the staff at the Joy of Music School, where weekly lessons and instruments are provided to disadvantaged and at-risk kids at no charge. “The show’s an hour long, and probably 10 minutes of that will be the kid performer, playing whatever they’ve been learning in their lessons at the time,” McCollough says. “They’ll probably also play something with me, too, and we’ll have other adult performers doing music for kids.”

For the premiere episode, McCollough’s put together what he calls a “little band,” which includes Kyle Campbell of the Bearded and Nancy Brennan Strange, along with some other members of the LoneTones. Look for ex-Knoxvillian Phil Pollard to show up soon—even though he reportedly dwells in Richmond, Va., the Band of Humans’ frontman has already been on the canned show twice.

Sean: "I just believe in playing real music for kids...."

Click on the News Sentinel link to read the entire article.

...It's music that doesn't sound prefabricated or condescending, tunes that can be enjoyed by all ages even if the target audience is kids....

Click on the Daily Times link to read the article.

Rose: How do you feel about Raffi?

Sean: I like Raffi. I've even done a couple of his songs over the years, but I lean more towards Pete Seeger.

Click on the Metro Pulse Link to read the entire interview.

Knoxville artist tuning in to kids

WDVX, local musician team up for children's radio show

Local musician Sean McCollough has performed hundreds of shows for both children and adults, but he admits to being a little nervous at the prospect of hosting his own radio show for children.

"I'm sure I'll have to kind of feel my way," says McCollough. "I've never been a DJ before. I hope the show gets tighter and I get looser."

The show "Kidstuff" will premiere at 9 a.m. Saturday, June 4, on WDVX (89.9, 102.9 and 93.9 FM and www.wdvx.com).

A little over a week before, he went into the WDVX studio to learn the controls and was immediately put on the air to promote the show.

"I was a little nervous, but it was kind of exhilarating," says McCollough.

WDVX program manager Tony Lawson says the idea for a children's radio show on WDVX had been in consideration for some time.

"We were not in a position to do it, staff-wise, and then Sean put out his children's record," says Lawson. "Sean's so good with kids, and he's a great musician. ... Who better to host a kids' show for us?"

McCollough's album, "This Is Our House," was released in late 2010 and was recently given a Parents' Choice recommendation. It's been selling well to libraries and earning good reviews. One of the most important aspects of the disc is that it's as entertaining for adults as it is children. That may be because of McCollough being in the bands The Lonetones and the John Myers Band, which are not children's groups.

McCollough says children appreciate being engaged on several levels. He plans to present a wide variety of genres in the show and take time to tell a little about the music.

"I'd also like to stretch beyond music that's just intended specifically for kids and just pick music that I think kids would like," says McCollough. "I really want to stay away from thinking this just has to be children's performers."

While, he says, it will take some time to establish the show's format, McCollough intends "Kidstuff" to be a variety show with live performers, recorded music and, possibly, storytelling.

"I hope to make it thematic," says McCollough. "One week I'll focus on a certain instrument or a certain artist or songwriter. I also hope to include, either live or recorded, performances by kids themselves. There are a lot of young performers around here who are really talented, so we'll try to include that as well."

McCollough's album features performances by the Pinklets, which is made up of his daughter Willa and the three daughters of fellow musician Kevin Abernathy.

Lawson says that during the station's New Year's Eve live-music celebration, 4-year-old Harlan Gladson, the son of Pea Ridge Rambler member Todd Gladson, was playing the fiddle on stage at the Knoxville Visitor's Center. Other children wanted to get on stage, too.

The plan for "Kidstuff" includes presenting at least one show per month live in front of an audience - sort of a "Blue Plate Special" for children and families.

"Hopefully," says Lawson, "it'll reach the inner kid in everyone."

Americana Highways brings you this premiere of the title track from Sean McCollough’s children’s album Earworm, due to be released on May 11. The album was mixed at Little Thing Studios in Knoxville, TN and mastered by Seva at Soundcurrent Maastering in Knoxville, TN. Cover art is by Riley Bronaugh.  Sean McCollough on lead vocals and guitar,  Steph Gunnoe on background vocals, Vince Ilagan on electric and upright bass and Jamie Cook on drums.

Many of us have children in our lives, and it’s marvelous to have good quality music to offer them.  Lyrically, Sean McCollough manages to create songs that have the clarity for kids to grasp, while avoiding the insipid qualities of the fare that’s so widely available.  “Earworm” explains the concept of that expression — the literal connotations of “ear worm” are slightly unpleasant for listeners of any age, so this is a disarming, charming, clarification.  A requisite for a song’s appeal to children is that it is something they will understand, with hooks that make for earworms, while the quality of the song will still depend on the musicianship behind the lyrics, and McCollough unmistakably achieves this.  Earworm is a collection of earworms from start to finish.

I offhandedly mentioned that the song I was singing was a real earworm. I was met with a chorus of ‘oohs, gross, and yuck!’ I quickly explained that I wasn’t talking about a wiggly worm or a squirmy worm, but rather that ‘earworm’ is another term for a song stuck in your head. Very soon after, the song was born. Kids love to come up to me and complain that I have gotten this song stuck in their head. So I guess that perhaps ‘Earworm’ is an earworm about earworms. — Sean McCollough

Host of the Kidstuff Show on Knoxville radio, award-winning Sean wrote and performs 8 of these songs and covers 5 more. He demonstrates his versatility in roots music, including blues, bluegrass, African-American string band, and chant; with some rock, pop, and jazz as well. The excellent backup musicians perform on guitar, banjo, piano, keyboard, lap dulcimer, fiddle, cello, mandolin, upright bass, electric bass, piccolo, trombone, marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, drums, African drums, and percussion. An “Earworm” is a song that is stuck in your head. “All Kinds of Singing” is swell. Molly Ledford of Lunch Money joins Sean in her song about the structure called the “Sunsphere” left over from the 1982 Knoxville Worlds Fair. The alphabet helps people write songs and stories in “ABC (The Writing Song).” In “Don’t Let ‘Em Get Yer Goat,” listeners are advised that it doesn’t matter what others think about you. “Her Name Was Lady” tells about Sean’s childhood pet goats Lady, Pablo, and Jackie (the bully goat). This jazzy minor tune warns listeners about the “Fuzzy Brown Vine (aka Poison Ivy).” Don’t worry about the “Rag Doll” because it is not fragile like a china doll. Sean tells the story of how he used to get “Carsick” on long trips. Billy Jonas gives a command performance on his “bucket kit” percussion about traffic lights in “Green Means Go.” The narrator gives suggestions for fun, from “Let’s Give a Party,” to going fishing or going to the park. The “Kidstuff Theme Song” emphasizes that music makes life better. In “Big Ears,” listeners are encouraged to open their mind, heart, eyes, and ears. A wonderful and quirky album that is fun for the whole family. 

It's An Earworm!

CD Release May 11

 "Prepare for a wonderful new addition to the soundtrack of your family’s life!"

- Billy Jonas

Upcoming Shows

  • 06/08/2019
    Kidstuff Live at the WDVX Studios - Knoxville, TN
     
  • 06/10/2019
    Howard Pinkston Branch Library - Knoxville, TN
     
  • 06/13/2019
    Norwood Branch Library - Knoxville, TN
     

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