The Words in the Song

Before I was a father (and even before I was married) I found myself sitting in a strangely named sandwich place (something like “the inebriated capra aegagrus hircus) reading the nearest offbeat magazine sitting on the table as I took my lunch break from the next door theatre were I was volunteering as the intern to the executive director for college credit towards my management degree. Inside that offbeat magazine I found an unexpected article. Among the typical politically charged and occasionally intentionally offensive artworks there was an article about a children’s musician who’d attended a local high school and gone on to become quite a success as a recording artist and live performer. The article compelled me to find out more.

My search quickly found the best children’s music I’d ever heard, in part because it was good music period (like I said, not yet a father at this point in the story). That musician is Justin Roberts (see a review of one of my favorite albums right here at I bought a number of his albums, listened to them frequently, and then came across great news: he’d be performing nearby. How could I not buy tickets? So I did. I traveled with my soon to be wife, my parents, my siblings, an aunt and a couple of cousins (none of us even remotely the audience for this type of show) and set out a blanket to see a live performance surrounded by very young children and their young parents. Many of the entourage I’d brought with me were somewhat embarrassed to be there (but having known me for a while they weren’t really surprised to find me enjoying something out of the ordinary — or my age bracket).

Fast forward to the future: I’ve still got his albums and our son loves them. We play them all the time. Part of the reason I love the albums is because they are so lyrically clever (and they don’t use small words or necessarily repeat them). Yet, despite the complex words and the non-ear-itating repetition, my son repeats words in the songs. He recognizes words. He’s even started to sing.