LiveMom is thrilled to be covering ACL for the fifth straight year. We have listened to all 140 bands and are your one-stop-shop for the biggest music event of the fall, whether you are taking the whole fam or using it as an excuse to get some adult time. Keep up with our coverage of this year’s festival here on LiveMom and over on Facebook, Twitter, our ACL 2014 Pinterest page and Instagram. We’ll be there Weekend One! You can even peruse our schedule.
There are two types of music for kids: the kind that you want to turn off, and the songs you want to turn up. SteveSongs falls squarely into the second category. A mainstay on weekday mornings on PBS, Steve Roslonek left his job as a business consultant 15 years ago after penning a song for his brother, then a first grade teacher, and never looked back.
Eight CDs and one DVD later, Steve is still at it, releasing upbeat, educational songs that get stuck in your head for days (true story). Recently, Steve collaborated with the National Fire Protection Association to produce the song and video above, “Little Rosalie” (available for free download here), for National Fire Prevention Week, which takes place October 5-11th.
Life as a kids performer and songwriter changed when he and his wife started a family, and as you’ll read below and can see in this cute video, Steve’s son and daughter love to get in on the act. This is Steve’s first appearance on the Austin Kiddie Limits stage, but we’re hoping it’s not his last. Read our interview with Steve below to find out who’s he’s looking forward to seeing perform at ACL, what he likes about playing music to kids and his dream of starting a family band.
You can catch SteveSongs on the Austin Kiddie Limits Stage on Saturday, October 4th from 2:30-2:55pm and Sunday, October 5th; Saturday, October 11th and Sunday, October 12th from 3:30-4pm.
LiveMom: Will you be appearing at any other events here in Austin to coincide with National Fire Prevention Week?
Steve: We’ll be doing a session on the radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child on Monday. Other than that, nothing is planned right now – though since we’re in town for a couple of days we may try to add a school event and I’ll be reaching out to the local PBS station (KLRU) to let them know I’ll be in town.
LiveMom: Have you made it to Austin before? What do you plan to do when you are in town?
Steve: I played a cool event for KLRU at Pioneer Farms back in 2008 and then came back for the next 2 years to perform for the national PBS convention and also the lawmakers at the Capitol. I’ve enjoyed the visits every time and am looking forward to getting back there in October.
LiveMom: What other bands are you looking forward to seeing at the Festival?
Steve: Ralph Covert and the Sugar Free All Stars are great kids bands and great guys – so I look forward to seeing and hearing them. I also am very excited to see Tune-Yards, Ozomatli, Eminem and Beck.
LiveMom: Have you made music for adults before?
Steve: Yes, a long time ago when I first left my corporate job to do kids music – I would occasionally open up for “grown-up” bands in the evenings. I had intended to do a “grown-up” album about 10 years ago, but the kids stuff just got so busy and so fun that it never happened. I do find that over the years I have increasingly worked more complicated or intricate musical and lyrical content into the kids songs integrating more of what I might have done with music for grown-ups into the family music material.
LiveMom: How do you balance your performance schedule with having younger kids at home? Do they ever come along when you are on the road?
Steve: Long trips away from the family are a big challenge. Before getting married and having kids, I used to travel for months at a time, now I tend to do more quick trips on planes out and back. For the Austin shows, we’ll be out on the road for 10 days which is quite rare. I love it when the family can travel with me. We did a trip last year with the family down to DC and Pennsylvania. I did shows along the way and made sure to add in a couple of days for family time. My son who is now 6 has been on many trips with he. He actually performs a few songs with me – he raps for the Flat Stanley song, does beat boxing for another (he’s got great rhythm) and tells some jokes. Our 3 year old daughter is into dancing and has started to join us on stage for a couple of dancing songs. My wife actually plays the piano quite nicely, though hardly at all in public. It’s my dream to someday get a bus like the Partridge Family and travel around doing shows together. I’m pretty sure it is not my wife’s dream… yet.
LiveMom: You definitely seem to have used your music as a vehicle to educate. What do you hope kids and families take away from your songs?
Steve: The show that we do is quite varied – different types of musical styles and different topics (lyrical content). I do love the idea of playing a song that kids and families like to listen or dance to because of the music, but at the same time can learn something – whether it’s about science or reading or fire safety.
LiveMom: What do you like performing in front of an audience of children and families?
Steve: Lots of things! The three person band that will be traveling with me for ACL are great. They are friendly guys and talented musicians who are also young dads themselves. Many of our songs include three part harmonies or neat backup singing parts. I love the idea of playing interactive songs that kids get into because there is a singing or moving part or game for them – but that also sound full and interesting musically to the parents.
At the same time, I have a song called “Song without a Rhyme” that I play myself. The lyrics bemoan the challenge of trying to write a song without a rhyme, all the while replacing expected rhymes with a non rhyming alternatives. And for an audience that enjoys listening to lyrics, it’s one of the most fun ones to share.
LiveMom: After ACL, what are you up to next?
Steve: We’ll be playing both weekends at ACL and in between we’ll be traveling to Orlando to play at Legoland to celebrate Fire Prevention Week with our new fire safety song “Little Rosalie”. Shortly after that, we’ll be going back into the studio to work on another song and music video for the NFPA about fire fighters.