A common topic discussed at the shop is our relationship to our parents’ music. For so many it clearly shapes their own taste. It doesn’t always work out that we listen to what our parents listen to. Sometimes it’s all about finding our own thing or maybe even rebelling against our parents’ taste. In either of those situations, there is a clear influence at play. For those of us at Stinkweeds, we all have our stories about our parents and music and since Father’s Day is right around the corner, we wanted to touch on that subject. We decided we would reach out to a couple of our favorite “Dads” and ask a few questions to get a better look at how music can shape a relationship. We wanted to hear about the songs and artists who bring them closer together, but also about the things that they maybe don’t see eye to eye on. After all, your kids are individuals and any good parent knows when to get out of the way.

We urge you to share your own stories, in the comments below.

Larry Cummings

Larry Cummings is a long time Stinkweeds shopper, a regular contributor to our end of year “best of” list, eager volunteer for Record Store Day and any other big parties we throw, and just an all around great guy. We asked him a few questions about his relationship with music and being a dad.

SW: What song/artist did you find a new appreciation for after becoming a father? This could be something you’ve never listened to before, or something that you just found a deeper connection with.

LC: Lost Horizons by Lemon Jelly. Right after my son was born, I gained a new appreciation for the joy of sleeping for any length of time. I didn’t exactly stop listening to loud music but I started playing my loud music away from the house while my son was an infant.
I’ve never liked to sit in our house with no music playing. I began looking for interesting original artists that played music that were not, as my wife puts it “screechy.” This lead me toward down tempo electronic music. One of the first times I ever visited Stinkweeds was to find some of this kind of electronic music. (Thanks for turning me on to Boards of Canada and The Dining Rooms btw).
Much of Lost Horizons has a navel gazing one trick pony feeling to it. I mean that in the best possible way (it’s a very pretty navel and it’s a very enjoyable pony trick). It perfectly fit what I was looking for at the time and I’ll sometimes put it on just to remember how it felt to have an infant in the house.
I should also mention that You Are My Flower by Elizabeth Mitchell (of Ida) is an incredible folk country record and is, to this day, my all-time favorite children’s record. Hat tip to Stefan of Zooglobble for recommending it! Ironically my son never really got into it.
Finally I’m not the least bit ashamed to be a fan of The Wiggles now. The early edgy stuff, before Greg Page had to drop out and the corporate marketing took over.

SW: What is a song/artist that you and your kid enjoy together.

LC: Kick Drum Heart by the Avett Brothers was the first song my son and I both first heard and liked at the same time. He was very young for this one though so he hadn’t developed an ear, or the attention span required, to appreciate a whole album yet.
The first album/artist we both were excited to put on and listen to together was England Keep my Bones by Frank Turner. Specifically the track I Still Believe. My son and I were traveling in the car a lot at this point, he was in Kindergarten. Enough vocabulary has sunk in and he’s had enough exposure to all the music I’ve been playing that he’s starting to sing along and think about songs.
As I’m driving along one day, he starts singing along, very loudly from the back seat, a response many of Frank Turner’s songs are specifically designed to elicit. That year we listened to that album just about every time we were in the car together. It was really fun to tell Frank Turner about it after his show at the Rhythm Room later that year. That was few years back.

Here are the artists that we enjoy together this year:

  • Anamanaguchi
  • The Sword
  • Old 97s

SW: What song/artist does your kid enjoy but you don’t care for? 

LC: I’m just not at all into Bruno Mars, I keep going back to the artists Bruno Mars reminds me of. My son, and my wife, both love Bruno. This is a funny question because within two weeks of my son having been born, I was noticing his unique and very identifiable personality already in place. That was a very strange feeling. Whenever he’s really enjoying an artist that doesn’t move me, I’m reminded of that same feeling.
I can’t leave out the Wii game Just Dance 4. If I never hear one of those songs again, and I’m looking at you Party Rocking, that would be just fine with me.

SW: What Song/Artist do you enjoy that your kid doesn’t care for?

I can’t actually think of anything I play that my son doesn’t like enough to have commented on. He does frequently point out when I play an album over and over again, which I frequently do when I really enjoy a record. I will always get a groan when I pull out Provincial by John K Samson (yet he still has the album art poster up in his bedroom).

Jon Utter

Jon Utter is another favorite of stinkweeds. We met him through his amazing group of friends and fellow musicians who played in Bear State. Jon has great taste in music and has always been very receptive to our suggestions…which is a sure way to get on our good side. He often comes in with his kids and their dino toys, which we always get a kick out of.
Jon shares some of the tunes he’s spinning in his house.

SW: What is a song/artist that you and your kid enjoy together.

JU: Well, I was a casual fan of Half Japanese for years. Then recently, my kids got that Monster Songs album, and it led us on a path to exploring Jad Fair’s catalog of music together. Now, we geek out together over whatever Jad Fair/Half Japanese stuff we can get our hands on. Although it’s not music I always want to listen to, I love to listen to it with them. They get a kick out of it — and genuinely rock out. It’s fun to take them to the record store these days and hear them ask for music we can listen to together.

SW: What Song/Artist do you enjoy that your kid doesn’t care for?

JU: They don’t quite appreciate The Clientele or the Karen Dalton record I just purchased. Not yet at least. They’ll listen to Tom Brosseau while dinner is being prepared, but there’s always air drumming being added to the tracks — like, they’re really hearing Dinosaur Jr or Half Japanese in their heads.

SW: What song/artist does your kid enjoy but you don’t care for? 

JU: There isn’t much they enjoy, which I don’t appreciate. Oh. Except the Trolls Soundtrack. They really like that, but the songs just aren’t my favorite. Plus, ‘Can’t Stop The Feeling’ is way too…

Happy Father’s Day to all the parents out there who have so eagerly shared a bit of themselves to shape the future music lovers of the world. You’re a big part of what keeps this store going.