When touring musicians have kids, designing and maintaining the music career gets particularly tricky. Some muscle through with the family in tow. Others hit the road while the other parent stays home with kids. There’s no magic formula for parent-performers. 

But maybe there is:


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At least, that’s what I got when I talked to accordion player John Williams, whose three kids are just beginning their adult lives. And to guitarist Matt Heaton, whose son and heir (also my child) is making fart noises on my arm while I type this post.

So, full disclosure: Matt is my husband and my favorite musician in the world. And John was one of my first Irish music mentors, and another all time fave musician.

But personal bias aside, Matt and John both just happen to be guiding lights in the field of creative reinvention. And on the heels of my episode that considered inclusivity in trad music, well, here are two musicians who have seized parenthood not only as a beautiful way to connect with life and kids and spouse… but also as an opportunity to practice ego management and fairness for moms, dads, and kids. AND to become stronger musicians.

Learn how they stay charged up. Learn how to stay safe in the bath. And learn about new outlets for pots, pans, and wooden spoons.

(And if you need to let off any steam, listen through to the very end of the episode and join in the final, unbridled jam. But, um, don’t use any precious vintage utensils!)

Here’s John and guitarist Dean Magraw, charged up and building up a mass of reel-soaked steam:

 

And if you haven’t heard every episode, I hope you’ll listen to the gems you missed:
Episode 01-Trip to Sligo
Episode 00-Introducing Irish Music Stories
Episode 02-Cuppa Tea with Karan Casey
Episode 03-Every Tuesday at Nine
– Episode 04 – Cuppa Tea with McKinneys and McCarthy
– Episode 05 – Handed Down
Episode 06 – The Backer
Episode 07 – The Piper
Episode 08 – Miss McCleod’s Reel at 113
– Episode 09 – Want of Wit
– Episode 10 – Cuppa Tea with Daithi Sproule
– Episode 11 – Return to Sligo
– Episode 12 – Season Two Preview
– Episode 13 – The C-Word
– Episode 14 – Dance Hall Days
– Episode 15 – Heartbeat of Irish Music
– Episode 16 – Pushing all the Right Buttons
– Episode 17 – Why Willie and Mary Matter
– Episode 18 – Wax Cylinders to the World Wide Web
Episode 19 – Fiddle in the Windy City
– Episode 20 – Trad Music Summer Camp
– Episode 21 – Fifty Shades of Gender Equality


Music Heard on IMS Episode 22
all music traditional, unless otherwise indicated

Tune: Tap Room,” from Session in the Kitchen
Artists: Dan Gurney (accordion), Shannon Heaton (flute), Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Hometown Lullaby,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “John’s Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Meaning of Life” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Cuckoo Waltz” from Plays Polka Hits
Artist: Frankie Yankovic

Tune: “Midnight Sojourn Waltz intro” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “McGreevy’s Favorite/Hold The Reins,” from John Williams
Artist: John Williams

Song: “Ni Na La,” (AKA Nil Na La) from Solas
Artist: Solas

Tune: “After Hours Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Triumph Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Twins’ Dance Party / Sylvia’s & Mikey’s Reels” from Raven
Artists: John Williams & Dean Magraw

Tune: “My Love is in America,” from Dearga
Artists: Matt Heaton (guitar), Shannon Heaton (flute)

Tune: “Heartstrings Theme” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Song: “Don’t Drink the Water (That Your Butt’s Been In)” from Toddlerbilly Riot
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “Slip Jig Dreams,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Jackson’s Jig,” from Kitchen Session
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Tune: “Shoe the Donkey,” from Kitchen Session
Artist: Matt Heaton (banjo)

Tune: “Travel Theme,” from Production Music Made for Irish Music Stories
Artist: Matt Heaton (guitar)

Song: “Lover’s Lament,” from Lovers’ Well
Artists: Matt & Shannon Heaton with Nic Gareiss (feet)

Song: “Happy Holidays,” from Snow Day!
Artist: Matt Heaton

Tune: “Road to Garrison,” from Dearga
Artist: Matt & Shanon Heaton with George Keith (fiddle) 

Tunes: “The Big Reel Of Ballynacally/The High Hill/Flash Away The Pressing Gang,” from Sunny Spells and Scattered Showers
Artist: Solas

Tune: “Spoon Breaker Jam,” from Live from the Living Room
Artist: Nigel Heaton

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS: Thank you for listening. Thank you, Matt and Nigel for helping me make the show.  And thank you to Michael Wilson, Aubrey Atwater, Adrian Glover, Billie Neal, and Brian Benscoter for underwriting this episode. Donations help me share this show with everybody.

Please consider DONATING HERE.
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