Key Wilde & Mr Clarke deliver bluegrass and punk for preschoolers

Change the pace of what’s on your kid’s playlists with duo Key Wilde & Mr Clarke. These guys are bluegrass with a punk edge – an unlikely pairing that works incredibly well.

When I think country and western music I automatically think lonesome hearts, breaking hearts and aching hearts – maybe that speaks volumes about how little country and western I listen to. Either way, the hearts theme doesn’t work so well for preschoolers. Little country fans will go mad for Key Wilde & Mr Clarke. Their debut children’s album, Rise and Shine, is chock full of animal songs that rock in a bluegrassy, clashing punk kind of way. One reviewer very aptly sums up the album as ‘…a mix of Johnny Cash, Johnny Rotten and Johnny Appleseed.

Clarke’s British accent gives the punk element authenticity and Wilde’s Texas upbringing checks all the right bluegrass boxes. Their voices combined on tracks like ‘Big Pet Pig’ show just how to blend bluegrass and punk.

The best tracks are ‘I Had a Little Dog‘, ‘Going to the Moon‘, ‘Rattling Can’ and ‘Big Pet Pig‘. ‘One Fat Frog’ gives a whole new meaning to counting songs with animal references that are humorous and alive with detail – “Six billy goats in cashmere coats…” and “Eight red ants spent the night away under bright white lights on the Champs Elysees…”

Personally I think the standout is ‘My Favourite Names‘. Although this song is not representative of the whole album (it’s pure punk) it has an incredible frenetic energy that is unlike anything I ‘ve heard for kids. It reminds me of the first time I heard the Violent Femmes when I was about twelve years old – I just somehow knew it was ‘bad’ and therefore, it was great!

Rise and Shine is available from Little Monster Records for US$10.98 and can be shipped here.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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