Sipping lemonade and family road trips might not sound like typical inspiration for rock ‘n’ roll, but the everyday trials and tribulations of family life are where Brady Rymer gets the fuel for his popular children’s rock songs.
And this week, to mark the release of his latest CD, Mr. Rymer will be bringing a rousing set of his rock of all ages to the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center on Saturday, April 5, at 1 p.m.
A former rock musician, the 43-year-old Southold resident now focuses on making music entire families, even the little ones, can enjoy together. With the release of his newest album, “Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could,” Mr. Rymer said he is enjoying working and being a dad more than ever.
His musical career started off like many others—in a garage band in junior high school in New Jersey. During a recent phone interview, Mr. Rymer recalled the long afternoons he and his school friends would spend playing covers of the Rolling Stones and Led Zeppelin.
After graduating from college, Mr. Rymer spent the late 1980s and early 1990s with some of the same friends in New York City. And for the next decade, Mr. Rymer’s band, From Good Homes, toured and rocked out—sharing the stage with the likes of Bob Dylan, the Dave Matthews Band and the Grateful Dead’s Bob Weir—and living the life of rock stars.
“We were able to play with some of our musical heroes. And also, we were able just to do our thing and get together with a band and make music. … Then it just kind of ran its course,” Mr. Rymer said.
Mr. Rymer’s priorities shifted from performing to starting a family with his wife, Bridget, and soon, instead of late nights with the band, it was a life of Legos and nursery rhymes.
“I started writing songs about being a dad and I thought, ‘I don’t think I’m going to be bringing this to the band,'” Mr. Rymer said.
Soon after the birth of his son, Gus, in 1996, the new father recorded “Good Morning, Gus,” a tribute album intended simply as a gift to his son and other family members.
But Mr. Rymer didn’t stop there.
“Then I guess one thing kind of led to another and I just started playing around,” he said. Only this time, Mr. Rymer found himself in his son’s pre-school class performing music for kids.
When his daughter, Daisy, was born, he recorded his second children’s album, “Look at My Belly.”
“I thought, ‘I have a record written for my son, I better start writing for her or she’s going to have some problems when she gets older,'” Mr. Rymer said, laughing at the notion.
“I was just plopping down in the middle of the living room and writing about what was going on around me,” he said, describing how he came up with the lyrics for his new songs. “I became hooked on this new lifestyle. The gigs let out at 11 a.m. instead of 11 p.m. and I was touring the crosstown bus instead of across the nation. … I was very surprised that this was what I was doing.”
But once a rocker, always a rocker, and although the lyrics were much different, Mr. Rymer said gradually his new songs were becoming similar to the style of music he had been writing in his days as a member of From Good Homes. Mr. Rymer’s latest album, which is the first he has recorded with The Little Band That Could, the six-piece band he began performing with live in 2005, is packed with folk rock tunes.
“This band actually gelled and we became buddies and there were some local moms and dads who I met. It’s kind of like the other band, friends getting together to play music,” he said.
Mr. Rymer is on lead vocals and guitar, His bandmates include Liz Queler, on vocals and mandolin, Chris Roselli on drums, Claudia Mussen, vocals and accordion, Seth Farber on keyboard and vocals, and Jeff Allen on bass guitar.
All in all, Mr. Rymer has recorded five children’s albums and along the way his music has been recognized by the Parents’ Choice Foundation, the National Parenting Publications Association, Publisher’s Weekly and Dr. Toy.
Although the former rocker, who grew up listening to his parents’ Beatles and Elvis Presley records, said that although he never dreamed he’d be playing kiddie concerts, it’s been more fulfilling than he could have imagined.
“You want it to be something that you believe in,” he said, adding that parents love the music too. “You see it. You see the dads picking their kid up and rocking out. That’s kind of the unspoken power and the muster of regular music.”
Unlike many children’s concerts, Mr. Rymer said his band encourages parents and children to stay together and enjoy the music as a family.
“We throw everybody together. We’ll quote and cover different songs within songs,” he said. Some of his musical influences include Chuck Berry and the Allman Brothers Band. On this album, he samples John Lennon’s “Instant Karma.”
As his children get older and his personal experiences change, Mr. Rymer said he is sure his music will evolve too.
But as an artist, that’s the fun, he said.
“As the kids grow, they start to see the world differently and you can change the point of view to the kid’s point of view, which is fun,” he said. “I think once you put out a record you kind of start the whole process again and, slowly, songs just present themselves.”
While the future is not set in stone, Mr. Rymer said his band is currently looking forward to touring to promote the new album.
“I’m already knee deep in writing songs for the next record,” he said, adding that he would like to film a video of a live show next and possibly even record a lullaby album. “The band is just getting better.”