I’m not embarrassed. I am a huge Dan Zanes fan. I don’t need to pretend that I have Alison Krauss on my iPod. Dan Zanes does it for me. Oh, and my kids dig him, too. We’re groupies who have seen him 8 times. It will be 9 this Sunday at the Wellmont for his Montclair Pre-K benefit show.
Call me a soggy graham cracker. But Dan Zanes’ music is real music. He covers American folk, rock, gospel and gets all multi-cultural. His music makes me–and my kids–happy.


And unlike Alison Krauss or Coldplay, Dan Zanes talked to me on the phone for MontclairKids.

Dan Zanes has been making family music since 1994 and won a Grammy for his album, Catch That Train in 2007. He’s sung on Sesame Street, Playhouse Disney and Noggin. He lives in Brooklyn, and he tells me his brother lives here. His words were music to my ears this morning.

MontclairKids: Sunday at the Wellmont will be your third performance in Montclair. What do you love about this town?

DZ:  For me, it’s all about my personal connections. My brother and his family, Linda Brumbach–who books our shows–and lots of other friends live in Montclair. It’s a great town.
MontclairKids: Why did you decide to help out the Montclair Pre-K with this benefit concert?
DZ: I have a commitment to building healthy communities. Anything we can do to be helpful, we’ll do. It’s easy for us, we just show up and play music, and we’re helping out at the same time. This show will be a one-of-a-kind show. It’s an extended family show for the New York area. We have some great special guests: Derick K. Grant, the amazing tap dancer; La Bruja, the Nuyorican rapper; and Rebecca Naomi Jones, from Broadway’s Passing Strange. We hope everyone comes out to make music with us and help out the Pre-K.
MontclairKids: Your new CD, The Welcome Table – Songs of Inspiration, Mystery and Times is a collection of Dan Zanes and friends recording of tunes drawn from North American gospel traditions. What inspired you to chose that music genre?
DZ:  After I stopped playing rock n’ roll, I didn’t want to listen to it anymore. I started listening to The Five Blind Boys and gospel from the ’40s and ’50s, and it got me excited about music for the first time in many years. It’s all I listened to for awhile. 
We decided to do this album to bring awareness to The New Sanctuary Movement, a coalition of interfaith religious leaders and participating congregations called by their faith to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters living in the United States. There is a social aspect of gospel music that fits in perfectly with this issue.
MontclairKids: You call your music “family music.”  What’s your favorite part about performing for families?
DZ: What I love the most is being able to spread the message that music making is something everyone can do. Having a musical household is good for everybody. It’s fun too, because family audiences are up for anything. The parents are usually sleep deprived and they’re open-minded!
Tickets are still available here, and you’ll see me and my girls front row center. I hope he has a good security guard. My kids and I are serious moshers.
Are you going on Sunday? 

4 replies on “Woot: Our Interview with Dan Zanes”

  1. My husband and I have been huge Dan Zane fans since our twins were just a few months old. Now that they’re a year (and a few days) old, they recognize the songs and love to clap and dance along.
    Can’t wait until they’re a bit older so we can take them to concerts

  2. we’ll be there! my son went to the pre-k and it’s such a wonderful place. it needs our support! can’t wait to hear the Nueva York songs live.

  3. one year olds can totally have a blast and are old enough to party! go to the concert you’ll see!

  4. one year olds can totally have a blast and are old enough to party! go to the concert you’ll see!

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