Dig the Tunes in Earthworm Ensemble’s Backyard Garden

By Michael Berick

Things to do in L.A.: See Earthworm Ensemble

Music comes naturally to Earthworm Ensemble. PHOTO BY SHAWN NOURSE

Just in time for spring, Earthworm Ensemble offers new set of songs about such “earthy” topics as nature, the environment and the lives of animals and humans. Backyard Garden packs a rich bounty of rootsy music into its 13 tracks. “We wanted to share our ideas on day-to-day things we can do to keep planet Earth green, and especially to get parents and kids to engage in further conversations and exploration,” says guitarist Paul Lacques. “So, we have songs about how to compost, reduce, reuse and recycle, and starting a home garden.”

Lacques and fellow Earthworm Shawn Nourse also play in the popular local Americana band I See Hawks In L.A. Both men see advantages to playing family music. “Creating family music,” says Nourse, “offers us a great opportunity to introduce a variety of musical genres to kids. We love being able to approach the production of each song independently. Our song ‘Compost’ is told best by channeling John Lee Hooker delta blues. ‘Reduce Reuse Recycle’ makes musical sense when it’s performed as a Hawaiian ballad a la Don Ho. ‘Sparko the Stegosaurus’ was inspired by The B-52’s and their rockin’ sense of humor.”

Lacques says family music lets musicians be more playful. “You can write about coyotes and dinosaurs and making pizza,” he says. “Adult music doesn’t have room for that, and maybe it should. We believe kids have super-sophisticated ears and are ready for complex songs. We picture the whole family when we work on new music.”

Families looking for things to do in L.A. can enjoy the Earthworm Ensemble’s menagerie of music when it performs at McCabe’s (3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica; www.mccabes.com) at 11 a.m. April 12. Admission is $10.

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