Musicians Dave Kinnoin and Randy Sharp Come A-Calling

By Michael Berick

children's music Calling All the Elephants

Kinnoin and Sharp showcase their musical talents on Calling All The Elephants. PHOTO BY SHARON BAYS

For his latest album of children’s music, local musician Dave Kinnoin invited L.A.-based songwriter Randy Sharp to collaborate. The result is Calling All The Elephants, a fun musical outing spiced with colorful characters and clever wordplay. Kinnoin, who has won more than 20 awards for his prior eight children’s albums, and Sharp, who has seven number-one country singles to his songwriting credit, talked about working together and creating Calling All The Elephants.

How did the two of you come together to make this album?

Dave Kinnoin: I had been aware of Randy’s catalog for quite a while and asked him to write a couple songs with me for my 2009 CD, Teaspoon At A Time.

Randy Sharp: We were both so pleased with the results that the idea of doing a project together seemed like a natural progression.

Can you talk about your collaboration process?

RS: Everything was a collaboration. More often than not, Dave would show up at my studio and we’d tell stories and ponder what’s funny and what kind of funny we had yet to explore.

DK: It was usually a stream-of-consciousness session. I remember that “Hum” started as my idea of someone who just hummed all the time, and Randy asked, “Well, what would make somebody do that?” and then we came up with the toothpaste/glue debacle. Several times, we thought a song was finished, only to have one of us come back with a better line and sometimes an entirely new verse, or take, on the song.

RS: And all of that came from the enthusiasm we were both feeling and the sense that we were creating something unlike either one of us had created alone, and maybe unlike anything else out there.

Are any of the songs drawn from real life? “Woke Up Cranky” made me think it might have had real-life inspiration.

RS: According to my younger brother and sisters, I may have been that older brother in “Woke Up Cranky.”

DK: And I was a bit of a terror like the kid in “I’m Special.”

RS: And for “Calling All the Elephants,” we borrowed heavily from my independent sisters and my amazing daughter, whom I watched challenge and prevail against every boy in the neighborhood.

DK: I’ve always had a penchant for considering how the world is perceived from the view of non-human creatures, like in “Good Day for Spiders.” I also sat on a lot of piano seats like Miriam in “Miriam’s Muse,” and my older brother and I were frequently daredevils like the protagonist in “Never Ever.”

Did you set out to make a certain type of album?

children's music calling all the elephantsRS: From early on in the project we talked about letting a little bit of Bart Simpson and Shel Silverstein into the mix.

DK: I personally had grown weary of songs that were just so darn nice. I wanted a break. Push the boundaries a bit. But all the while making sure the kids would still get a kick out of it. Grown-ups too, for that matter.

What do you find particularly appealing about creating and performing songs for kids?

DK: I love the level of honesty that I’m held to. You can’t fool a kid … not for long. It’s got to ring true, and you find out immediately if it does or not.

RK: This is a new world for me. Most of my career has been trying to come up with things that appeal primarily to adults. That’s what excited me about this project. I’m always looking for ways to expand my palate. This turned out to be a really fun and satisfying addition.

Do you have plans to work together more?

RK: We’ve got half of the next Randy & Dave project written already.

DK: My favorite part of the week is Tuesday at 10:30 when I get to hang with Randy and get crazy.

Calling All The Elephants is available at

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