Alex Volz creates music for kids that can (and should) be enjoyed by adults
Some artists talk a lot of talk without really producing much material. Some produce some stellar material, but only once every couple of years. Some produce scads of material all the time, rarely bothering to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Then there are those rare few who somehow manage to consistently produce great material so often and so seemingly effortlessly (seemingly being the keyword there) that you start to wonder which crossroads they visited late at night to make it all possible.
Alex Volz is one of these and his newest album is fresh, original, well-conceived and well-produced and ready for consumption before the dust from his last album, equally superb, has even settled.
All jokes about crossroads and midnight meetings aside, Volz is one of the most talented and prolific songwriters I know and the only reasonable explanation is that the man never ever stops writing. It’s a painful lesson for those of us who kneel at the altar of procrastination, but it’s the truth.
There is no magical explanation. Alex Volz works hard, and often, and is the best at what he does and honestly, that’s so much more wonderful than any notion of secret deals or magical guitars or elves sneaking in to the studio at night to lay tracks while Alex snoozes in the corner.
His work is geared towards young folk, but unlike much of the material in that genre, his is very cleverly written and is a great deal of fun to listen to no matter what your age. This latest album, Welcome to Awesometown is no exception. And while I mean to delve in to the album itself, I feel compelled to say a little more about Alex first.
You see, Alex is a phenomenally gifted performer and writer and as such he could turn that prodigious talent in any direction he chooses. He could ride whatever the latest trend of progressive bluegrass/jazz fusion/West African worldbeat music or whatever the kids are raving about these days, and he’d be a smashing success, but instead he focuses on music for children and the man deserves a medal for it.
Not many people get famous for children’s music, there isn’t a whole lot of recognition or kudos or even much attention at all paid to the genre, but Alex knows that cliché or not, children are the future and by creating music for them that is every bit as sophisticated as any of the more adult-themed material in the world, he is instilling in them a love for well-written material that will stay with them through their teens on in to adulthood.
Alex doesn’t talk down to kids, nor does he rely on mindlessly repetitive fluff. “Lemmings” is a whimsical track about peer pressure. “Gentle Man” is a touching reimagining of the Skynyrd classic “Simple Man” that is a far better collection of life lessons about being kind and decent to people and one of my personal favorites. “Megladon” is a playful primer on everything you ever wanted to know about prehistoric sharks.
“Opposite Man” is one of the more complex themes on the album, a look at why some mean people act mean, a gentle reassurance that most people just long for love and deal with that longing in sometimes contradictory ways. The tune is as relevant to grown-ups as children and further establishes the charm, wit, intelligence and caring that goes in to Volz’s music.
The album is currently available on Bandcamp via Alex Volz, and the man himself will be performing at Granfalloon on Saturday, January 7th. More details are available at the Granfalloon website.
I’ve written about Alex a number of times and every single time have come away more and more impressed with what he does and why he does it. Simply put, Volz is a treasure and whether you have children or not, you will find much to love about his work.
That being said, it would be a crime, if you do have little ones, to deprive them of exposure to this smart, funny man and his thoughtful, beautiful music.