No SleepyheadsGAMBIER, Ohio (May 21, 2012)
Power-pop music for children and families comes to Kenyon when Justin Roberts and the Not Ready for Naptime Players perform a free concert on Saturday, May 26, at 4:00 p.m.
Roberts '92 is a leading performer in the kiddie-rock genre and his album Jungle Gym earned a 2011 Grammy Award nomination. The Not Ready for Naptime Players will perform as a trio in the Bolton Theater. The trio includes Liam Ross '90.
The band returns for a Kenyon Reunion Weekend show, and they will greet fans at the College Bookstore on Friday, May 25, at 4:00 p.m. The weekend's activities also include a visit by Wild Wonders from the Columbus Zoo on Friday, May 25, at 7:30 p.m. in Bolton Theater. The zoo will bring a number of animals for an up-close visit.
Music for children, a staple for decades, has "really exploded" in recent years, Roberts said. "When people ask what I do I say, 'I've been doing a kind of melodic power pop with lyrics about childhood experiences." His musical heroes include Brian Wilson and Nick Lowe - "great melodies and great hooks."
Roberts feels unconstrained in his songwriting. "It can be for kids, but it can be for parents as well. Most human experience can be touched on what happens to a child." He has recorded nine albums, with songs including My Brother Did It, Snow Day, Stay-at-Home Dad, and Billy the Bully.
His music career started at Kenyon with the indie-rock band Pimentos for Gus. Roberts went on to work in a Minneapolis preschool. He later earned a master's in religious studies at the University of Chicago. "I thought I would teach religion at the college level. I was inspired by great religious studies teachers at Kenyon," he said. "I think a liberal arts education prepares you for a million different things. Being trained how to think helps with everything."
Roberts, based in Evanston, Illinois, is working on a new album of lullabies. The band, in its five-piece configuration, will perform in Central Park in New York City this summer.