Reporting Gordy Leach
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Grammy nominations for some big-name musicians have already been announced, but one of the categories they didn’t announce on TV is Best Children’s Album. One of the nominated groups for the category happens to be two Minneapolis residents.
The Okee Dokee Brothers were nominated for best children’s album of the year. The album is called “Can You Canoe?” and many of the songs were written while they were on a big canoe trip.
Band member Joe Mailander says he and fellow band member Justin Lansing played bars and cafes in high school and college, but decided in the last five years to do music for kids. But the Okee Dokee Brothers didn’t want their music for kids to be what they call “dumbed down” or “cheesy.”
“Hopefully now, there’s some other options for people who want something that is listenable and maybe a little bit more meaningful,” said Mailander.
Last June, Lansing and Mailander paddled the Mississippi River, from the Twin Cities to St. Louis. They hired a video crew to go along on the 30-day canoe trip, and are selling a DVD alongside their album.
They also publish their work and control everything.
“We aren’t represented by a major label,” said Mailander. “We kind of do this out of our basements. All of the business is taken care of in house. We are our own managers.”
The Best Children’s Album award won’t be part of the primetime Grammy TV show, but Mailander and Lansing are happy to be nominated with four other albums by artists they respect.
“Gives us the confidence to move forward and continue to do what we love to do, which is make music about nature and getting kids outdoors,” said Mailander.
The Okee Dokee Brothers will be at the Cedar Cultural Center with a five-piece band on Saturday, Dec. 15. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for kids.