Tales At Twilight show tonight CANCELLED

Very sorry, folks – our singer was injured this morning, and though she’ll be ok she is unable to perform this evening. We’re hoping to reschedule and will keep you all posted.


Thank you for your understanding!

New Show Announcement

Hey there, swingers!  We’ve been quiet for much of this fall while busy with our families and various work projects, but we’re very pleased to announce that we’ll be swinging our way up to the Detroit suburb of Birmingham, MI for a family concert at First United Methodist Church Of Birmingham on 23 January 2015!  We’ll be posting more specifics about the date very soon, but in the meantime we hope you enjoy this holiday classic by Bill Evans:

Albuquerque concerts rescheduled!

NOTE – our concerts at St. John’s United Methodist Church have been rescheduled for January 11/12, 2014. We’ll be making a guest appearance at the St. John’s 5pm Jazz Vespers Service on Saturday, 11 January, and performing our full set the next afternoon (12 January) at the St John’s Family Life Center at 2pm.

We’re SO excited to meet our new Albuquerque friends!

Buy1/Get1 on Black Friday

We’re running a Black Friday special today – buy a single copy of either our debut or Swings! CD and get the second one for free! This offer is good until 11.59pm on November 29, 2013.

If you miss this sale, you can still take advantage of our budget-friendly holiday packages at our store and bring jazz to all the little people in your life:

Buddy Bundle
5 CDs for $40+s/h

Playground Pack
10 CDs for $70+s/h

The Whole Shebang

Coal Train Railroad debut CD, “Live In Monophonorama” digital EP download, and “Coal Train Railroad Swings!” CD

CTRR live at the Nashville Puppet Festival this Fri-Sun

Hey, swingers – we’re going to be performing as part of the Nashville International Puppet Festival at the Main Branch library this weekend!  You’ll find us at Church Street Park (across the street from the library’s main entrance) at the following days/times:

Friday 6/21 – 2pm

Saturday 6/22 – 11am

Sunday 6/23 – 1.30pm

All the CTRR shows are FREE and open to the public.  You can find more information here at the Main Branch Library website.

Swingin’ At Cheekwood 13 June

It’s been a while since we’ve gotten to hang with our beloved Coal Train hepcats and hepkittens, so we’re SUPER psyched for our first summer show next Thursday (13 June) at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum Of Art!

The performance, part of Cheekwood’s Family Night Out series, begins at 6.30pm.   Children of Cheekwood members are admitted free.  Complete admission and event details are here.

Please come and swing along with us – we’ve missed you all!

A spring update and summer shows

Hey, Swingers!  We’ve been on a temporary hiatus since our Memphis gig but that doesn’t mean we’ve not been busy:

Katy has been tending to Rain For Roots, an album of songs about Bible stories for young children, which came into bloom in 2012.  Katy’s collaborators on RFR include Nashville recording artists Sandra McCracken, Flo Paris, Ellie Holcomb, and best-selling children’s author Sally Lloyd Jones.

After finishing out a busy fall 2012 with Emmylou Harris, Chris produced new albums for Haitian folksinger Beken and UK songwriter Danni Nicholls.  He is currently writing for some upcoming projects and occasionally venturing back to NYC to perform with Mario The Magician and the Sleight-Of-Hand Band.

Looking forward to this summer, we’re pleased to announce that we’ll be returning to both Cheekwood Botanical Garden and the Nashville Main Branch Library for concerts in June, and we’re also on the verge of announcing our first performance west of the Mississippi in August!  You can check our “live” page for the most current information.

We hope you’ve all been well and are very much looking forward to swinging with you this summer!

Chris & Katy



We’re headed your way, Memphis!

We’re excited to announce that we’re starting 2013 by adding a new stop – Memphis, TN – on Coal Train Railroad’s journey of jazz around the US!

You can come see us next Saturday morning, 12 January 2013, at the beautiful Germantown Performing Arts Centre (GPAC).  We’ll be holding performances at 9.30 and 10.30am for GPAC’s “Peanut Butter & Jam” sessions.  Tickets ($8 per child with 2 accompanying adults) can be reserved here at GPAC’s ticketing page.

Stay tuned for more exciting announcements about our 2013 performance schedule.  Here’s a hint of where you’ll likely find us later this year…

We’re currently #11 on the Sirius XM KiDS Place LiVE chart!

Coal Train Railroad’s klezmer-inspired “Do It Again” is scaling SIRIUS XM’S KiDS Place LiVE 13under13 Countdown, neck-in-neck with Sierra Leone’s Refugee All Stars and the soundtrack of “Brave”!  Many thanks to the mighty Micah Hulscher, Derico Watson, and Jeff Coffin for helping make that track a listener favorite.

You can track our chart progress at the KiDS Place LiVE fan site and request more CTRR jazz here at the Sirius XM KiDS Place LiVE website!


We’re partnering with National Wildlife Federation for our Wolf Trap debut next week!

OK, kids – hot off the presses of Wolf Trap and The National Wildlife Federation, here’s the lowdown on our Wolf Trap concerts next Tuesday and Wednesday, July 10-11:

Nashville’s acclaimed “jazz for kids” combo Coal Train Railroad will announce the adoption of its song “Dirt” by The National Wildlife Federation’s (NWF) Be Out There movement on July 10 and 11 at the group’s DC-area debut at Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods, presented by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and the National Park Service. Railroad will perform songs from their hit CDs including the track ‘Dirt’  which is the official song for NWF’s Be Out There campaign. During Coal Train Railroad’s appearance at Children’s Theatre-in-the-woods, NWF’s Be Out There stickers will be available for children, as well as additional information for parents about this important initiative.
We’re thrilled to see our song ‘Dirt’ used to promote an outdoor lifestyle for kids that will re-connect them to nature and get them a little dirty – and healthy!” says Coal Train Railroad producer/co-creator Chris Donohue,Wolf Trap’s beautiful Theater-in-the-Woods is a perfect place to celebrate the joys of being outside while laying down some jazz.” 
Led by Donohue, bassist for the likes of Emmylou Harris and other music luminaries, and vocalist/co-creatorKaty Bowser, Coal Train Railroad performs original jazz songs from a child’s perspective that cover topics of interest to kids: dirt (of course), bellybuttons, and underwear-clad superheroes battling monsters!  Kids in the audience are encouraged to riff, sing, and dance along with the musicians.  The group followed up its acclaimed debut recording (named a Kids Pick Of 2010 by Time Out New York Magazine) with a Summer Podcast Series, a digital EP entitled “Live in Monophonorama”, and a February 2011 debut at New York’s prestigious Lincoln Center.  The group’s enthusiastically-received second full-length album, “Swings!”, was released in December 2011 and features a guest appearance by Dave Matthews Band/Flecktone veteran Jeff Coffin.
Be Out There is NWF’s national movement to help American families raise happier, healthier children with a life-long love of nature. Kids today spend twice as much time indoors as their parents did, missing out on the simple pleasures and lasting mental and physical health benefits of daily outdoor time. Be Out There provides parents with tools and solutions to make being outside a fun, healthy and automatic part of their children’s everyday lives.
Besides being so much fun, getting exposure to dirt or mud can actually help kids lead happier, healthier lives,” said Meri-Margaret Deoudes, Vice President of NWF’s Be Out There movement. “Coal Train Railroad’s music married with Wolf Trap’s outdoor theatre are in perfect harmony with our mission to get kids back outside experiencing the many benefits that come along with playing in the great outdoors.
Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods is a unique outdoor venue located within America’s only National Park for the Performing Arts behind the Filene Center. A tradition for generations throughout the Washington D.C. area, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods offers music, dance, theatre, puppetry, and storytelling.  Performances are recommended for children 4 and up. Ticket prices range from $8 to $10 and children under two are free. Theatre-in-the-Woods patrons are encouraged to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy after the show and take part in National Park Service Programs.  The 2012 season will run from June 26 through August 11.  New in 2012, the Theatre-in-the-Woods programming plan features one performance per day, Tuesdays – Saturdays, at a new time of 10:30 am. For more information on Theatre-in-the-Woods, visit the Wolf Trap website at www.wolftrap.org. 
Our goal this season is to present performances that mirror the diverse programming of the Filene Center and The Barns at Wolf Trap,” said Erin Perry, Assistant Director Of Education Outreach at Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts.  “Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods’ beautiful, natural setting is the perfect venue for children to enjoy the performing arts. Our theatre may be the first place children see a play, rock concert, ballet, puppet show, or jazz band, so we strive to bring in inspiring, creative, dynamic, high-quality groups like Coal Train Railroad. The band’s relationship with NWF is icing on the cake, and weare thrilled to support the partnership between Coal Train Railroad and NWF.”

DIRT (The Movie)

It was a beautiful day in the neighborhood, so where was everybody?  Out at the dirt pile, of course!  Enjoy a glimpse into Coal Train Railroad’s neighborhood and the kids who inspired Dirt!  You can find Dirt and the rest of the songs from Coal Train Railroad Swings at our store.  Now go get dirty!

CTRR makes (another) Time Out New York Kids “Best-Of” list

This is turning out to be quite a week – yesterday we not only got to formally announce our upcoming concerts at Wolf Trap Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods this July 10/11, but we also heard that CTRR had been selected as one of the Top 25 “Best Bands For Kids” by Time Out New York Kids Magazine!

It’s a thrill to share this honor with such performers as They Might Be Giants, Dan Zanes, Gustafer Yellowgold, Justin Roberts, and twenty distinguished others.  Our sincerest thanks to the editorial staff at TONYK and to all of our loyal hep-cats – we’re blown away by your support.



We’re bringing jazz to Wolf Trap!

We’re delighted to finally share the news that we’re making our second major debut in the northeast as part of Wolf Trap’s Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods 2012 Season!

Wolf Trap’s picturesque Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods is a unique outdoor venue located within America’s only National Park for the Performing Arts behind the Filene Center. A tradition for generations throughout the Washington D.C. area, Children’s Theatre-in-the-Woods offers music, dance, theatre, puppetry, and storytelling.

Swinging along with us those days are two acclaimed talents in the DC jazz scene.  On piano, we welcome Washingtonian Magazine’s “Best In Jazz” pianist Bill Harris.  Bill has released four CDs both as a solo artist and as leader of the Compass Quartet (featuring Albert “Tootie” Heath), served as Musical Director for the inaugural year of the Smithsonian’s IMAX Jazz Cafe, and has performed at jazz festivals and other legendary venues nationwide. Drummer Tony Martucci has been featured on numerous CDs (including two as bandleader), toured on four continents, and worked with such artists as Mose Allison, Gary Burton, Joe Henderson, Joshua Redman, and Sonny Stitt.

Our concerts, sponsored by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts and the National Park Service, will begin at 10.30am on July 10 and 11.  Tickets are $8 (children under 2 are free) and will go on sale this Saturday, April 28.  Tickets may be purchased online, by phone at 1-877-WOLFTRAP, or in person at the Filene Center Box Office.  Click here for complete ticketing information and policies.

Lincoln Center in 2011, Wolf Trap in 2012…we can’t wait to see where the music will take us next!  (:


Summer 2012 shows (mostly) announced

Heads up, Nashville swingers: you can now check out some of our summer itinerary at the “live” page of our website.

FYI, there’s a big announcement coming next month about another very prestigious (and beautiful) out-of-town gig we’ve just confirmed for July.  That’s all we can tell you for now…except that it’s in the northeastern contiguous United States.  (;

More soon!

CTRR live webcast from Parnassus Books on February 4

To our friends in Nashville and around the world:  our quartet will be coming to you live this Saturday (February 4) at 3pm CST from Parnassus Books, Nashville’s newest independent bookstore co-owned by Karen Hayes and best-selling author Ann Patchett

Anyone can register to watch the show on StageIt.com.  As this is our first webcasting experiment, we’ve made just 25 “tickets” available on a pay-what-you-can basis (StageIt asks that you purchase $5 worth of “notes” up front, though you can use those on any upcoming StageIt performance).  Wherever in the world you may be watching from, please email your feedback afterward on how we can make it even cooler the next time.

To our Nashville friends – come prepared to swing and, of course, read a book with us.  See you there!


A Musical And Literary Start to 2012

We’d like to start the new year off by thanking everyone who ordered our new “Swings!” record for the holidays – you kept us very busy during November and December!

There are lots of great things ahead for CTRR in 2012 starting with two performances at the Nashville Main Branch Library this month.  We’ll be featured performers in the Children’s Theater on January 20 and 21 with shows at 10.30 and 11.30am on both days.  Not only will we play a full set of music, but we’ll also be sharing aloud a favorite book with help from some special library friends.

On February 4, we’ll hold our first-ever webcast concert via StageIt.com at Parnassus Books (located in the Green Hills neighborhood of Nashville) at 4pm.  It’ll be the first chance that our friends around the world can join us for a live show via the web!

Also, for a limited time you can join 5,000 other people who have already downloaded our free ten-song CTRR/Noise Trade sampler (and we’ll thank you in advance for your generous tips that are used to pay our recording and manufacturing expenses).

More news coming soon, so watch this space!

CD Release Party this Saturday at Ugly Mugs

We are lovingly grateful for The Nashville Scene’s feature of our Swings! CD release concert this Saturday.  Many, many thanks to Jim Ridley.  Read on:

There are far worse things to indoctrinate your kids into than jazz. These pied-piper pushers of syncopation mean to serve as your children’s gateway to everything from Blossom Dearie to the giant who gives the group its punning name, just as Schoolhouse Rock hipped ’70s youngsters to Dearie and Bob Dorough. Bassist-producer Chris Donohue has played or recorded alongside a roster of stellar artists — Emmylou Harris, Elvis Costello and Robert Plant, to name just a few — but he sounds like he’s having the time of his life backing Nashville singer-songwriter Katy Bowser, whose bubbly, burbling delivery meets your sugared-up tots on common ground. On “I’m Diggin’ Me,” the first track on their new CD Swings!, Bowser comes on like Junie B. Jones fronting an Ella Fitzgerald session, slinging syllables like snap pops as she takes pride in her Wonder Woman Underoos. But don’t worry that you’re getting OK-for-kids jazz — or worse, a dose of musical castor oil you choke down “because it’s good for you.” This is all cheery, hip-swinging insouciance, and jaded jazzbo parents will have no problems joining their tots on board.” — Jim Ridley

Zooglobble weighs in on CTRR Swings!

Here’s yesterday’s review of CTRR Swings! from Stefan Shepherd at www..com:

“There are not many artists who play jazz for kids, which is a sad thing. Sad not because Jazz Is The American Art Form and more kids should be aware of their country’s musical heritage (even though that statement is true). Sad because jazz can be one of the most playful musical forms, and who plays better than kids?

On their second album, Coal Train Railroad Swings!, Nashville’s Coal Train Railroad are every bit as playful as their pint-sized primary audience, adding several musical exclamation points to that in the title. From the get-go vocalist Katy Bowser throws herself into the preschool-focused lyrics with abandon. On the swingin’ leadoff track “I’m Diggin’ Me,” Bowser sounds hopped up on pixie sticks as she fully inhabits the bouncing-off-the-walls-let’s-play-superheroes! narrator. On big band-inspired “Dirt,” I love the way Bowser throws off the word “dirt” at the end of every line, a statement of fact mixed with “what-are-ya-gonna-do?” insouciance. And I think you can probably guess the vocal approach she takes on the gypsy-jazz “I Hab a Code.”

Which isn’t to imply that the music is just jokey — they come from a kid-centered focus. Bowser can turn in gorgeous vocals as well, as on “With A Box.” And she’s very ably backed up by her CTRR co-founder, producer and bassist Christopher Donohue, and the rest of the band. They provide great accompaniment, playful when necessary, solid through and through. The album is very preschool-focused lyrically, which may very well restrict the repeatability for folks when kids aren’t around, though the album closer, the gorgeous “On Our Swings,” is a worthy successor to the West Coast jazz sound Vince Guaraldi made famous to a broad audience via the Peanuts TV specials.

The album is more appropriate for kids ages 2 through 7, though that’s a lyrical distinction — musically, it works for everyone. You can hear the whole 27-minute album via the widget at the bottom of the page.

I liked Coal Train Railroad’s debut, but I really like Coal Train Railroad Swings!. If it’s not quite the all-ages classic that Medeski Martin & Wood’s Let’s Go Everywhere is, it gets close. It’s musical, smart, and, most importantly, fun. Definitely recommended.”

A swingin’ head of steam

The launch of the new record has been amazing – thank you to all of our new friends and fans!

Here’s an early review from Jonathan Rogers at www.rabbitroom.com:

I didn’t know it, but I loved jazz when I was a kid. I was a huge fan of the Vince Guaraldi trio. I didn’t know that either. I only knew that the music for A Charlie Brown Christmas was one of the best things I had ever heard. It was a risky move to pair grown-up jazz music with an animated children’s show in 1965; it would be a risky move now, in the era of Thundercats and Sponge Bob Squarepants. But the Charlie Brown specials have always made it seem that jazz for kids is the most natural thing in the world.

The jazz combo Coal Train Railroad–Katy Bowser, Chris Donohue, and a rotating cast of exceedingly talented instrumentalists–works on that very assumption, that jazz is great music for kids. More to the point, they demonstrate that jazz and kids are a natural combination. Their new record, Coal Train Railroad Swings, releases today. Musically, this is the real deal. Inspired by traditional swing jazz and seasoned with a dash of polka and a little bit of Tom Waits, the musicianship is stellar. Katy Bowser’s vocals are a miracle–expressive and very fun, but also technically astonishing. She performs a vocal run at the end of “Get My Wiggles Out” that is positively pyrotechnic. One wonders if she could possibly do it the same way twice.

That’s Coal Train Railroad Swings! for you: genuine virtuosity in the service of a song about getting one’s wiggles out. The same virtuosity is exercised in songs about going to the pool, leaving a lunch bag out in the rain, suffering from the common cold (“I Hab a Code”), and getting dirty (of dirt, Katy asks, “What am I supposed to do? This stuff is everywhere!”).

The subject matter is perfectly relevant to the toddler set, but there is no condescension here. I have heard Katy Bowser speak of “inviting children into the conversation” with her art. To put it another way, Coal Train Railroad says to kids, “Jazz is your music too.” Indeed, in many ways, children are more ready for jazz than adults. For a baby learning to speak, talking is a lot like scat-singing. A baby plays with the sounds and rhythms of words before he knows exactly what to do with their meanings. Katy tells of her baby daughter Story’s ongoing riffs on the words “broccoli” (“bockly”) and “book,” repeating them over and over with different intonations and pronunciations and cadences.

The great revelation of Coal Train Railroad’s music is that jazz, which seems urbane, highbrow, and frankly intimidating to many grownups, can be entirely accessible. I don’t even own a turtleneck, but still I love this music. Watching my own children enjoy Coal Train Railroad Swings! has reminded me that jazz, that great American form, is my music too.


Swing early!

With pre-orders chugging their way across the world, Coal Train Railroad is available digitally TODAY, only through Bandcamp. (All other orders begin December 1.)  You could be swinging in a matter of minutes!

CTRR live – December 2011

As we count down the minutes until our shipment of CTRR Swings! CDs arrives, it seems a great time to let you know about some live shows in Nashville next month:

December 13-14 / 9.30, 10.30, 11.30am / Nashville Main Library Storytime We return to visit our human and puppet friends at Nashville’s Main Branch Library!  We’ll accompany Professor, Library Pete, and Mary Mary during their book readings and activities, and also perform a few songs from our new record in public for the very first time!

December 17 / 4pm / CD Release Concert at Ugly Mugs Coffee & Tea Our favorite local coffeeshop was the site of our first CD release party (and first-ever public performance) back in January 2010, and was the sponsor of our “Jump@7″ podcast.  What better place to celebrate the release of our second CD and play a full set for our neighborhood crowd?  This set will focus on new songs, but we’ll of course play a few CTRR standards from the first album.

Pre-order today and get a head-start on learning these new lyrics so you can sing along with us!  Our pre-order specials are in place until midnight tonight.




CTRR Swings! pre-order specials end November 25

Boy, talk about a quick turnaround – exactly three weeks ago we finished tracking the new CTRR Swings! album, and we’re already anticipating shipping off the first round of pre-orders this Friday!

Speaking of “Black Friday”, it’s the perfect time to show your support for local businesses and independent music by snapping up some copies of our new album for the little hep-cats in your world.  Take advantage of our Buddy Bundle or Playground Pack bargains and you can check quite a few names off your gift-giving list, too!

Single copies can be ordered NOW for $10+s/h and we’ll continue these pre-order specials through this Friday, 25 November:
Buddy Bundle: 5 CDs for $40+s/h
Playground Pack: 10 CDs for $70+s/h
The Whole Shebang: Coal Train Railroad debut CD, “Live In Monophonorama” digital EP download, and “Coal Train Railroad Swings!” CD $20+s/h

Swings! videos

Swings! has swung!

We’ve officially wrapped the new record and it’s off to manufacture this week! Among the various moments of ridiculosity contained therein, these ten new and hard-swinging Coal Train Railroad songs contain vignettes about battling super-villians in your underwear, turning boxes into biospheres, and losing one’s favorite blankie to a hippo. We can’t wait to share them with you in a couple of weeks!

Single copies can be ordered NOW for $10+s/h, plus we’re offering these pre-order specials:

Buddy Bundle: 5 CDs for $40+s/h
Playground Pack: 10 CDs for $70+s/h
The Whole Shebang: Coal Train Railroad debut CD, “Live In Monophonorama” digital EP download, and “Coal Train Railroad Swings!” CD $20+s/h

Here are a few random images from our week in the studio. Video to come soon!

We’re in the studio today!

The last ten months have certainly been exhilarating! We released a new EP, welcomed the newest addition to the CTRR family, had our debut CD named a best kids’ album of 2010 by Time Out NY Kids Magazine, made our debut at Lincoln Center, and performed summer concerts at the Nashville Puppet Festival and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.

So now, to wrap up 2011 with a big bang, we’re recording our new album “Coal Train Railroad SWINGS!” today and tomorrow at Swinglewood Studio!

This collection of ten brand-new Coal Train tunes will begin shipping later this month in time for the holidays. You can help give our “swing” a push (and gain access to great package deals) by pre-ordering your copies today from our website.

Single copies can be ordered for $10+s/h, plus we’re offering these pre-order specials:

Buddy Bundle: 5 CDs for $40+s/h
Playground Pack: 10 CDs for $70+s/h
The Whole Shebang: Coal Train Railroad debut CD, “Live In Monophonorama” digital EP download, and “Coal Train Railroad Swings!” CD $20+s/h

Thanks for staying tuned to our website this week for updates and video from the recording sessions!

CTRR live at Musician’s Corner this Saturday

We’re taking a quick break from production of the new record to play Musician’s Corner this Saturday (22 Oct) at Centennial Park! Be there at 3pm sharp with your dancing shoes and outdoor voices at the ready.

Preorder The New Album “Coal Train Railroad Swings!”

The last ten months have certainly been exhilarating!  We released a new EP, welcomed the newest addition to the CTRR family, had our debut CD named a best kids’ album of 2010 by Time Out NY Kids Magazine, made our debut at Lincoln Center, and performed summer concerts at the Nashville Puppet Festival and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens.  How to follow all of that up?  By heading back to Swinglewood Studio next month to record our second full-length album!  

“Coal Train Railroad Swings!”, a collection of ten brand-new Coal Train tunes, will begin shipping in late November 2011.  You can help give our “swing” a push (and gain access to great package deals) by pre-ordering your copies today from our website.  You can order single copies for $10+s/h, or choose from these pre-order specials:

Buddy Bundle
5 CDs for $40+s/h

Playground Pack
10 CDs for $70+s/h

The Whole Shebang

Coal Train Railroad debut CD, “Live In Monophonorama” digital EP download, and “Coal Train Railroad Swings!” CD

Be sure to watch our website for updates and video from the recording sessions, and have a swingin’ September in the meantime!

Back to Lincoln Center!

Hey, New Yawk – come and meet our amazing friend Mario The Magician this Saturday morning at The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center!  Mario is a brilliant magician and entertainer that you simply can’t afford to miss.  Old-time jazz will be provided by The Sleight of Hand Band featuring Avi Rothbard (gtr), Aaron Heick (sax), and CTRR’s own Chris Donohue and Tanner Jacobsen on bass and drums.

11am showtime/admission free.

The Tennessean talks CTRR and music for kids

Thanks to Jessica Bliss for her fantastic article on the kid’s music scene in Nashville in The Tennessean- lots of great insight.  We loved talking to her, and Story enjoyed her first official photo shoot for Coal Train!  (Can you tell?)



Lincoln Center – The Movie

We’re pleased to present, courtesy of Seamus Frawley at American Made Media, the mini-documentary of our Lincoln Center performance in February (narrated by the fabulous Ms. Milkshake). Two complete performances of “Bellybutton” and “Spider And The Fly” follow the movie!

Kids Rock Nashville

Our Kids Rock Nashville interview is coming up this Thursday, February 24, at 4p CST!  You can listen live in Nashville on 107.1FM or stream it live here.

A New York Story…With Jazz

The Donohue and Hutson families arrived in Manhattan Thursday afternoon with only hotel check-in and a hearty dinner on the agenda.  We were accompanied by filmmaker Seamus Frawley and his wife Lindsay Lawler, who were kind enough to donate their time and talents to document the weekend on film and assist with various other logistical tasks. Baby Story was nonchalant about the air travel and airport shuttle, staying comfortably nestled against her parents the entire trip.

We rehearsed Friday in the A Room of Michiko, a studio in midtown designed specifically with the needs of jazz musicians in mind.  There we met our old friend Tanner Jacobsen (drummer on the CTRR debut album) as well as a new friend, the exceptionally talented pianist/educator Asen Doykin.  Asen came highly recommended to us by a mutual friend, and from the first notes of his lush and playful interpretations of the CTRR repetoire we immediately settled into an afternoon of jamming with wide smiles on our faces.

Call-time was 9am at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center on Saturday.  The staff and technical crew of the Atrium could not have been more helpful, anticipating all of our needs and treating us like cherished members of the extended Lincoln Center family.

Photo by Tanya Braganti (www.tanyabraganti.com)

It has been our experience that parents and caregivers prefer (understandably) to arrive with their kids with as little down-time as possible before a childrens’ event begins, and so tend to turn up only a few minutes prior to its designated start time.  How thrilling, then, to see the Atrium filling up with little New Yorkers ready to swing a full half-hour before downbeat!  This continued until shortly after the concert began, when the Atrium staff was forced to close the doors and admit more people only as space became available.

Photo by Tanya Braganti (www.tanyabraganti.com)

Having such a wonderfully active and engaged capacity crowd to play for (and with), we had so much fun during the show that for a moment we were concerned that we’d go over our time without getting through our entire set.  As it happened, we finished with enough time to take a couple of questions and also lead the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday” for Tanner.  As Katy made her final exit into the front rows to shake some (mostly little) hands, Asen, Tanner, and myself launched into a few instrumental choruses of “Straight, No Chaser” (which seemed entirely appropriate considering that Thelonious Monk, the tune’s composer, was raised only two blocks away).  After the concert, we celebrated and caught up with family members and dear friends at PJ Clarke’s, just around the corner.

When our return flight from LGA had to be re-routed yesterday at the very last minute, Team Coal Train’s quick reflexes and some very helpful USAir gate agents ensured that we arrived safely back in Nashville last night.  The now-seasoned traveler Story Jane again took the whole journey in stride, eating and sleeping comfortably for most of the trip.

We are deeply grateful to Tom Dunn, Hillary Plate, Jordana Phokompe, Brant Murray, Marian Skokan, and the rest of the staff of the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center for their enthusiasm, kindness, and professionalism.  We’re also indebted to all of CTRR’s fans, friends, and Kickstarters for their ongoing support as we share our love of jazz with kids around the world.  We could not have imagined or asked for a more stylish or exciting New York debut.

We’re going to make sure we meet again in New York sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, we’ll keep you posted on the development of a short documentary film about Coal Train’s journey to Lincoln Center!

Thank you again, one and all,

Chris (& Katy)

Ready…set…swing, New Yawk!

The big day is here at last!  Come rain, flurries, or chilly sunshine we’ll see you 11a today at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center.  The show is free and open to the public, so grab your favorite grownups and come swing along with us! 

Coal Train Railroad’s NYC debut on February 5

Come jam with us on Saturday, February 5th at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center!  The 11am show is free and open to the public, and we’ll also have the chance to chat with audience members during a Q&A session.

Joining us on this date: Tanner Jacobsen, a dear friend and brilliant Brooklyn-based drummer/composer featured on our debut CD, and the amazing NYC-based pianist/composer/educator Asen Doykin on piano.  We couldn’t be more excited about getting to work with such talented musicians.

We’d like to say thanks again not only to the staff of the Rubenstein Atrium for the invitation to play in their beautiful space, but also to our Kickstarters for their generosity and vision – we’ll be swinging our hardest for all of you!

In the meantime…

Several holidays, snow days, and one adorable baby girl later, January is flying by here on the Coal Train Railroad.  Katy and Kenny have been nesting with little Story Jane, while also finding time to record a bit and take care of home projects.  Chris made a quick trip to Australia with Emmylou Harris, recorded a new album with Tiffany and co-wrote a single for her latest movie, and is preparing to co-produce an EP for Chicago roots-rockers The August.

Watch this space for more developments as our Lincoln Center performance draws near (just two weeks from this Saturday!)

A new Story to share!!!

We’re thrilled to be able to formally introduce Miss Story Jane Hutson, born to Katy and Kenny last Thursday (30 December)!  Our hearts are bursting with joy and celebration for this captivating little girl.  Many, many congratulations to Story and her sweet parents…

We’re officially NYC bound

We’ve surpassed our goal on Kickstarter…oops, correction – YOU’VE made it!   Thanks so much to all of our patrons for making this dream happen for us.  CLICK HERE to see our “over 100%” plan.

We – Coal Train Railroad & Co – will see you at the David Rubenstein Atrium At Lincoln Center on February 5 at 11 am!


Lincoln Center – the home stretch

Only 48 hours left to raise the last $370 needed to complete our journey to Lincoln Center in February!

The campaign ends this Saturday (18 December) at 9.37am CST so thanks for spreading the word about the little Coal Train that could…
View Coal Train Railroad – Nashville to NYC in a larger map

Update: The Road To NYC

Thanks to our Kickstarter friends we’re 81% of the way to Lincoln Center!
We have just 3 days left to cover the remaining 169 miles (or $380) and reach our Kickstarter target, so thanks for continuing to spread the word of our NYC debut to friends, parents, and all lovers of family-friendly jazz.

View Coal Train Railroad – Nashville to NYC in a larger map

We’re updating the above Google Map daily, and you can also check our real-time progress in the Kickstarter widget on the right-hand side of this page.

We’re on Ages 3 and Up’s Best of 2010!

Delighted to be in Ages 3 and Up’s top 21 of 2010!  A special surprise from one of our favorite kid’s culture blogs.  We’re honored to be in such good company on such a great site!

CTRR a Time Out New York Kids pick of 2010!

More great news out of NYC: Time Out New York Kids has named our debut CD one of their top kids albums of 2010! In addition, there’s a post about the Monophonorama EP and upcoming Lincoln Center performance here on the magazine’s Joyride blog. We’re very honored by the attention – thanks, folks.

OWTK’s first take on “Monophonorama”

A nice mention of the new EP went up yesterday on Out With The Kids – check it out!

CTRR named a Zooglobble top debut of 2010!

We’re honored to have been granted a place on Zooglobble’s Best Kids Music Debuts for 2010. As parents and working musicians, we wholeheartedly endorse Stefan Shepherd’s views on the need for stylistic diversity in family music!

“Live In Monophonorama” is on the air!

Our new “Live in Monophonorama” EP has officially hit the (digital) airwaves and is now available at our online store!

Included in this collection of new recordings from the 2010 Summer Podcast Series are two CTRR standards arranged for voice and piano trio, our version of “Bicycle” by The Jellydots, the funky “Spider and the Fly” (written by our dear friend and KC jazz legend “Mama” Myra Taylor), the folk classic “Chocolate Ice Cream Cone”, and a quirky original Coal Train jump-blues entitled “Jump@7”.

Give your kids the gift of jazz for the holidays!

We’re (metaphorically) over 1/4 of the way to Lincoln Center!

Here’s a mapped illustration of where our Kickstarter campaign has us on the road to our New York City debut in February. As you can see by the red arrow, we’re about to pass Johnson City, TN and making a beeline for the Virginia border. Just about two weeks to go to hit our target – The David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. All reet, Kickstarters!

Don’t forget – the “Live In Monophonorama” EP hits our BandCamp site at the stroke of midnight tonight…

Thanks, Kickstarters!

Our Kickstarter status this morning has the Coal Train rumbling just to the south of Lexington, KY on its way to New York City and our February 5, 2011 debut at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center. Thanks to all of the Kickstarters who have taken us this far! You’ll notice we’ve added a Kickstarter widget in the sidebar to the right so you can monitor our progress.

More news coming shortly about the release of our “Live In Monophonorama” EP on Wednesday, a very prominent New York entertainment publication that’s taken notice of our music, and our upcoming appearance at the East Nashville Christmas Fest…

We made the OWTK 2010 Gift Guide!

Plenty of reasons to be thankful today – Jeff Bogle has included the Coal Train Railroad debut CD in OWTK’s 2010 Holiday Gift Guide, our new “Live In Monophonorama” EP hits in just five days, and our Kickstarter friends have gotten us nearly one-quarter of the way to Lincoln Center/NYC with twenty days to go!

A New York City debut in 2011 – and how!

We’re thrilled to announce that Coal Train Railroad will be a featured artist of Lincoln Center’s Meet The Artist Saturday family workshop series on February 5, 2011 at the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center in New York City!

To help offset the cost of airfares, hotel rooms near Lincoln Center (so Katy can comfortably travel and settle-in with her brand-new baby girl, due in early January), and other related logistical expenses, we’re conducting a Kickstarter “crowdfunding” campaign. For CTRR friends and fans that would like to help us underwrite this dream come true, we’re offering several different premiums to show our sincerest thanks!

The librarians approve.

Big thanks to Kids’ Music for Libraries for their glowing review. It’s always great to hear anyone- let alone a librarian for kids- enjoying what Coal Train Railroad is up to!
As Nashville knows, we Coal Train cats dig our libraries.

Podcast Six: Jump@7!

Good morning, kids! School is in session again, so we’ve dedicated this final edition of the Summer Podcast Series (brought to you by Ugly Mugs Coffee & Tea) to getting up early. Click on the player below and you’ll hear Ella Mae Morse talk about her encounter with forty cups of coffee, three year-old Evan discuss his own personal morning routine, and the world premiere of a brand-new CTRR song entitled “Jump@7″! We still can’t figure out how Shorty Peppertone managed to fit all those farm animals into the studio…

icon for podpress  Episode #006 - Jump@7! (Sponsored by Ugly Mugs Coffee & Tea) [13:00m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download