Tomato time!

In celebration of Coal Train Railroad’s debut at Tomato Art Fest this coming Saturday, we’ll be posting some of our favorite tomato-themed songs on our Facebook page throughout the week. Who knows – maybe we’ll cook up our own version of a musical tomato classic and premiere it that morning! (-;

Back to The Show!

Dig it – the Coal Train Quartet returns to Nashville’s Main Branch Library this Friday and Saturday (6/7 August)! We’re thrilled to be introducing “My Chocolate Ice Cream Cone” and “Spider And The Fly” (songs premiered in our Summer Podcast Series) into the live set for the very first time. Performances begin at 10.30am. Visit the Nashville Public Library website for more info. Swing ya there, all reet!

Podcast #5 – What’s Mine Is Yours

In the penultimate edition of our Summer Podcast Series we share our studio, drumsticks, favorite coffee mug, and dartboard with Tony James, co-host of Playhouse Disney’s beloved “Out Of The Box” program. There’s also music by Nat King Cole and the Coal Train Railroad Quartet (who still await Shorty Peppertone’s return), and a story of a not-so-jolly giant who’s refreshed by a visit to The Turnip Truck Natural Market, our sponsor!

icon for podpress  Episode #5 - What's Mine Is Yours [18:17m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Hooray for the podcasts from Retro Mod Momma

Thanks to Lauri, mama of Madi, wife of Stephen, our engineer and mixmaster, and blogger at Retro Mod Momma for her enthusiastic endorsement of our summer podcast series- read it here!

And to subscribe to the podcast series on iTunes, click here!

Just The Juice, Jack – The Readee!

Prompted by Stefan Shepherd over at Zooglobble, we offered “Just The Juice, Jack!” to Michael Rachap, creator of the Readeez series, for re-interpretation as a learn-to-read video and are absolutely delighted by the result!  We highly recommend the Readeez video series – they’re fun, imaginative, and charming tools to help kids build their reading skills.  Visit the Readeez website and tell Michael we sent you!

*Due to size restrictions the iPod version is posted here. You’ll find the full-def version at our YouTube channel.

Live from Lilith Fair!

Chris had the pleasure of introducing “Mama” Myra Taylor (see podcast #2) to Emmylou Harris at the Lilith Fair in Kansas City yesterday!  They took a brief pause from talking baseball to pose for a really cute photo (thanks to Lou Dare).

Podcast #4 – Ice Cream!

In this edition of the summer podcast series, sponsored by The Pied Piper Creamery, Katy and Chris are joined in the studio by two young ice-cream experts named Minty and Milkshake, Louis Prima orders a banana split, and the Coal Train Quartet premieres its own frosty-whipped version of “My Chocolate Ice Cream Cone”.  Click on the player below to listen!

icon for podpress  Episode #4 - Ice Cream! (sponsored by The Pied Piper Creamery) [13:21m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download


Thank you for this unique and amazing gift from Sandra Oster in New Zealand. Our belly buttons will never be the same.

Podcast #3 – Listening/Tantrums

In the third installment of our Summer 2010 Podcast Series, Chris is distracted by buttons in the studio and has a hard time listening to Katy, who gets impatient with Chris, and all manner of fussiness then ensues.  Fortunately, our hosts work it out in the end after some advice from Billie Holiday (pictured here in 1917) and a couple of pre-school songwriters.  The Coal Train Railroad quartet wraps things up with a live in-studio version of “It’s Hard To Listen”.

Many thanks to our sponsor – the little red-haired fairy at Fairytales Bookstore (  Click on the player below to listen or download!

icon for podpress  Episode #3 - Listening/Tantrums (sponsored by Fairytales Bookstore & More [13:51m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

A neighborhood concert

Thanks to everyone who came out to Bongo Java’s Bongo-Roo concert series this past Saturday.  Jazz, children dancing with popsicles- how can you miss?  An absolute joy to play for you, East Nashville (and all of you who came from Franklin!)

New Coal Train togs!

Wear your Coal Train Railroad love loud &  proud, little ones!  Our new line of toddler T-shirts and onesies by Rabbit Skins is available at our store- come see!

Podcast #2 “The Spider and the Fly”

In this edition we speak with the 93 year-old Kansas City jazz legend “Mama” Myra Taylor, listen to the Victrola, chat about bugs with some second-graders, have a snack, and present the world premiere of Coal Train Railroad’s version of Myra’s composition “The Spider and the Fly”.  Large thanks to our sponsor Fanny’s House Of MusicClick on the player below! 

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [16:20m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Podcast #2 – Myra Taylor interview excerpts

Meet our very special guest for Podcast #2, “Mama” Myra Taylor, 93 year-old Kansas City jazz legend, composer of “The Spider and the Fly”, and the woman who introduced the Charleston to Oakland, CA!  Click on the player below to hear Myra discuss baby-talk and Count Basie.  As a bonus, there’s also a lovely a capella performance of her unrecorded song “Black Angel”. (We recommend parents preview this segment prior to sharing it with their kids – it’s about a little boy who is on his way to heaven and would provide great fodder for discussion as parents deem appropriate.)

You can find out more about Myra’s life and career in this 2008 article from

Curious about the Charleston?  Click here for a demonstration by Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball.

icon for podpress  Standard Podcast [8:25m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Zooglobbley goodness

Thanks to Zooglobble for their kind words about our summer podcast series!  They get all kinds of good stuff together over there- have a look-see.

Coal Train’s on Pandora!

Go make yourself a Coal Train Railroad station on Pandora! Their description: kid-friendly vibe, subtle use of vocal harmony, demanding instrumental part writing. Awesome.  We’re honored to be on this favorite for finding music that people love.

Podcast #1 – “Bicycle”

Brought to you live in Monophonarama (simulated AM radio), the first official Coal Train Radio podcast has arrived!

Sponsored by Eastside Cycles, this edition features interviews with young cyclists, elementary school poets reading their bicycle-themed works, and the original The Jellydots version of “Bicycle” along with Coal Train’s cover version!

Press the Play button below and enjoy a listen!

icon for podpress  Episode #001 - Bicycle (Sponsored by Eastside Cycles) [17:50m]: Play Now | Play in Popup | Download

Love from

Thanks for the plug for this morning’s library gig,!  And they have a sense of humor:

“This is Nashville, and I know that all Nashvillian mommas and daddies want their kids to be musical at a young age. I mean, how else are those kids gonna get work before they’re two?”

Read the whole thing here.

Meet our voiceover artists

Meet some of our voiceover artists for the upcoming Coal Train Radio podcast, all the way from Tanzania!  Special thanks to Wes and Melissa Browning for having some fun with these special children in their lives.  (Photo by Wes Browning)

Wanted: your bicycle poetry & stories

Attention all young cyclists! Tell us your favorite bicycling story in the form
of a short poem or paragraph – if we select it to be read on our first
podcast (sponsored by Eastside Cycles) we’ll send you a free CD! Submit
your entries via our Facebook page or our contact form. below by Monday, April 26. Tricycles count,
too, of course.

Jazz a la Jellydots

Looking forward to covering a tune by kindierockers extraordinaire, The Jellydots on our upcoming podcast recordings.  Let’s see how Jellydots taste with a dollop of jazz!

Coal Train goes to Bandcamp

If you are a big Coal Train champ:
Want to pay less, yet help us buy stamps?
This does the job: instead of paying Steve Jobs
Download Coal Train Railroad at Bandcamp!

The beauty of downloading Coal Train Railroad from is that EVERY PENNY goes to the musicians, and we can set the price lower because we’re not giving a large portion to the Big Guy.  (I’m typing this on my MacBook right now- I think they’ll be ok.)

And that, friends, helps us chug down the road toward making more music for you!  We can’t wait.  We’re having a blast.

Coal Train has reached Australia!

Coal Train Railroad, via the magical means of music, has arrived in Australia!  The marvelous mother’s world Connect to Aussie Mums is featuring Coal Train Railroad and giving away a copy of the CD. So, mums, down there, hop aboard!  And even if you’re not from/in Australia, have a peek- there’s  ton of marvelous information for mothers everywhere.  (They’ve even been known to allow jazz musicians in.)

Here’s what C2M’s Peace says:

This enchanting cd is a collection of catchy tunes with a definite jazz flavour. It’s quite unlike any other children’s cd and I just loved its classy old world charm.

My boys aged 5, 7 & 9 all really enjoyed listening to this cd, particularly my eldest, and they loved trying to guess which instruments they could hear in each track.

My youngest loved ‘My belly button stays the same’ and wanted to know all about belly buttons after hearing it and my middle son, Max, loved the line from ‘I need a nap’ about being as cranky as a crocodile!

This is a fantastic cd and would make a great gift for a whole family to enjoy because grown-ups will love the smooth sounds of Coal Train Railroad as much as kids do!

Free Bellybuttons at this week!

That’s right: Bellybutton Stays the Same is the free mp3 Download of the Week at new children’s music network Go get it, tell your friends! Bellybuttons on the house.  Visit our Wigglepage, then come back and buy Coal Train Railroad or download it from iTunes!)

Back by popular demand: Exhibit G

We continue the sometimes-series “Jazz is too sophisticated for kids?”  with a kid’s classic, The Aristocats.  The song Ev’rybody Want To Be A Cat was written by Floyd Huddleston and Al Rinker.  Floyd’s song Love, for the record, was featured in The Fantastic Mr. Fox.


Thanks to kid’s culture afficionado Matthew Siden at Nugget Island for his well-considered and glowing review of Coal Train Railroad!  We think an awful lot of his work, as well.  Head over to Nugget Island for the full review and much more. Though it’s hard to choose, one nugget for you:

“The album also swings, toots, jams and riffs through subjects like the joy of juice, sharing and listening. This project is truly a delight and unique in its execution. These are real musicians, playing real instruments and not a jazz-lite effort pandering to kids. An effort like Coal Train Railroad is sure to inspire future jazz lovers and make them aware of other genres at an early, impressionable age. In the meantime, I hope this album continues to build the audience it so deserves.”

Us too- working on it!

We would share in a box…with a fox… (+free download)

Thanks to Pierrette Abbegg for a bit of video from the audience at Nashville Library Storytime!  Here we have our duet with The Spanish Fox.

Stick around for the instrumental break:  apparently Spanish Fox and JJ the Lamb have been perfecting their tango.  We love this little video for the audience response:  the giggling and little bits of toddler Spanish that pop in to the mix make our day.

Would you like a free download of What’s Mine is Yours with the Spanish Fox?  Email us at with Spanish Fox in the subject line- we’ll send it over.

Coal Train arrives at Davis Kidd

We had such a fantastic morning!  Thanks to the parents who brought the kids, the kids who danced and sang with us, and Davis Kidd for inviting us.  Now, that’s how we like to start a gray rainy morning.  With some snuggling and tunes. More pictures on the Look page- thanks for taking them, Laura Donohue.

Library Storytime Pictures

Nashville Library Storytime was nothing short of magical for us.  Thanks so much to everyone who came, and thanks to the storytime staff who were so much fun to hang around with.  Lots of pictures are on the Look page! And if you missed it, or just have to have more, join us for these upcoming shows:

March 13, 10 am Davis Kidd Booksellers

March 24  10:30 am Nashville Public Library- Goodlettsville Branch

We like to call it “The Show”.

We’re all ready for our Nashville Main Library debut, join us at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 this Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10. We have a few surprises up our sleeves!

Kale, quinoa and Coal Train. And a worm.

Whole Foods in Green Hills has Local Kids Day today (Saturday)  from 11-3! Come early- Jamina Carder reads her book Herman’s Journey at 12 and 1.  The Coal Train leaves the station at 1:30.  We hear there are free snacks, too!

Exhibit F gets an A in our book.

Exhibit F in our “Jazz is too sophisticated for kids?” series is by request, and we are more than happy to comply.  Head over to Birdland: the Squirrel Nut Zippers visit Sesame Street.

Goodie Goodie Gumdrops! Giveaway & review

Head on over to Goodie Goodie Gumdrops for a great review of Coal Train Railroad and a Coal Train CD giveaway.  Lots of other treats there, too: have a look-see!

A snippet:

“Grab your ticket and hop on board the Coal Train Railroad. It’s such an enjoyable ride through the diverse lands of jazz, you nor your children will want to leave. Katy and Friends have really set the bar high for family music with this progressive release. It’s quite catchy and sure to please those who are newcomers to jazz as well as the most discerning jazz fans.”

Exhibit E: Put Down the Duckie

So again:  in one sense, we’re doing something new with Coal Train Railroad.  And in another, not at all. We are so glad to add a link to a long tradition. Here,  Ernie learns this lesson that all of us musicians learn over and over.  An all-time favorite. Thanks for reminding us of this gem, Emily!

Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl (with CTRR)

Parents, do we ever have an idea for your Saturday morning.

-Prep your coffee the night before.

-Download The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl onto the family iTunes.

-Saturday morning, as the children jump on your bed, tell them to press play on the iPod and the On button on the coffeemaker.

-Roll over for 10 more minutes and sleep as long as the giggling in the kitchen lets you.

-Go down and join the kids for some fantastic music for the family.  Coal Train Railroad will be on there this Saturday- enjoy!

Exhibit D: Elmo and Diana Krall

Exhibit D in our “Jazz is too sophisticated for kids?” series:  Elmo and Diana Krall.  Now really.  Does Elmo look like he’s having difficulty hanging? We rest our case.

We’d like to give propers and brag a bit, too- this segment was directed by Steve Feldman of Sam Hill Group:  among other feats, Steve created our our Coal Train movie.  Yes: he knows Elmo. reviews Coal Train

Thanks to Jeff at for his review of Coal Train Railroad today.  Head over for the full review, stay for all of the other smart insights for dads, in particular.

A nugget:

Running the jazz (and jazz-ish) spectrum from jump blues to torch ballads, Coal Train Railroad puts singer Katy Bowser’s supple vocals in front of a crack combo and some smart, easy-to-digest arrangements. Think of it as sort of a jazzy audio equivalent of Bugsy Malone; when she slows down the tempo, Bowser croons like Linda Ronstadt on her Nelson Riddle records, but instead of looking for someone to watch over her, she’s looking for a nap.”

Jazz is too sophisticated for kids? Exhibit C

Dizzy Gillespie. Frankly, the fact that Dizzy hangs with both Charlie Parker AND the Electric Mayhem makes him awesome, in our book. Enjoy! (Looking for an easy way to identify Dizzy? Maybe his horn got bent while he was dizzy.)

Jazz is too sophisticated for kids? Exhibit B

Exhibit B, Louis Prima. Now, who says this is too far above the children’s heads?

Also worth watching, but not embeddable: The story of how Louis Prima and I Wanna Be Like You in all of its Dixieland glory ended up in the Jungle Book.

Jazz is too sophisticated for kids?

Herein we begin a walk down memory lane.  The theme:  Jazz is too sophisticated for kids?  Appropriate replies to this are “Hogwash!” “Says who?”  ”What makes you say THAT?”

Exhibit A:  The consummately playful Ella Fitzgerald with A-Tisket A-Tasket.

Jazz in Kentucky- Ages 3 and Up!

Thanks to Amberly and her radio program Ages 3 and Up for playing What’s Mine is Yours on the jazz segment this morning!  You can catch Ages 3 and up on 88.1 FM in Lexington, Kentucky or stream it all over the world at WRFL Also, head to the Ages 3 and Up blog for tons of great music for families.

Grand times at Grimeys

Thanks to everyone who came out to Grimey’s New and Pre-loved Music this Saturday for the inaugural Juice:30.  There was juice for kids (and grownups), dancing and snuggling and a good time all around.  Thanks Grimeys! Next up…Whole Foods in Green Hills on March 6 at 1:30 pm.

Juice:30 this Saturday at Grimeys!

We’re nearly there- the inaugural Juice:30 at Grimey’s New and Pre-Loved Music.  4:30 pm- after nap, before dinner- see you there!

What we’re thinking

Wanna hear what we were/are thinking when we make Coal Train Railroad?  Jeff Bogle at asked us some great questions- here’s our interview with him!

Newsflash: Kids turned on to jazz.

Read all about it- and perhaps win a free Coal Train Railroad CD!- at Today’s Lessons.  Delightful story and review.  A bit of it, detailing this child who had previously eschewed jazz:

“I listened to the album all alone first, making sure that I wouldn’t be more deeply embedding my children’s disdain. And I fell in love. Katy’s fun and easy style, her sweet and playful lines, the endearing way she addresses such important subjects as mouth noises, belly buttons and fruit juice had me really hoping Baby would like what she heard.

So I loaded up the iPod and one day, as I was taking the kiddoes, both young and older, out to lunch, I played Coal Train Railroad. And I held my breath.


She liked it!

Not only did Baby like it, but 19-year-old Bard liked it, and ten-year-old Sweetheart liked it and 14-year-old Monet liked it. They giggled over “My Mouth and Me,” nodded empathetically to “It’s Hard to Listen” and car-danced to “Just the Juice, Jack.” Katy had done it. She’d redeemed the reputation of jazz in our family.”

We could ask for no more.


Thanks very much to Ken at for sharing about Coal Train Railroad.   Go have a look over thataway- all manner of resources.  Dig deep for the Evian babies commercial. So worth it.

So much fun at Fairytales!

Thanks to everyone who came out to Fairytales this morning!  What a fantastic crowd, in numbers and in fun.  Those are some of the best mouth noises we’ve ever heard on My Mouth and Me.  If you’d like to sample the record, by the way, you can download My Mouth and Me AND Bellybutton Stays the Same for FREE, here!

Look through more pictures from the show in the look section.  And keep an eye on the live page- more shows coming soon!

Great review at!

Big thanks to Jeff Bogle at – that’s Out With the Kids, by the way- for his thoughtful and glowing review of Coal Train Railroad.  Some of our favorite parts are excerpted here, but by all means go to, bookmark it, and visit often.  It’s a lovely vantage on all things related to kids and culture.  What a tremendous resource for parents and the rest of us who love kid-related things.

“Coal Train Railroad have made the best jazz album for kids that I’ve ever heard.  Katy Bowser’s voice is questionably great and the playing of Chris Donohue, et al. is outstanding throughout the 9 tracks, and with all that their Coal Train Railroad CD has everything you want from a jazz record – it’s snappy, cool and classy.  It also has some characteristics you may not expect from, or generally associate with, a fine jazz album; songs that are funny and charming, and with lyrical content most children will have a context for (juice, bellybuttons, snuggling, nap time, and a budding independence).

Despite coming from an indie rock background, Coal Train Railroad’s debut disc is, in many ways, the album I’ve been waiting for since starting OWTK 3.5 years ago.  It’s a CD I can spin during a dinner party, at nap time, in the car, with or without the kids around, during the girl’s bath time – pretty much at any time of day or night and in anyone’s company.

In other words, it’s versatile and beautiful.  I absolutely love this album.”

We’re so glad.

Thanks, Grimey’s!

We’re hanging with the cool kids now.  We appreciate the love from Nashville’s beloved indie record store.  Eyes open for details on our upcoming in-store at Grimeys on Feb 13.

Coal Train Railroad – Coal Train Railroad CD (Coal Train Railroad)

A children’s jazz record that totally doesn’t suck! The brainchild of singer Katy Bowser and bassist Chris Donohue (Emmylou Harris, Buddy Miller), who together co-wrote all of the songs, Coal Train Railroad also features some of Nashville’s heaviest hitters, including saxophonist Jeff Coffin and trumpeter Rod McGaha. Written from a child’s perspective and covering such important topics as bellybuttons, juice, sharing, and snuggling, the songs are inspiring kids all over the world to dance, play, and use their voices to riff along with the musicians.

Free Coal Train CD!

Ready to get down?  We are giving a FREE to Coal Train Railroad CD to the next 3 folks who submit YouTube videos of kids enjoying Coal Train Railroad for the LOOK section, like THESE! Tweet us, send us a Facebook message or email us at info with a link to your video.

But, you say, how can my kids dance to the music if we don’t HAVE the music?  Answer:  Get 2 Free Songs here!

Y’all have fun, as we say down here in Nashville.

CD Release party at Ugly Mugs a smashing success!

We had our very first live Coal Train Railroad gig at our East Nashville neighborhood coffeeshop, Ugly Mugs.  I think we can safely call it a success!  We could not believe how many people, big and little, showed up to celebrate and sing and dance along with us.  Big thanks to Ugly Mugs for taking such good care of everyone, and especially for juice boxes on the house for kids.

Have a look at our Live page for upcoming shows.  Next up, Fairytales Books & More on January 23 at 10:30 am.  There’ll be some extra fun thrown in!