Rocks and Water

Children's music about Earth Science
by Chris Rawlings

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About the Album
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"Lyrics teach as they entertain.. has depth musically and emotionally."

Sherbrooke Record

"Buoyant tunes and catchy lyrics... Rawlings puts the rock in rock and roll."

Stanstead Journal

"No compromises with what we think children need, or how we think we have to teach them. No paternalistic concessions go to our mistaken stereotypes about kid's naivete. From rock to folk to jazz to zidego, it's all there in sophisticated taste, and it's all great. Your kids will love it. You'll love it."

Eric Nagler

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September 21, 1997

   How can you get some cool ground water from the saturated zone? Ask musical master Chris Rawlings. His new album is "saturated" with terrific songs, melodies and arrangements. Like the title says, it's all about "Rocks and Water". Want your kids to know how this earth is put together? Chris explains it in terms they -- and I for that matter -- can understand. We're all "living on a layer cake, way under the ground. So.. take a slice and look around."

   This is a very different, and very good album for kids. No compromises with what we think children need, or how we think we have to teach them. No paternalistic concessions to our mistaken stereotypes about kids' naivete.

   What stands out for me are the terrific arrangements and production values that will keep listeners of all ages involved. A baker's dozen kudos to Henry Heillig, who co-produced and laid down bass tracks so sweek you could eat them for dessert. In fact, there ain't no sluch musicians at all on this album. From rock to folk to jazz to zidego, it's all there in sophisticated taste and it's all great.

   Your kids will love it. You'll love it.

Eric Nagler

Rawlings puts the rock in rock 'n' roll

Stanstead (MC) - Writing catchy songs for kids with words like Precambrian, brachiopod, sulphuric acid and pumice would be a difficult task for any songwriter but for Chris Rawlings it was natural.

   Rawlings' first children's album and fourth as a professional musician, Rocks and Water, is a collection of songs devoted to teaching kids about geology and hydrology.

   Through buoyant tunes and catchy lyrics, Rawlings tackles suc subjects as groundwater, sedimentary layers and acid rain.

   Rawlings has been a professional singer/songwriter for 30 years. Although hailing from Toronto, he spends his summers just outside of Stanstead. He worked in Ontario schools for 14 years while writing music for film and producing four CDs of his own adult material. But he had wanted to do a children's album for a long time.

   Originally the album was designed to be fit into a grade four to six curriculum, but he has also had good response from both those older and younger. The younger kids can dance to the music and even adults can learn a few things by listening to the lyrics.

Chris Rawlings: Teaching kids about nature through song

by Cathy Watson
Sherbrooke Record Correspondent

   With songs about rock cycles, ground water and wetlands, singer-songwriter Chris Rawlings creates children's music with a twist.

   Rawlings writes lyrics that teach as they entertain. Kids - and most adults for that matter - learn new terms like "igneous" (fiery) and "magma" (molten rock deep in the earth) while they're snapping their fingers to a lively beat.

   "It's a unique subject matter that, as far as I know, hasn't been tackled by anybody," says Rawlings, a native Montrealer now living in Toronto.

   "I've been focusing on children's music for about 10 or 12 years. I had been hoping to do the album and applying for grants for it."

   After a considerable wait, the Canadian Geological Foundation came through and Rawlings hit the studio and warapped up his album, "Rocks and Water", in an unbelievable two months.

   With some background vocals by his 10-year-old's elementary school class and some students from the alternative school where his wife, Lynne, teaches, Rawlings came up with a product that he's proud of.

   The songs on the album were written over a three-year period - either for the Children's Ground Water Festival at the Ontario Agricultural Museum or for Mariposa in the Schools, an organisation which Rawlings works with, playing his music throughout the southern Ontario school system.

   Only the final song, "Earth Chant", was written earlier than the others. "I wrote it eight or ten years ago. It was the first environmental-wildlife song I wrote," Rawlings said.

   The ballad does indeed stand out on the album. Its gentle folk guitar rhythm, combined with echoing lyrics and intertwining flute and recorder, give it depth musically and emotionally.

   Although the album runs a gamut of styles from jazz to rock, the strongest influence is folk, not suprisingly since Rawlings began his musical career playing the style.

   "I was really interested in traditional music. The Kingston Trio and Peter, Paul and Mary were in vogue at that time, so a lot of what I got from learning the guitar was traditional music," he said.

   "It was a great revalation to me, at about the age of 15, that people actually wrote songs. I thought, 'If they can do it, I can do it'."

   Rawlings started playing music with Acadian musician Gilles Losier. "We played a lot of festivals: Winnipeg, Mariposa, Bulgaria, France."

   His music led him to New Orleans, where he played at a club called Andy's on Bourbon Street, in 1969. It was also on that trip that he found his pride and joy - a 60-year-old Gibson guitar.

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