MARQUETTE - When Jeff Krebs - aka Papa Crow - sent in his copyright forms for the songs on his new CD, "Things That Roar," he expected things to go without a hitch.
But he received a concerned email from the U.S. Copyright Office in Washington D.C.
"They said 'Are you sure a 2-year-old wrote some of this?' I had to email them back because they thought I had gotten the date of birth wrong on the form," he said. "I had to tell them that my son co-wrote with me."
Indeed Krebs' now 3-year-old son, Billy, helped him write the song "All the Things that Roar."
"Billy sings on it. Actually, Billy roars on it," Krebs said. "He and his younger brother (Pablo, 15 months) are both on the CD."
The release party for the 14-song CD of original children's music will be taking place at 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 11 in the community room of Peter White Public Library in Marquette.
What's in a name?
How did Jeff Krebs come up with the name Papa Crow, which he uses when performing children's music?
"A long time ago I spent some time with an Indian medicine man, Rolling Thunder. He gave me the name One Crow," Krebs said. "I love my name but I was looking for something easier for kids to remember, so Papa Crow."
Krebs is awaiting delivery of 1,000 copies of his latest work. The Escanaba native has spent a long time in the music world.
A lifetime, really.
"I was pretty young when I started. I got a ukulele when I was 4," Krebs said. "My grandpa gave it to me. He played one, too.
"Then I got a guitar at about age 10," he said. "I still play both of those quite a lot."
Krebs moved from Escanaba to California, where he lived for many years.
"I met my future wife, Claudia, out there," Krebs said. "We got tired of the city and were looking for a place to live. We decided on Marquette. We set up shop here because it's a good place to live and to raise kids."
That was eight years ago.
While he was living in California, Krebs had made a couple of CDs of original music. When he decided to put together his latest disc, he called upon some guest artists he'd become familiar with in this area. And he called upon his experiences as a father for his inspiration.
"I find it easier to write (children's songs)," Krebs said. "I have been a songwriter for a long time. When we were expecting, I was looking into kids' music to play for my kids. I found there was already some cool, listenable kids' music out there. There are a few artists in the U.S. who do interesting kids' music.
"What I liked is the kids stuff that kids like but that adults can listen to as well," he said.
"The challenge is to come up with something palatable for both audiences as most times, adults will be with kids listening," he said, adding with a smile: "The adults buy the CDs, too."
Krebs checked out some CDs from the library and immersed himself in children's music.
"The traditional songs I pushed away as the project evolved," he said. The result was the 14 songs on "Things That Roar."
Did Krebs test the music out on his own sons?
"Very much so," he said. "And they both like it. Pablo can't talk much yet but if he goes by the stereo, he requests ('All The Things That Roar') by going 'rrrrrrr'. I have to turn him down quite often. Testing out on them, that's fun.
"I did do quite a few songs when I played for kids at the library. And at Northern (Michigan University) when I played at Young Authors," Krebs said. "That was really fun, playing to 100 kids at a time."
Krebs wants families to enjoy Papa Crow's new work.
"I honestly hope the CD can become a part of the lives of families," he said. "It has the potential to be some of the first music kids hear and that's an important position to be in.
"What I tried to do, also, was do some songs on the CD from the parents' view and some from the kids' view," Krebs said. "That's something Woody Guthrie would do and I took my cue from his music."
The CD will be available at Jim's Music in Marquette; at the CD release party; and through the website Krebs is soon launching, papacrow.com.
Renee Prusi can be contacted at 906-228-2500, ext. 253. Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.