When songwriter Lanny Sherwin had enough of the same-old lullabies, he decided to write his own personal songs to his son, Alec, now 8 years old. That brilliant idea turned into three albums and Sherwin’s own record company, Sandman Records. It’s not just new lyrics that Sherwin invented, but a new take on children’s music.
“When you’re a parent, listening to typical lullabies drives you crazy — the same lyrics and musical style,” Sherwin said. “I write for the parents as much as the kids.”
After two lullaby albums consisting of songs written for Alec, Sherwin released Turn Up the Music, geared to children ages 4 to 9. The album is a musical mixed-bag of silly but serious songs, each with its own message for children. “Don’t Squash that Bug!” contains the subtle message to respect nature and “The Rule” teaches to accept all different people. Sherwin, a Nashville songwriter for 11 years, grew up on rock ’n’ roll, citing influences such as the Beatles, Motown, and the Beach Boys. The diversion from lullabies in Turn Up the Music expanded Sherwin’s musical opportunities to the rock grooves of “Lima Beans and Liver” and the upbeat “Talk It Out.”
Winner of 14 awards, including the Parents’ Choice Award, Sherwin and his 5-year-old Sandman Records — which is now based in Santa Barbara — also work with nonprofit organizations. Proceeds from Sherwin’s first album went to the Spina Bifida Association and he currently donates CDs to children’s groups. He also plans to perform locally in schools, hospitals, and libraries. However, the best thing about his musical career? “It’s how I stay connected with Alec. He’s my pure inspiration.”