Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Coming Attraction: Gustafer Yellowgold

Gustafer Yellowgold, that Earth-loving creature from the sun who's made quite an impression on the children's music scene, will be making his way to McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica on Feb. 7.

Actually, he and his other animated friends -- a pterodactyl named Forrest Applecrumbie, an eel called Slim and Asparagus the dragon, among others -- will appear on screen as his creator, illustrator/songwriter Morgan Taylor, and other musicians offer up tunes on his behalf.

If you're not yet familiar with Gustafer's world, it's a very charming and mellow one -- hence his latest DVD/CD collection "Gustafer Yellowgold's Mellow Fever," which hit shelves last March.

Gustafer is a little guy from the sun who left his family to explore the chillier environs of Minnesota. Once there -- he arrived via sunpod -- he met up with other animal pals.

CC and I had the opportunity to check out "Mellow Fever." The songs themselves aren't your average sugar-shock dose of kid rock. Instead, they're more thoughtful, definitely softer in tone and sometimes have hints of melancholy. In fact, "Butter Pond Lake" tackles the subject of missing home and family.

Talking to Ohio native Morgan Taylor on his way back from a show in Atlanta to his family's home in the Catskill Mountains, he told me he'd "always been a cartoonist" and began drawing Gustafer "before I knew who he was."

Morgan also wrote songs, "all in the first person, all in the fictitious realm." All of a sudden it clicked. This pointy-headed yellow guy, as he called him, was the character that connected his illustrations to the music.

"It was a wonderful accident that initiated the whole thing," he added.

The company behind Gustafer, Apple-Eye Productions, is made up of Morgan and his wife, singer/songwriter Rachel Loshak. They also have a young addition to the crew, their 22-month-old son, Harvey.

Their music, Morgan said, is like a "comfort blanket" for Harvey. "He really loves Gustafer's music. We never gave Harvey a pacifier, so Gustafer's music is his pacifier," he added.

That definitely helps out on the road, he said, where they travel everywhere together -- by car as well as by plane.

"It's nice to be able to be together, for Harvey to have full access to both of his parents," Morgan said. "That's rare, especially as a dad to be around my son so much."

Gustafer Yellowgold
McCabe's Guitar Shop
3101 Pico Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Sunday, Feb. 7; 11 a.m.
Tickets: $10

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