photo by Sarah Elbert
The bluegrass band is fronted by Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, outdoorsy BFFs who grew up in Denver and settled down in Minneapolis specifically to start a band for kids. Like the best children's music today, the songs appeal to both kids and parents, with infectious singalongs, sweet melodies, and foot-stomping refrains.
Reviewer Madeleine, age seven, headed out to Como Park & Conservatory with her driver (mom Sarah Elbert) and 9-month-old brother Finn in tow. Unfortunately, her driver did not do her due diligence, and being basically clueless about St. Paul (her bad), assumed that Black Bear Crossings—the restaurant and pavilion hosting the CD release concert for The Okee Dokee Brothers’ “Through the Woods”—is attached to the Como Park Conservatory and Zoo (where the reviewer was promised an ice cream cone). Alas, it was discovered that no, Black Bear Crossings is on Como Lake. The driver eventually found the pavilion and illegally parked so that the writer could complete her assignment as promised.
What follows is Madeleine’s second account of the morning, as her driver erased the first account from her iPhone:
On the band: There were six people playing. They were playing the guitar, banjo, and the fiddle and the bass, and a washboard, and the fiddlesticks. You need a fiddle to play the fiddlesticks. A girl was playing the fiddle while someone was playing the fiddlesticks on the fiddle. It was really cool.
On her faves: My favorite song was the first song, but we had to miss some of them because we went to the wrong place. We were in a hurry. I got extra tired and I got some water because we had to run back to the car so we wouldn’t be late. We missed some songs, but we still got to see some more songs. It was SUPER fun!
On the audience participation: We got to kind of dance to some of them, and some you got to kind of echo and sing along [“Jamboree!”]. It was SUPER fun!!!
On if it’s for you: I recommend that you listen to The Okee Dokee Brothers if you like cool, fun, and danceable music and singalong songs. You will like it if you like stuff like that.
On seeing the Bros with your baby bro: You might get to buy one of their CDs or take pictures with them. But we didn’t. My baby brother Finn got tired and kind of cried a little, but then he stopped. Although we didn’t get to buy a CD or take a picture with them, it still was awesomely fun! Which is, like, super fun.
On her own post-party at Como Town: I got some lunch. Then I got to climb some rocks a little. I noticed that I started to climb the wrong way! After that, we went to Como Town and I got some ice cream. I wanted to go on some rides, but my mom said no because the ticket line was too long. But then I got to go inside the tropical rainforest at the zoo and saw some big catfish. My favorite part was when I found out that I could have rainbow ice cream. My mom didn’t think there was rainbow ice cream, but I said, “Just ask to see if there is a rainbow kind!” And they said yes. I was happy. It was SUPER fun!! Come to Como Town if you really like fun and busy stuff.