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Watching the robust guitarist and vocalist Darrell House get the twentysomething crowd at Durty Nellie's collectively to chant "Bullshit," or the older beach and biker crowds at Cafe Blue Fish to sing along to "The Man From Nantucket," you'd never guess that, aside from singing dirty limericks, House writes message-oriented children's stories and poetry. He recently recorded a collection of original tunes geared toward elementary school kids.
"I started writing children's poetry years ago in the car while waiting for my two daughters after school when I picked them up," House says. "It started one day when a storm was coming in and the clouds were pushing over. I looked up and just thought of a poem. I wrote for thirty minutes. I did this every day after [that], while waiting."
House's poetry eventually led to writing some lyrics for Robin Page's 1993 children's music cassette, I Believe in Dreams. Afterward House and his nephew-producer, Rick House, decided to put some other writings to music and record Underneath the Cushions on the Couch. On the twelve-song CD, House pushes family values and encourages kids to use their imaginations, set goals, and realize their dreams.
So how does House explain the difference between his children's songs and the material he performs in bars and clubs?
"The songs I do for the crowds at the bars, they request them. And I belt them out left and right. I love to just play and make people laugh, young or old," House offers. "I actually get requests for the children's songs at the bars. The people sometimes sit around in a circle like kids. The bottom line is, I'm an entertainer. I just want to share."
If you want to feel like a kid again, check out House's regular solo gigs at Cafe Blue Fish on Sunday and Durty Nellie's on Wednesday and Friday, both of which are located in Fort Lauderdale. Speaking of kids, House's Website for children can be found at www.housefam.com.
House's upcoming plans include the publication of his children's books King of Fish and Miller the Green Caterpillar, and performances at the New RiverFest (March 21), the Broward County Library's annual Children's Reading Festival (April 4-5), and the Delray Affair (April 17).