Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

Original, funny, upbeat family music with outstanding animated visuals.

"Great. A mix of Johnny Cash, Johnny Rotten and Johnny Appleseed"
- Stefan Shepherd, Zooglobble


About Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke began writing and performing together in 1990 and formed the duo Reak and Stump. They shared an enthusiasm for Punk, Bluegrass, Old Time String Bands, Mills Brothers, obscure folk tunes, Hank Williams Beatles, and Dylan - not necessarily in that order. The great country brother duos (Louvin, Delmore, Everly, Blue Sky Boys) were also an obsession and tight vocal harmonies have always been a defining element of their sound.

Clarke, who still holds a British passport and has never learned to speak with a proper American accent, grew up in England and France. His early bands (Boring Sponge, The Undead) were prominent in the 80's Long Island punk/hardcore scene. Wilde grew up in Texas and North Carolina and started out playing Bluegrass (The Rank Strangers, The Dreadful Snakes). One of their first performances together as an acoustic duo was described in The New York Press as "Syd Barrett meets Hank Williams". In a good way.

They began recording original material together - occasionally in professional 24 track studios but for the most part with lo-tech 4 track home systems. Committed to a DIY agenda and ethic they began circulating hand assembled cassette releases featuring original artwork. During most of the 1990's Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke were regulars on the NYC Antifolk scene and performed extensively in the East Village and Brooklyn. They also became one of the beloved house bands at Sunny's Bar in Red Hook, Brooklyn - the nerve center of one of the city's most vibrant artist communities. A series of live recordings was made at Sunny's - engineered by Paul Verna of Vernacular Music. The comprehensive 12 volume boxed set of Closet Cult Classics may actually be ready for release around 2012.

In the mid-1990's Mr. Clarke moved to California where he played with the bands Beyond-O-Matic and Bula Matari. During this period Wilde and Clarke kept the collaboration alive - exchanging cassettes through the mail. In 1997 Mr. Clarke returned to New York and resumed teaching in the NYC public schools. He formed a Meringue group with his students and he and Wilde led several Teacher Training seminars. Mr. Clarke has spent the past few summer recesses in Brazil collaborating with local musicians to develop a "Samba Country" style. In 2005 he performed several times on Brazilian TV and radio. The Latin rhythms have found their way into Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke's songs for children and are often combined with traditional American folk styles to create an exciting new sound.

For over 20 years Key Wilde has developed his unique skills as a visual artist and his illustrations have appeared in newspapers, magazines and children's books. He started writing songs specifically for children after being asked to perform regularly at his daughter's preschool. "I found that, rather than traditional kids songs, they responded most to my own quirky original tunes", says Wilde, "so I began adapting my material for a kid audience which often entailed simply omitting curse words."

Together Key Wilde and Mr Clarke are now committed to combining outstanding visuals with funny upbeat original songs that will appeal to people of all ages. Songs and pictures - with an emphasis on HUMOR and memorable characters - that parents and children can enjoy together.
They are excited about their debut on Little Monster Records. The songs were recorded at Wormhole Studios (actually a tiny room in Mr Clarke's Brooklyn apartment) with the enlisted help of Alan Byers on bass and Mike Stevens on drums and percussion.

Their debut album “Rise and Shine” was released on Little Monster Records in January 2010 and received a Parent’s Choice GOLD Award. “Rise and Shine” features 11 original songs and is packaged in a 16 page board book designed and illustrated by Key Wilde. The song “Favorite Names” – long a smash favorite on the radio program “Greasy Kids Stuff” and included on the compilation “Greasy Kid Stuff - Songs From Inside The Radio VOL III.” on Confidential Recordings – reached #1 on the Sirius/XM Kids Place Live charts. The song “Rattling Can” has also been in heavy rotation on Sirius/XM and Key Wilde & Mr Clarke have recorded three live “Rumpus Room” concerts that have been broadcast on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Key Wilde & Mr Clarke contributed their version of ‘Lullaby For a Crying Baby” to the Barry Polisar tribute album “We’re Not Kidding! A Tribute to Barry Louis Polisar” (Snail Sounds/Raninbow 2009)

In July 2011Key Wilde & Mr Clarke released the 6 song EP “Hey Pepito!” featuring the Sirius/XM favorite “Mary the Fairy”. Earlier in the year Key Wilde & Mr Clarke performed at the first Kids Corner Music Festival hosted by WXPN Radio at the World Café in Philadelphia. In September 2011 they were featured performers at the Harmony on the Hudson Festival in Battery Park, NYC along with Tom Chapin and Friends. Other local venues include 92 Y Tribeca, Symphony Space, The Long Island Children’s Museum and Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA.

Since 2010 Key Wilde has worked with the Battery Park Conservancy leading sessions in the “Stories and Songs” series – a program that introduces and integrates musical performance into young children’s lives.

In addition to their annual Holiday Release and a new full-length CD, Key Wilde & Mr Clarke are working on “ScrapYard Rock” an original animated TV series.


Listen to Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke:

Big Pet Pig
Favorite Names
Mary the Fairy
The Rattling Can
I Had a Little Dog
Going to the Moon
It's So Good


Parents' Choice Award, Spring 2010 for Rise & Shine

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