Storytelling and music are two of the oldest, most well-known art forms. Put them together and you get a fusion of auditory and mental entertainment appropriate for adults and children alike.
Erica Lann-Clark and Michael Gaither, a local storyteller and a musician, respectively, have collaborated on a show geared toward families. It features Lann-Clark’s exquisite storytelling skills set to Gaither’s music, followed by a related song by Gaither in his intimate Americana style.
The show will take place at Don Quixote’s International Music Hall on Sunday at 1 p.m., an early time scheduled to draw families.
Gaither and Lann-Clark have collaborated twice before, but putting together a show targeting families is new for them.
“Stories, Songs and Silliness” includes fiction and non-fiction stories spanning a range of themes.
“For instance,” Gaither said, “we tell a story about a pig who rescues a boy in a pool. There’s also a Jewish story and a Native American story. We try to mix it up and not stick to one genre. We put in a lot of variety.”
Gaither, a loving dog owner, uses animals as characters in many of his stories.
“Animals are great metaphors. It’s easy to relate to an animal,” Gaither said. “On my first record, I wrote about a mule that lived down the road.”
Gaither draws inspiration from a variety of other animals as well.
“[The dog] was a hybrid and had spots all over it, so the angle of the song was, ‘It’s a misfit, it’s one of a kind. If you’re a misfit, you’re a friend of mine.’”
When it comes to the age-old question of music or lyrics, Gaither has a strong preference.
“I’m a lyric guy,” he said. “For me, the music supports the story but it’s always about what the song is trying to say. I usually think about what I want to write about and the music follows it.”
The music itself is a strong example of the Americana genre — acoustic guitar, harmonica and all — and Gaither cites his influences as ranging from John Hiatt and Ray Davies to Robert Earl Keen, Jr.
Tom Miller, the Don Quixote’s concert programmer, said he is happy to have the duo return to their stage.
“[Gaither] has a way of engaging the crowd and he is one of the most outstanding singer-songwriters in our area,” Miller said. “I love his ability to tell a story with a song. The opportunity to get one of the nation’s premier professional storytellers on our stage is very exciting.”