I think it’s a safe bet to say that any children’s musician, one who composes music strictly for the entertainment of children, has an adult version of his music in his back pocket as well.

Rob Duquette of Saco has created some very smart and catchy children’s music in the past, and will probably continue to do so. But with the release of “This Time” on Friday, he will also reveal his other side, through music that still emphasizes the cheery reggae-induced melodies and beats, but takes on adult topics and compositions with more intricate layers. 

Duquette took a couple of songs from his recent children’s CD, “Love Is Contagious,” and reworked them to fit into a more adult composition. The grown-up version of the title song on the children’s CD, for example, includes an interesting horn solo, making it a bit more engaging for the sophisticated ear.

(Although, because his children’s music can also please grown-ups, Duquette didn’t need to change much. And because of his flair for playing reggae and ska, he delivers the goods with ease for either genre.)

“She’s Too Good for Me” treks on adult-relationship turf with the same Afro-Caribbean and eclectic style he uses for his children’s CD.

“Roxanne” is, you guessed it, a cover of The Police’s huge hit from 1978, and Duquette does a good job of reworking it, albeit with a more laid-back style. But the influence of The Police’s reggae sound in his songs is prevalent, and the listener now understands the connection by his covering this song in particular.

“Memphis” takes a walk on the folk side. Guest vocalist Andrea Wollstadt adds a lovely change to the mix in the chorus with her harmony and a bit of solo work. Relationship themes again come up here.

All in all, Rob Duquette is an accomplished musician. With his prolific studies of African-American, North American and African music; his ability to delight children with his catchy, fun lyrics; and his adult songs that are just as catchy and fun, he should be enjoying much success in all genres.

Duquette will be throwing two CD-release parties for “This Time” — a solo set at 8 p.m. Friday at Dogfish Bar and Grille in Portland, and a set with a full band at 3 p.m. Sunday at McArthur Library on Main Street in Biddeford.

Admission is free to both shows.

Kristin DiCara-McClellan is a freelance writer.


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