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Gruff Dad Makes Sweet Music for the World's Bravest—and Sickest—Kids, Including His Daughter

Don’t let his gruff voice fool you. Alastair Moock is a big softy.

Sure, warm and fuzzy is probably not how most folk singers want to be known. And up until now, Moock wasn’t. In fact, he still isn’t. But to describe him as just a gravely-voiced, fingerpicking guitarist reminiscent of Woody Guthrie and Tom Waits would be to set aside how his music and audience have evolved nearly 20 years into his career as a renown folk artist in the Boston area.

Given his musical influences, it’s no surprise that Moock has been moved by music “that connects me to progressive issues and social involvement. It’s always been a big part of what I’ve wanted to do as a musician.” When his twin daughters, Elsa and Clio, were born in 2006, Moock started shifting the focus of his music from adults down to children, except instead of singing down to kids, he got down on their level and sang to them. It wasn’t until July 2012, however, that perhaps Moock realized his ability to reach out and touch kids through song could do something deeper than make them simply smile and hum.

Last summer Clio was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which Moock’s wife, writer and former longtime Babble Voices blogger Jane Roper, has written about extensively on her blog. Like other families who’ve been rocked by cancer, Moock was changed profoundly — personally and professionally. He walked around the hospital that first week or so that Clio was there, but then he stopped pacing, picked up his guitar and started strumming.

“Singing together in the hospital was transformative,” Moock said, “not just for Clio, but for me. It reminded me how powerful music can be, and I wanted to bring that experience to other kids and families going through the same thing.”

Clio helped Alastair write songs about her journey, and “eventually, I realized I had an album’s worth of material on my hands — material that, I felt, looked cancer pretty squarely in the eye and that might be of some use to other kids and families traveling similar paths,” Moock said.

Below is a video for one of the heartwarming and funny songs on Singing Our Way Through that speaks to adults and kids who are touched by cancer — and even those who aren’t. Also below are some of the joyous photos of the Moock/Roper family taken in the past year that show through the darkest period of their life, they still found a few bright rays to light their way through it all:

 

 

[videopost src=’http://youtu.be/IVS2DP0RQvU’]

 

All photos used with permission from Alastair Moock

To donate to help Alastair perform and distribute free albums to patients, hospitals and oncology programs around the country, click here.

To download Singing Our Way Through, click here.

 

More from Meredith on Babble:

Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the Op-Ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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