Cowsills – 2013

This Newport family band put Rhode Island back on the map after the British Invasion of the early 1960s and are revered around the world as early proponents of the Sunshine Pop school of rock ‘n’ roll.

Singer/songwriter/storyteller Bill Harley began performing in 1975. He launched his career as a children’s performer from Providence in 1980 and the following year, he and his wife and manager, Debbie Block, were two of the founders of the Stone Soup Coffeehouse. In 1984, they created Round River Records to release Bill’s first album, Monsters In The Bathroom. His star rose rapidly and over the course of the next three decades, he has released nearly three dozen best-selling albums. He is one of the most successful musicians in the history of the genre and in 1990 Entertainment Weekly dubbed him “the Mark Twain of contemporary children’s music.”

He is a two-time Grammy award winner taking home trophies for Blah Blah Blah in 2007 and Yes To Running! in 2009. But Harley defies the description of a strictly “children’s music” artist. Along the way, he has lent his voice, in the tradition of Pete Seeger and Woody Guthrie, to social, environmental and political causes and has released five albums of adult folk music. He has had an equally successful career as an author, storyteller and NPR commentator/host and has won dozens of awards including Gold and Silver Parents’ Choice awards and the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio’s highest honor, the Platinum award. In 2010, he was the recipient of the Rhode Island Humanities Council Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2015 an Honorary Degree from Hamilton College.

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