This year marks 25 years since children’s musician Jim Cosgrove officially became “Mr. Stinky Feet” on stage.
And Cosgrove is celebrating that milestone anniversary this week with the release of his first original album in more than a decade.
In addition to the album release, Cosgrove is gearing up for a tour across Kansas, which kicks off with a free concert and CD release party at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, May 25, at the Leawood City Hall Amphitheatre.
Cosgrove has played more than 4,500 shows as Mr. Stinky Feet
Cosgrove “fell into” music when he taught himself guitar and started writing songs for his nieces and nephews.
He played his first gig at a children’s story time event at the Barnes and Noble bookstore at Leawood’s Town Center Plaza — after which, he said, members of the audience immediately asked if he’d ever recorded an album.
Since then, he has recorded 10 albums, toured across North America and Europe, and penned three children’s books based off his music — in addition to publishing a true crime memoir (for adults) last year.
“What I’ve discovered over the years is that kids are kids, no matter the language or the culture,” he said. “Kids love to sing, they love to dance, and they love interaction — that has never changed.”
The new album “Scoops of Love” comes out May 29
CD copies of the album will be available at the concert on May 25, but the album will have its official digital release on May 29.
Cosgrove said the album is centered around love of all different types, whether that’s love for your family, your pets, your local librarian or even ice cream.
“Almost every song mentions love somehow,” he said. “Each of these songs is kind of a scoop of love, to my family, to my friends, to my fans, and I hope that they feel that and see that.”
The tour has ties to college and education
Cosgrove’s upcoming tour is sponsored by the Kansas’ Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Program, which is sponsoring five free shows across the state.
The program promotes state-sponsored college savings accounts (known as 529 accounts), and the release of “Scoops of Love” coincides with National 529 Day.
Cosgrove says he hopes to help raise awareness about how families can plan for their children’s education.
“It was kind of a perfect match because their base [the 529 program] is kind of my fan base — young parents who are starting to save for their child’s education,” he said. “I thought, ‘Okay, that’s something I can get on board with.’”
Cosgrove and his team will accept nominations for which Kansas organizations, schools or nonprofits will host the free shows later this summer.
He has found more than a career by being Mr. Stinky Feet
The early days of Cosgrove’s musical career are also when he met his wife, Jeni, who worked at the Leawood Barnes and Noble where he performed his first show.
He said “Just for Today,” one of the songs on his new album serves as a message of comfort to his future self and his wife, who has been in treatment for breast cancer the past two years.
Today, Jeni works as Cosgrove’s business manager and books his shows.
The couple have two daughters.
Cosgrove is looking forward to performing close to home
He’s especially grateful for the support of his fans in his home in the Kansas City area and says he’s looking forward to getting to play for them.
One of his favorite parts of performing children’s music, he said, is the immediate “authentic” reaction he gets from his young audiences.
“I love kids because they’re so honest — they will tell you immediately if they don’t like something, and they’ll tell you if they love it. They’re so in-the-moment present, which really is a good lesson for me always.”
Go deeper: Jim Cosgrove, better known as kids’ musician ‘Mr. Stinky Feet,’ has written a true crime memoir