Joe Scruggs

A native of El Paso, Texas, Joe Scruggs' work has a relaxed "Texas" style that is at home in classrooms and living rooms alike. Joe was born in 1951, and attended the University of Texas in El Paso. He later went on to receive an MA through Texas Tech University.

Joe started singing in folk groups in his Methodist church in the late '60s. He was heavily influenced by folk singers of the day. But Joe loved whimsy too: the most influential pop song on him was "Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini." Joe spent every spare moment practicing his guitar.

The practice paid off. Joe ventured into children's music, and, in 1983, decided to create his own label, Shadow Play Records and Video. He asked his longtime friend Pete Markham to head up the company. Pete showed his commitment by moving from Los Angeles to Austin, Texas. Pete has been at the helm of the company ever since. In less than a year, the company put together its first release, Late Last Night. Joe's humorous lyrics and rich arrangements made the album an immediate hit.

News about Joe's work was spread through city-wide concerts in Austin, and through concerts and showcases at teacher's conferences such as the National Association for the Education of Young Children. The Discovery Toys catalog featured Joe's albums, and helped get Shadow Play into homes across the United States.

Joe's albums have won numerous awards, including Parent's Choice, the Oppeheimer Gold Seal Award, and an American Library Association's Notable award. Joe's videos have also won awards. And Joe's wacky song "Bahama's Pajamas," which featured two wacky birds who misinterpret a love song, won Best Original Song at the 1996 Cable Ace Awards. ~ P.J. Swift

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