Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, the California-based, kid-friendly hip hop musician who got is start in Asheville, has a brand new album that he’ll be debuting with a CD release party in conjunction with a 1 p.m. performance Saturday at the Better Dads Festival at Pack Square Park.

Skidoo, also known as Cactus (his real name is Joel Sullivan), won a Grammy last year for Best Children’s Album with Infinity Plus One. It was his first win; he was nominated in the same category in 2015 for Perfect Quirk.

Now he’s back with a concept album that involves the work of more than 40 musicians, including many of Asheville’s finest. On the album, titled “Wake Up The Dream,” your subconscious and unconscious, otherwise known as DJs Sub-C and Uncle Unc, spin dreams all night long on the station WREM Dreamtime Radio. The songs are dreams and “all of it morphs together into one soporifically funky nocturnal broadcast,” Cactus says.

Here’s more from the note Cactus sent me about his new work and his show on Saturday, June 16, in downtown Asheville:

This album will be coming out in partnership with Amazon Music on June 29, but I decided to do an early release for the AVLiens. We’re playing the Better Dads festival on June 16, the day before Father’s Day. We play at 1 p.m., and we’ll be teaching rhyme writing workshops earlier in the day!

This is a festival that is in its second year, and grew out of the ManKind Project, a network of mens groups that help men to become more whole and responsible and to have more honesty, respect and integrity, in life and especially as dads. The idea is to become a Better Dad than you were yesterday, and to work on doing that every day. It’s an honor to be playing the event, and I think it’s a perfect spot to drop the new album.

Sooooo, this album is a sort of concept album, with 40 musicians and singers, mostly from AVL, combining to weird the world even more than usual. It’s called “Wake Up The Dream”, and it’s a captured nocturnal recording from the “Dreamtime Radio” show on WREM, where DJs Sub-C and Uncle Unk, also known as your very own subconscious and unconscious, are spinning dreams all night long, interspersed with the usual public radio banter, only all of it happens inside your head. Some of the dream-songs delve into the nature of dreaming, both asleep and awake, as individuals and as a nation, and others are just weird stories with deep inner meaning, dreamlike in quality. And in the way that dreams morph into each other without ever stopping, there are “innerludes” that act as musical bridges between the dream islands.

It features many of Asheville’s finest, such as Jamar Woods, Phil Bronson, Marley Carroll, Indigo De Souza, Matty Williams, the Cramer brothers, Jacob Rodriguez and Justin Ray, and of course, most of Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. We also brought Henry Westmoreland up from NOLA, where he’s part of Squirrel Nut Zippers, and got Kendra Foster, singer and songwriter for both P Funk and D’Angelo, to grace the album with her dreamy presence.

I hope you like it!

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