Inspired by a shared childhood spent outside, The Okee Dokee Brothers’ Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing create bluegrass- and folk-inspired children’s music that encourages the whole family to embrace the outdoors.

While not actually brothers, Mailander and Lansing cite their lifelong friendship as an essential foundation to their songs. Their 2012 album, Can You Canoe?, was written while floating along the Mississippi River and resulted in a 2013 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Music Album. Their 2014 release, Through the Woods, was written during a month-long hike along the Appalachian Trail. These adventure albums aim to instill in their listeners an appreciation for friendship, teamwork, nature and being present in the moment.

Here, the two talk about their lifelong friendship and their commitment to making quality music for children, and they also sing the title track from Can You Canoe? at The Landing living history museum in Shakopee, Minn.

Special Thanks: Jefferson Spilman, Tom Knisely, Three Rivers Park District, The Landing at Three Rivers

Additional Media: Alex Johnson Photography, Jed Anderson, Danny Clinch; GRAMMY and the gramophone statuette and logos are registered trademarks of The Recording Academy® and are used under license


This story is made possible by the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund and the citizens of Minnesota.


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