Huck and Lilly: Music for Kids and the Grown Ups Who Love Them

Ken Johnson (Huck) and Andi Zack-Johnson (Lilly). Photo credit: Dawn Chapman Whitty

Ken Johnson and Andi Zack-Johnson came to 30A for the summer. At the end of October, Ken looked at his wife and said, “We’re not leaving, are we?”

That was in 2016. The Johnsons – also known as musical duo Huck & Lilly – have found themselves at home in the Florida sun ever since. In fact, they’ve just released their second Huck & Lilly album, aptly named ‘Sunshine’.

The couple’s music is what brought them to 30A.

Ken, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, grew up coming to the area. Andi is from British Columbia, and had visited several times with Ken.

They were living in Nashville, writing songs professionally. Each has an impressive resume: Between them, they’ve worked with or had songs recorded by artists such as Brothers Osbourne, Vince Gill and Harry Connick Jr.

Photo credit: Dawn Chapman Whitty

Just for fun, they decided to make a kids’ record for the children in their family. “It sort of turned into a project,” Ken said.

They toured to support the album, then decided to change their tactics: they came to 30A where they can stay in one place and still play a show to different people every week. Now they’re busy performing as Huck & Lilly at festivals, house parties and neighborhood events throughout the area. During the off-season, they tour the region.

Huck & Lilly (named for Huckleberry Finn, Ken’s favorite book and the lily, Andi’s favorite flower) specialize in music for children – but Ken and Andi are quick to point out their music appeals to adults as well.

Their motto is: “Music for kids and the grown-ups who love them.” Fans may notice more of a coastal feel on their new album.

“It’s a little more beach-oriented,” Andi said of “Sunshine.” That’s by design – they wanted their sophomore effort to stand apart from their first album, There’s a Tree Growing in My Room.

That album got airtime on Sirius XM Channel 78 – even without a label behind it. Thank Andi’s persistence for that – she contacted the Kid’s Place channel music director directly. “For the second record, they contacted us to see if they could get an advance copy,” Andi said. The channel started playing not just one, but four songs in heavy rotation.

Ken and Andi are also on television, appearing as cast members on the first three seasons of “I Love Kellie Pickler.” The CMT show stars Pickler and her husband Kyle Jacobs and is produced by Ryan Seacrest.

But they’re still just having fun as Huck & Lilly, entertaining kids and adults with their upbeat music and fun characters, like Phil the Fiddler Crab and Slo-Mo Jo.

They said they’re grateful for the warm reception they’ve had over the past two years. “People down here on 30A just embraced us,” Ken said. “Really made us feel welcome.” Andi agreed. “Everybody is everybody’s biggest fan here. Just like in Nashville.”

M.J. GRENZOW is a freelance writer who loves the beach and super-fast recipes that remind her of the water. When she’s not actually at the beach, she’s plotting her next escape to sand and surf.

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