Annie Kananack was born Annie Broussard, the daughter of Willie and the late Joyce Hebert Broussard of Maurice.
She graduated North Vermilion High School in 1983 and went on to the University of Southwestern Louisiana, playing for the Lady Cajuns softball team and graduating in 1987.
She moved to Los Angeles to pursue a screenwriting career, but returned to Maurice in 2006 with her four sons, following her husband Mickey Kananack’s death from cancer in 2003.
Annie said she wanted her sons to attend the same schools she did, and experience the atmosphere of growing up in the same small Louisiana town, as well as being closer to their grandparents.
It was while living in Maurice that she met Laven, and it was love at first sight, Annie recalled.
During her time in L.A., Annie had met a number of famous people, and she and her husband had become friends with John Cowsill, childhood member of the 1960’s band The Cowsills (the inspiration for “The Partridge Family” television series) and drummer for The Beach Boys since 2000.
Cowsill and the other Beach Boys became close with Annie and her sons, she said, particularly after the boys lost their father, and invited her and her family to their concerts when they were on tour in the area.
Last year, Annie said, she attended a concert in Houston when Cowsill introduced her to an acoustic guitarist managing the band’s merchandise while they were on tour.
“John could not believe he had never introduced us before. He asked, ‘Have you met my wonderful, incredibly single and available friend Annie?’” she recalled.
“It was like lightning struck, the clouds opened up and it was instant bliss,” Tab said of the meeting.
The two exchanged contact information, and Tab asked her to listen to some of his music online at MySpace.
“The next day, I went to MySpace, listened to his music, and basically fell in love with him at that moment,” Annie said. “The songs really represented who he is, his lovely, youthful spirit.”
The two began a courtship that stretched over 600 miles, from Maurice to Nashville, Tenn.
After her mother’s death from cancer that year, Annie knew it was time to move on, and that Nashville, with its music industry and artistic community, was the right place for her to be, career-wise.
“When I met Tab, it had made the decision easier,” Annie said, and so she and her family moved to Nashville in August of last year.
Growing up in Minneapolis, Minn., Tab had played guitar from the age of 12, learning by listening to his Beatles and Simon & Garfunkel vinyl records until the grooves wore down.
After graduating high school in 1974, he moved to Los Angeles, where he got his big break in the music business touring and recording with Mary Macgregor, best known for the single, “Torn Between Two Lovers.”
More recently, Tab has been performing acoustic guitar on tour with one of his childhood heroes, Art Garfunkel.
Divorced with one child, Tab said being a father inspired him to write a number of songs for children and the young-at-heart.
While many of the songs have youthful themes, like chasing balloons or daydreaming, the essence of the songs is nostalgia, looking back on happier times and reliving them.
“I still feel like I’m 12 years old inside, and the things that fascinated me and made me wonder as a 12-year-old still do,” Tab said.
“I had always thought I’d like to take my songs and release my own album - some day,” he laughed.
It was Annie who decided that “some day” was “now.”
“We sat down and I said we need to get going on this album. It needs to be made,” Annie recalled.
They got together with engineer Mills Logan, who had done work for such performers as Toby Keith and Taylor Swift, and got to work on the album.
Logan called in favors to get a number of top-notch performers for the album, and Garfunkel contributed vocals for the lead track.
“The whole project really came together because of the help, from Mills stepping in, to Art (Garfunkel) hearing “Cranberry Red Balloon” and wanting to help. Everyone who contributed did it because they wanted to help be a part of this,” Annie said.
The album took almost a year to make, and was officially released Oct. 30, exactly one week after Annie and Tab got married in Malibu.
Perhaps appropriately, since Annie first heard Tab’s music online, the promotion for the album relies heavily on online social networking.
Annie, who is in charge of the marketing, said, “The goal is to build an experience around the music. Rather than just buying the album and playing it, we’re creating an interactive experience surrounding the music.”
Annie has been creating a number of videos for the songs, with short clips on Facebook and YouTube, and the full versions on their website, www.cranberryredballoon.com.
The intention is for fans to post their own thoughts, memories and pictures relating to the music.
“The goal is to bring people together to create space in a happy, positive environment that can be shared with other fans,” Annie said, “It’s a venue to create and share in, and to make people feel good.”
The theme for the album is “Revive your inner child,’” Annie said.
“In a time when there is so much chaos and confusion in the world, this is a respite; you can put it on and remember all the good things,” Annie said. “It’s the kind of album I wish I had when I was the parent of younger children.”
Tab said it’s a relief to finally have the album completed. “It’s so rewarding to have something done, to have something out there saying, ‘This is me, this is my life’s work.’”
This won’t be the end for Tab, however. The musician said he’s already begun thinking of ideas for another album. With Annie at his side, the next one isn’t likely to take 10 years.