Chicago Toy and Game Show or lots of COOL STUFF TO PLAY WITH!

ChiTagLogo_Hi_ResThis weekend is the 10th annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair!  We went last year and what a great time we had (thanks to The Rock Father for getting us invited). Two dads and two kids got to check out the latest and greatest in toys coming out.  Not only do you get to play with the toys many times you get to meet the inventors as well.  The kids were pretty much totally rocked the whole thing and we got to enjoy the blogger breakfast as well.  If you have a chance head on over to Navy Pier this weekend as it is open to the public. This Saturday, November 22 from 10am-6pm and Sunday, November 23 from 10am-5pm. A great time for the whole family! $10 adults, $5 kids and under  3 attends free.

Dan Zanes is here THIS SATURDAY!!!

dan zanesIn a town (Chicago) filled with great kids music we are truly blessed with the variety and quality of the acts that play in the neighborhood.  Laura Doherty, Little Miss Ann, Istvan and his Imaginary Band, Human Tim+Robot Tim, Miss Jaime, Mister Singer, Jeanie B! and national acts  Ralph’s World and Justin Roberts (two time Grammy nominee).  So the fact that my family and I are excited to see Dan Zanes and friends this Saturday is a bit of a big deal.  He is  referred to as the founder of the modern Kindie (kids independent) movement and one of the first to play great all ages  shows.  He is also an artist that inspired me to get into the kindie movement when I heard my band mate (pre-Poochamungas) Pete play Wagon Wheel.  A song I profiled on the blog earlier this year in my Song and the Process  series (see article here).  I’ve seen Dan play solo and with Elizabeth Mitchell but never with the full band so this is a treat. We’ve probably listened to the Catch That Train CD a thousand times. Watched the Jump Up video just as much.  My daughter is a big fan and I’m sure my son is about to become one as well.  The thinCatch-That-Train-300x300g about Dan’s music is it’s all rooted in Americana. Whether rock, traditional, folk it’s always got terrific roots. Dan’s secret is simple. Play great music that everyone can enjoy.   So head to the Harris Theater this Saturday, November 15th at 2pm. It’s gonna be a whole lot of fun for the whole family. Now go out and support an Independent artist today!

The song I wish I had written. Kalamazoo Star by Gerald Dowd.

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The best written song I have heard this year is the non-kindie type written by all things a drummer in a kindie band. A DRUMMER! Yes though I am not as shocked and amazed as you might think. The song is Kalamazoo Star and it’s written by one Gerald Dowd.  Most of the time you find him behind his kit backing one of the many fine bands he plays and sings with (Justin Roberts, Robbie Fulks, Frisbie, Kelly HoganElectric Dirt, etc) but, on this occasion he has released a CD of his own material.  Home Now is a great example of American Music and Kalamazoo Star is as good a song as one can ever hope to write. A superior CD with filled with great American music.  Props to Liam Davis stars-in-the-night-sky(producer), John Abbey (engineer) and the many wonderful musicians and singers (too many to list) behind the music. As good as the CD is this tune stands apart.  The magic of the song is its positive message in the face of and mournful and sad occasion. Add in the fact the band itself sounds like they could be playing on your front porch, barn, campfire etc. It’s a celebration of life in the face of death and it’s all done in a single take (They saved the best take for last!).  “There’s another star in the Kalamazoo Sky tonight. Same old sky but it feels brand new”. Someone special has passed on and even in death they are looking over family and friends. It’s poignant, sweet and smart. Anyone who ever penned a song wishes they could write songs like this. Thanks for this one Gerald. I’ll be looking for that star next time I’m in Michigan.  So where can you get this CD.  Head on over to www.geralddowd.com and he’s supposed to have it available by Friday.  You can also catch him in the street or a concert venue near you. I’m sure he’ll gladly sell you a copy or two. I intend to buy a bunch as Christmas gifts this yeat. Go and support an independent music artist today!

Day of THE DOWD… or how all drummer are now called in my house.

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Tomorrow is Saturday, November 8, 2014 and it is also the Day of the Dowd at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub.  Many of you who read this blog or are friends of mine on Facebook are aware that my son is the creator of THE DOWD.  Not Day of the Dowd (that credit goes to his smart and talented wife) which I will be supporting tomorrow. While he is best known as a drummer extraordinaire and in our family the drummer for the Justin Roberts band to which we have attended a few shows.  Somewhere along the way of seeing him at shows and festivals we became friends. Our two sons get along thick as thieves being only a year apart and living in the same neighborhood. So a  while back I was having a morning jam with my jam cartson which we are known to do on more than one occasion.  He will gather all of his drums, keyboards,ukes, guitars (some real, some toys) and bring them all out to the front room and say… “Daddy let’s Jam!”  He does this on occasion with his mom too but mostly me as I am usually practicing my guitar or attempting to write a new tune. Well on that day my wife was home and since he was jamming on keys and guitar and I had a guitar he asked his mom to play the drums.  Only he asked her “you be THE DOWD.”  We asked for clarification and he matter of factly explained “you play the drums, you be THE DOWD.”  Now I have a great drummer in my band named Frank Izzo and never have we referred to the drummer as “THE IZZO” or as his Pooch jersey saysJoe mendota “JOES DAD” (the original drummer was Frank’s son Joe).  Not sure if it was Gerald’s son’s influence or the beard or that he plays for Justin Roberts.  Whatever the cause all drummers in my house are now referred to as THE DOWD.  I’m sure this inspired Gerald to go write an album immediately as 3 year olds have the power to inspire.  Or maybe his many years of hard work, gigging, recording, practicing, singing, hanging around great musicgdowdians and life may have a small reason to do with him releasing a brand new album.  You go ahead and think that. But around here we know the truth. Go forth tomorrow and by a ticket for Day of the Dowd at Fitzgerald’s Nightclub and enjoy some great music. Hope to see you there and be sure to by a copy of the new CD ‘Home Now.  I’ve heard a few of the tunes and it sounds good!

A corrected addend-ed amended Top Ten, I did!

'Appetite_For_Construction'_Album_Cover

A couple of weeks ago I posted my top ten kids CD’s (My Top Ten and Rejected Again) plus a few others the family was grooving too and it seems I missed three worthy candidates in the process.  Two of them because I hadn’t heard them and the last one because well… I forgot.  I listen to a lot of music so this sometimes happens.  So my top ten is now like the Big Ten Conference which they still call the Big ten but actually has 14 teams.  So with no further ado here is the addendum to my top ten CD’s.  Music please…JOR

  1. The Pop Ups – Appetite for Construction (Great music from the two guys most likely to write a Broadway kids show.)
  2. Randy Kaplan – Jam on Rye (Comedy, kids and conversations with great music  as only Randy can bring.)
  3. Seanster and the Monsters – Yay! (Just a CD filled with lots of silliness, fun and great music. I don’t even hold the Canadian thing against him. This is also my hidden gem of the “TOP TEN!”)YAYCover

So go check these out along with my original list and support an independent artist today!

My top ten and rejected again

WIRED Cover Art_Recess Monkey_72 dpi Once again I sent my usual 10 page resume (not really) along with a request to be Okee-Dokee-Bros-Through-the-Woodsa judge for the Fids and Kamily Awards.  Once again I got a polite but firm denial to this exclusive club because they don’t allow kindie musicians to be part of the club…sniff, sniff.  Well even without my vote they are BY FAR the best award an artist could hope to win.  There are no fees involved and there are multiple industry, blogger and qualified people voting on the music which is not always the case with a lot of the awards out there like.  Many times only one or year_round_songstwo people are reviewing all the music AND they charge a nice bit of coin. So congrats to the Fids and Kamily winners.   Here is how I would have voted. Free of charge! My top ten CD’s of the year.  Cue the music… Top Ten Cd’s for this year

  1. Recess Monkey – WIRED  (The best CD I heard this year)
  2. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Through The Woods (Not as great as the last one but still amazing)
  3. Edie Carey & Sarah Sample – ‘Til the Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort (Caught me by surprise.  Outstanding vocals and music)
  4. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – The Perfect Quirk (Great CD with smartest written song this year)
  5. Dog on Fleas -Buy one Get One Flea (Dean Jones showing his own Genius)
  6. The Hipwaders -Year Round Sounds (Just a great music with a California feel)
  7. Brady Rymer – Just say Hi (Still the most underrated kindie artist out there with another great CD)
  8. Laura Doherty – In a Heartbeat (Lyrics for tots. Music for everyone and from Chicago!))
  9. Jon Samson – A New Kids Album (Sonically amazing)
  10. Mills Trills – Everyone Together Now (Superiors vocals and a big sound)

dog on fleas bogofThese are the my pics for the best CD’s out this year.  For me the best CD by far this year is WIRED by Recess Monkey.  Not because the others aren’t great but because this one is so musically, lyrically and sonically awesome good! I should also mention its Grammy nomination voting time.  I still have some listening to do before I make my final Grammy Picks but rest assured WIRED has already made the grade. Everyone in the kindie world who is a voting NARAS member should have this as one of their nominations. I shall leave the other 4 to you.     Lots of great music BradyRymerJustSayHiout there this year. Bands super worthy but not in my top ten include Josh and the Jamtones –  Bear Hunt (I’m not big on narration but my kids laugh a lot), Baze and His Silly FriendsThe Best Day Ever (just feel good music and my wife liked it!), Lucky Diaz and The Family Jam Band –  Lishy Loo and Lucky Too (Thingamajig is an amazing song!), The Not-Its! - Raise Your Hand (Power Pop awesomeness) and finally Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights -  Good Egg (Good songs and music on the whole disk).  Now I still have a few Albums to check out before I vote for the other 4 Grammy nominees but you should go and check out any of these CD’s. Go support an independent artist today!

A New Music Library!

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In my efforts to spread the music of kindie and the fact I have now a large collection of  said music.  I have started a kindie library at the kids school!  Included but not pictured is the message included which states:

Enjoy the music! If you like what you hear go support the artist and buy the CD/MP3/Tunes so that artist is able to continue and make art for us to listen too!

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This month the library’s  featured artists are The Grammy winning Okee Dokee Brothers - Can You Canoe?  One of my family’s all-time favorites and a tremendous CD of Americana music. Plus it comes with a DVD of their trip down the Mississippi that inspired the music. The other is Heidi Swedberg and the Sukey Jump BandHeidiCDcoverMy Cup of Tea.  She is best known as Susan on the Seinfeld series but now makes incredibly fun and eclectic ukulele driven music for the whole family. Both CD’s are excellent and please go support a kindie artist today.