The Hipwaders Rock! What more do you need to know? Their latest CD is worth the purchase. Fun lyrics, great vocals and harmonies not to mention that cool California grove that they’re famous for. We are big fans of this band and Year Round Sounds brings some new tunes, covers and holiday music our family has been digging. They now sit in the much coveted car CD slot! Willie Samuels does a great job once again of making the band sound great in the studio. Mic Check , Kings and Queens and The Books I Like to Read are three of my favorite songs. I find this a worthy follow up to The Golden State my only complaint being… Tito when’s the next release? They are having a CD release party this Saturday, September 13th in Vacaville, CA. Go buy this CD and support a kindie artist today!
Posted in CD reviews, family, gigs, Kindie, live music, Music
Tagged all ages, California, Children's, family, kindie, music, rock, the hipwaders
Here’s a crazy fun fact! Would you believe that Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and I lived within a half block of each other in 1994? Right here in Chicago by Belmont and Clark? Well it’s true! What is also true is the genius of this song and writing from the view of an imaginary friend who looks at the world in the belief that he’s real and the boy he hangs with is the imaginary one. It all started with the idea for a song about imaginary friends. Mr. Skidoo let it marinate in the brain awhile. Like myself 23 is a big fan of comics and the idea of the parallel or multiverse. This is where the idea of what if the Imaginary Friend had a universe of his own. Telling the song not only from the child characters point of view but making it a duet by having Pickles (the Imaginary Friend) who believes he’s real and the child he’s with imaginary contribute to the story. Two universes in one song! So the idea is set and now he sets up Pirate/ Sea Shanty hook. Which is how the Skidoo Process works. IDEA – HOOK – MUSIC – LYRICS. He tends to write when he has to. He disappeared for a month writing for this CD though he is storing ideas all the time in his phone. The ideas use to exist on scraps of paper under a stuffed monkey (which may be a song idea of its own) but with technology he may be saving a few trees. But I digress… Because he’s now living in California and likes to record back with his crew in North Carolina there was a bit of travel involved with the CD. For him the funky music groove he needed was where he had done his previous album in NC. The musicians do a fantastic job (I love the horns and the spooky keyboard). He has one ending written but ends up changing it under the advice of his wife (a honest sounding board is very helpful). Now he needs a pirate voice so he calls his pirate buddy (Of Course Secret Agent 23 Skidoo has a pirate buddy) to lay down a vocal but… too scary. How about Jack Forman (We’re big fans of this Recess Monkey/KPL DJ)? Too nice. So Skidoo is showing another vocalist what he’s looking for and bingo. He finds that groove he’s looking for within himself. Not too scary or nice but just right! If you like smart songs with a funky haunted house vibe and great horn play check out this song. Right now Secret Agent is in the middle of a National tour, finishing up a Halloween song and putting out a 7” vinyl with The Not-It’s. Imaginary Friend can be found on The Perfect Quirk. So go listen to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and support a Kindie Artist today!
Posted in CD reviews, family, Kindie, Music, song reviews, songwriting
Tagged California, friend, hip hop, imginary, kidhop, Kids Place Live, kindie, music, North Carolina', Recess Monkey, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Never thought I’d go for a Lullaby album. Especially one full of covers! I detest song covers that offer nothing new, especially in the realm of traditional music. If you’re planning to cover a song I implore, plead and beg of you to OWN IT. Make the tune your very own. Don’t tread the path of repeating a song that’s already been beaten to death. When I listen to the Edie Carey and Sarah Sample CD Till The Morning: Lullabies and Songs of Comfort. They take ownership of the material they are covering. There are 3 originals (14 songs), the rest are inspired and thought out covers. California Star is a Bob Dylan song, via Wilco, now via Sarah and Edie is ethereal. A great new version of an already great song. The other songs on this disc are expansive, fulfilling, relaxing and tranquil. It’s a very pretty album with strong vocals, original arrangements and lots of strings. If you’re looking to unwind for the day with the kids or alone this is a great choice. It goes perfect with a cup of tea (or something stronger) while sitting on the porch as the sun sets over the neighborhood. On June 24th the CD becomes available to the public. Click the link and Go support a kindie artist today!
This CD was provided to the author for purposes of review. The opinions here are his own.
Posted in CD reviews, family, Kindie
Tagged Bob Dylan, California, Children's, Edie Carey, Jeff Tweedy, kindie, lullabies, lullaby, music, Sarah Sample, Sarah Sample CD, Star, strings, Till The Morning, traditional music, Wilco
The Ramble holds a special place in our hearts here at A Man, A Band and A Plan… Sort of. This was the song that my daughter choose for her first ice skating solo last summer. It had already been one of our favorites and The Golden State album is one of my recommended choices for people entering the world of Kindie music. I met head songwriter/ Hipwader Tito Uquillas at my very first kindiefest (definitely a theme around here). He is a full time paramedic (still working 24hr shifts for a private ambulance is a rare thing these days) and I am a full time firefighter so we had a few things to talk about. It’s always fun to exchange stories with people in the EMS industry. We also share a music making philosophy – Get in a band with musicians better than you as we both consider ourselves songwriters first. Well we didn’t exchange CD’s at that time (my usual way of obtaining music), it was at another kindiefest 2 years later and Hey Josie (also on The Golden State) was a big hit on Kids Place Live at the time. It seems after that first kindiefest, on his last day, he went and spent a day in Central Park roaming. Having already visited many NY destinations (Greenwich Village, Wehawken, etc) connecting all the things he had seen on TV and movies while growing up. He then set off on an adventure of a different sort. The goal that day was to walk through Central Park and head to the Museum of Modern Art. Being a California guy this open space in NYC came a bit unexpected. He came upon a cool foot path that took him through the trees and rocks, winding through arches and over bridges, through bushes around ponds… Then he found out the name of the path was “The Ramble”. He had an idea and quickly sang into his phone. The original version he says was more of a hop scotch rhythm to it. More of a chanting version sans bass, drums and guitar. So he takes this back to California and has a version of this song in mind. He also has some other songs and the band goes and road tests them- meaning they’re rehearsing them and putting them in their live shows. The Ramble has started to morph. He looks up birds of Central Park and finds a warbler which works. After a year of practicing all the new stuff they head into the studio. By now the Ramble is completely different. The chanting rhythm has been exchanged for a drum rhythm and the full band version is rocking. They now have a tom-tom dominant drum line (Tito wanted more tom like Christopher Walken wanted more cowbell) and the guitar riffs and bass line are set. They now need a studio to record in as they are ready. Through a series of events they end up at Studio Trilogy and record with Willie Samuels. Willie has a great story as to how that ever important drum sound in The Ramble came to be…”I do something when recording drums where I have my “standard” microphone set up, but I will usually throw up one or two “oddball” microphones in random locations around the drum kit just to see if any “magic” comes from them (usually not, but its a fun experiment). On those sessions, I put up an old RCA 77 ribbon microphone about 5 feet out in front of the drum set. It was a weird, and funky sound that didn’t seem to contribute much to the drum sound. BUT while mixing The Ramble, I was having difficulty finding a drum sound that fit the vibe of the track. I pushed up the fader with that RCA microphone on it and everything just came to life. It gave the drums this great old Bo Diddly quality that really fit what Nick (Hipwaders drummer) was playing with all the floor Tom work. I took it a little further and pulled back all the other mics and the drum sound on that tune ultimately ended up being almost completely just that one microphone”… Basically he’s saying most of the drum sounds came through the one mic. Which is not how you usually record drums. So very cool. Which is why you hire a good engineer. Which is a story for another day. Moving on… Tito is an inspirational type of songwriter. He can go six months without writing anything and then write six songs in two weeks. He usually writes the chorus and melody and then fills in the rest. Occasionally he’ll find a guitar riff and work from there. Go have a listen to The Ramble and the rest of The Hipwaders catalog as it’s some pretty tasty stuff. They’re headed back into the studio this year for a yet to be named new CD. I’ll be looking for it and you should as well. Go support a kindie artist today!
Posted in family, Kindie, Recording, song reviews
Tagged California, Central Park, Children's, Kids Place Live, kindie, music, NYC, the hipwaders, the ramble
This is where I list songs that are appropriate for all ages. My response to those who claim “kids” music is simplistic and limited. “Good Music Knows No Age” is how we respond and here are three more songs that could be played alone or mixed with others with no one the wiser they came off of a Kindie CD.
Grenadilla – I Shall Sing. With the funky bass beats, perfect harmonies, pian0, guitar and even a tin whistle this song just exudes joy. It has a tropical rhythm. Appropriate for any set list.
The Hipwaders – Hey Josie. It’s a perfect piece of California Pop Music. Strong Vocals and harmonies, power chords and that California sound though and through. One of the best crafted tunes you’ll ever hear!
Josh and the Jamtones – Jump Up. The title song off of there debut CD is ska infested dance party madness! It has to be 3 minutes of the most energetic music I have ever heard and it would play anywhere at anytime.
That’s three more songs to add to our ageless kindie music list for now. Please add suggestions you may have for consideration.