Tag Archives: Grammy

Grammy Day!

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Five.  That’s the number of people and bands I know up for a winning a Grammy today. Four of them happen to be in the same category and the fifth I just met the other day and posted about (What are the odds?).  You won’t be seeing them during the prime telecast but the pre-show festivities are available to watch via the Grammy Webcast.   Oh those artists I mentioned. Well around here we’ll be rooting for Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Pop Ups and The Okee Dokee Brothers. Not forgetting my recent adveture with Keb Mo who has a few nominations of his own.  Good luck everyone and you’re all Grammy Worthy, even if you don’t win!

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This Years Rymer Recipient

It’s with a bit of irony that the man who I named the award for best Children’s Album that should of been nominated for a Grammy but wasn’t is himself nominated for a Grammy this year. Brady Rymer.  He latest effort Just Say HI!BradyRymerJustSayHi is pretty darn good.  Almost as brilliant as the one I started this award about (Love Me For Who I Am) and another excellent effort. A big congrats too getting the Grammy Nomination this year as he is an artist well deserving of it.  So are his fellow nominees Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Pop Ups and previous winners The Okee Dokee Brothers.  The fifth spot is filled not by a musical artist but by the book reading of the inspiring story and Nobel Peace prize winning – I Am Malala.  I have already spoken on how I think this has been placed in the wrong category in a previous post (Comparing Apples to Steak…).  No the guys whom I thought put out the Best of the Best musically this year for “Children” this year did it all analog. I am referring to those guys from Seattle – The School Break Primates. Better known to the public at large as Recess Monkey! The put out one smoking hot CD  called WIRED Cover Art_Recess Monkey_72 dpiWIRED which filled my number one spot this year on my top ten  (and my amended top ten). In fact all the nominees except for the book reading were in my top ten!  So please go check out WIRED as it is a superior product as well as the rest of the nominees as they are well worth the listen. Go support an independent artist today.

 

Comparing Apples to Steak. Poor decision by the Grammy’s.

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A few years ago the Grammy’s made a decision to eliminate and combine some categories in efforts to streamline the awards.  One of those affected by this change was the Children’s category and this year you can see it was a bad idea.  Okee-Dokee-Bros-Through-the-WoodsFour of the five nominees are albums of music. The fifth is a spoken word CD which used to be a separate Children’s spoken word category and for good reason.  It’s like comparing apples to steak. Other than both being recorded works any similarity ends there.  You have 4 great albums of terrific music from Brady Rymer, The Pop Ups, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo and The Okee Dokee Brothers. The 5th entry is I am Malala. The amazingly inspiring story of a young girl who stood BradyRymerJustSayHiup to the Taliban, was shot and nearly killed in her pursuit of education. For her actions she deservedly just won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.  It’s a book worth listening too or reading.  What I don’t understand is why this recording is not in the Spoken Word Category and instead in the Children’s category. I am reading the story and it is not just a children’s book. It is a worthwhile story for all ages.  Just because it’s written from a child’s point of view does not inherently make it a children’s book. It is a read for everyone and thus should be in the spoken word category or NARAS should bring back the Children’s Spoken Word category. I am disappointed the academy allowed this perfect quirkentry in this category.  Either way if you’re a voter go listen to the 4 great kindie artists and give them proper consideration. Also go read or listen to Malala’s story as it is truly inspiring.  Go support a kindie artist today!

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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!

The truth about Okee Dokee Brothers Music!

Okee-Dokee-Bros-Through-the-WoodsI’m usually not one for writing expose’ pieces but I can hold quiet no longer.  There are a few bands out there posing as “kiddie” bands of which I won’t mention but one band in particular MUST BE EXPOSED!  I’m talking about those happy go lucky folk singing Okee Dokee Brothers.   If you’re not familiar with them they like to go out on long trips and then write songs about the experience. Their first travel inspired album was about canoeing down the Mississippi (Can you Canoe? review) which won a Children’s Grammy. The most recent one is about hiking down the Appalachian Trail.  How are kids supposed to learn about counting when the sublime acoustic sounds and harmonies of the title track Through the Woods takes us out of the city and into the forest?  How can little Jenny, Billy or Isaac learn about colors if they insist singing about Smokey Mountain BBQ, mountain life, love and family in the song Ruby Jane?  How are kids gonna learn to touch their knees and toes if they insist life sounds better in the eclectic, Dean Jones piano driven Out of Tune?  These here are not “kiddie” songs and I’ll tell you what they are…  Americana inspired by the music of the Appalachian. Songs that resonate with folk of all ages.  Music that take the listener on a journey of wonder.   I could go on about how great the CD is but you should go out buy it, listen to it and enjoy two of the best songwriters I know working with one of the best producers (Dean Jones) I know. There’s nothing wrong with “kiddie music” done right.  But the biggest crime here is how many people will never listen to this CD because it’s labeled a Children’s CD when it is so much more.   Go support a Kindie artist today!

For your consideration

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I did it.  I just addressed the CD to be sent to The Recording Academy so I can let my peers vote on my CD to be nominated for a Grammy.  What are my chances?  Not very good.  We have an excellent product and by we I mean all the folks who worked on it –  Alton Smith, Pete Cunningham, Don Zaloudek, Frank Izzo, Nancy Rose, Frank Rose and John Abbey.  We also had some super help in vocals with Anna Fermin and Emily Hurd. Is It Grammy worthy?  Well I like to think so but that really has no bearing on who wins.  Justin Roberts put out a power pop masterpiece last year and lost to a lesser album.  Not that theJR recess winner’s wasn’t really good.   Just not as good in my opinion.  Which others would perhaps disagree.  But I digress…  The great thing about recorded music is that eventually the truly great pieces transcend time.  Grammy or no Grammy.  Why do I enter mine if I’m pretty sure I’m not going to win?  I’m a dues paying member so why not?   No one ever won anything by staying home.  If you’re a voting member please make Poochamungas one of your 5 selections.  Thank you.

The Song and the Process. Along for the Ride by the Okee Dokee Brothers

okeedokeebrothersotsA couple of years ago a couple of kindie artists I know went and put out one of the finest folk Albums I have heard in a long time. Fooled everyone in to thinking it was a “Children’s” album and then went on to win a Grammy for Best Children’s Album in 2012.   On an album full of great songs (Thousand Star Hotel being my personal favorite) Along for the Ride truly stands out on the CD Can You Canoe?  It totally embodies our philosophy that good music knows no age and is one of the finest songs I know of lyrically and musically.  Back in 2011 Joe and Justin went on a trip down the Mississippi to write songs for an album and shoot a DVD.  What I and many people don’t know is that they had CYC_cover_wGrammymost of the songs written before they even left.  Seems the Okee Dokee Brothers are big fans of preparation.  In fact when they are getting ready to record an album they like to have 30-40 songs ready before they even start recording.  Both Justin and Joe each commit to writing 3 pages a day in their song journals when preparing to record an album.  That’s a lot of writing!  In doing this they try to “eliminate the cliché and look for the original.” This also takes off the pressure of them having to come up with ideas while on the trip and instead allowed them solidify the songs they already had and then come up with a new song or two.   Joe said the trip down the river “really solidified the imagery” in their songs.  Especially the case in Along for the Ride when you’re talking about Huck (Finn), Tom (Sawyer) and Becky (Thatcher).  The song itself started out in the Spring of 2010 in Minnesota and didn’t get finished till Winter 2011 in New York.  The journey of the songwriting sort of parallels the journey of the song.   Originally it started it with a completely different music but it didn’t work. Joe (this songs primary songwriter) liked the imagery of Odysseus and Peter Pan and some of the lyrics and the idea of traveling.  He was also on a personal journey at the time reflected by the words in the song. The theme of the first version Okee-Dokee-Brothers-On-the-Riverstarted out much more one sided and apologetic.  But the idea of relationships is about being an “active participant” as Joe said. The idea you gotta meet each other half way and not just “Come along for the ride.”  So the dynamic of the song changed as did the music.  He then bounces this stuff off of Justin as they always do.  Working verses, rewriting, finding the heart of the song though collaboration.  Once in a while they’ll bring in a finished song but usually it’s through the partnership the song finds a home.  Joe talked about writing 100 songs to find the two worthy of recording. To work in your craft with the idea of finding excellence in a song.  When they finished the trip and validated the imagery on the songs they brought it to record at No Parking Studio with who else but…Dean Jones (I’m thinking there’s a future interview there).  Dean offers them two directions.  Go real simple, stripped down acoustic and bare bones.  Looking for a buttery sound, minimal but full of sentiment or… Go with the full rock production (different than rock sound) meaning drums, piano, organ, etc.  make it BIG which is the direction they chose.  They also do a cool trick of playing the verses at one speed and then slow up the chorus parts.  This causes the ear to focus even if the listener is not aware making the chorus feel more laid back.  Knowing they wanted a female voice on the chorus they ask their friend Rachel Loshak who’s a terrific singer (Joe has a great story about recording with her) and she really helps bring out chorus as well.  They get Jeremy Mage on Piano and he does a terrific job of laying the foundation for the song.  I really love how the song starts acoustically small and the sound grows bigger as the song grows, finishing with the full band after starting with a simple acoustic guitar. Dean (Jones) said the key was to be fill the song without it becoming cheesy.  That it be simple but full.  To have great music behind the lyrics and not over shine them. I’d say they succeeded. It’s really a timeless classic of a song which reaches out to listeners of any age.  They have the emails to prove it. no parking studioFrom Grandparents to 6 and 7 year olds singing along at it’s a magical song that really reaches into the heart of the listener.  Don’t take my word for it.  Go have a listen for yourself and let your ears go Along for the Ride.  Be sure to catch them live at the Old town School of Folk Music this Sunday, February 9th at 11am.  They promise to play the song as well!  They also have a new CD and DVD set to be released later this year.  What more could you ask for! Go support a kindie artist today!

Listen to Along for the Ride here on Spotify and then go buy the CD on their website or the single on iTunes so they can keep on making great records!