The word has gotten out that we here at A man, a band and a plan… are reviewing songs and CD’s. The good news is that someone is reading our blog. That’ I am successfully spreading the word of kindie which is part of the reason I write here. But now Publicists and bands are sending me material as well. The bad news is I now have more stuff to review and listen too. Up till now most of the kids music I listened to was acquired via CD swap. One of mine for one of theirs. Especially at the now defunct kindiefest. The Poochamungas have traded with the likes of Joanie Leeds, Little Miss Ann, Johnny Bregar, Kurt Gallagher, The Hipwaders, Joanie Leeds, The Boogers, Rollie Pollie Guacamole, Story Laurie, Recess Monkey, The Not-Its, and many others. This is a great way to build a childrens music library of high quality tunes. Plus no pressure to listen right away. We here at Poochamungas HQ like listening to lots of music and to buy all that music would be cost prohibitive. But now they are mailing CD’s with expectations! The pressure oh my goodness… THE PRESSURE!!! (a bit overdramatic) As Ross Perot used to say “Here’s the deal We promise to give everything a listen. If it’s exceptional we shall review it. Whether it’s a song, CD art or the entire package. Excellence should be its own reward but we’ll gonna try to help spread the word on this thing we call kindie. Plus I’ll try to spread the word on works you may not have heard of but are excellent and should be heard. That’s the deal. So to get started…
groovin in the garden
As I type this I’m listening to a CD by Laurie McIntosh aka… Story Laurie. I acquired it while hanging with a bunch of musicians, on a beautiful Brooklyn night, hotel rooftop, during kindiefest (cue sad music). The CD is solid with a mixture of traditional songs and originals (Dean Jones produced) but the song I really like is Grandma Said. Just a Uke, groovy bass line for attitude, drum shuffle and Lauries knowing vocals. This is a song that takes you to moments remembered with Grandma. A child asking thousands of questions and Grandma not knowing. Which is ok because someone is listening which is what kids really want. Someone to be interested. The close of the song is perfects as Laurie sings Grandma saying “But Those were the best questions she’d ever heard”. Nice affirmation and it’s a song I wish I had written. So go to the link below and by the song. Buy the CD. Support artists so they can continue to make music for us to enjoy!
Posted in CD reviews, family, song reviews, Travel
Tagged Children's, Dean Jones, grandma, Hipwaders, Joanie Leeds, Johnny Bregar, kindie, Kindiefest, Kurt Gallagher, Little Miss Ann, music, Poochamungas, Rollie Pollie Guacamolie, Story Laurie, The Boogers
The long road I mentioned yesterday (link here) just got a little longer and harder. I flipped on the laptop this morning to find that kindiefest was over. It has disbanded for reasons unknown and I for one am a bit saddened by this. It was my hope that eventually we could have a similar event in the Midwest, preferably Chicago though anywhere in the Midwest would be fine (hello Jiggle Jam!) Everyone in the kids music world knows the Justin Roberts, Laurie Berkners and Dan Zanes. You also get to meet the Jim Cosgrove’s, Kurt Gallagher’s and Laura Doherty’s. Regional musicians who were plugging away, making a living but all looking for new ideas and sharing their own experiences and you got to meet the ones struggling just like you were. That was the best part for me. Showcase was always a lot of fun, (for the record I did buy the Pizza in 2011 not wanting to have to leave showcase) there were some really worthwhile panels (find your own Mississippi-thanks Molly Ledford!) and the Friday Keynote/meet and greet was always a highlight. I got to meet so many unpretentious great musicians and industry folk like Kurt Gallagher, Sean Hogan, Kathy O’Connel, Jeff Bogle, Dean Jones, Dave Loftin, Paul Butler, Danny Adamson, Joanie Leeds and her future drummer husband (his name is Dan), Jim Cosgrove, Mindy Thomas, Kenny Curtis, Jack Forman, Justin Roberts, Beth Blenz-Clucas, Bridget Rymer, Story Laurie, Stefan Shepard, Bill Childs, Tor, Stephanie Mayers, Mona Kayan, Mista Cookie Jar, Justin Lansing, Joe Mailander, Johnny Bregar, Key Wilde, Chris Wiser, Rod Martin, The Pop-Ups, Laura Doherty, Little Miss Ann, Tim Kubart and the others I have forgotten. I say thank you all for your insight, kindness, advice and laughs. Especially the laughs! I don’t know about you folks but I’m not ready for this party to end. Kindie Chicago 2014? It might happen…
Posted in family, Travel
Tagged Bill Childs, Dan Zanes, Dave Loftin, Dean Jones, Jeff Bogle, Joanie Leeds, Justin Roberts, Kindiefest, Kurt Gallagher, Laura Doherty, Laurie Berkner, Little Miss Ann, Mona Kayhan, Paul Butler, Sean Hogan, Stephanie Mayers, Tor
I want to make this a the first semi regular topic here on the blog. Sometimes as an artist you hear a song and think to yourself… Wow! That’s brilliant. I wish I had written that song. Well it happened a few weeks ago when listening to the new Lunch Money CD. Now initially I wasn’t a big fan of the group. I think Molly Ledford the lead singer/songwriter is amazing and writes smart lyrics but the music on a whole didn’t click with me. My colleague Jeff Bogle (Out With The Kids) thinks the world of this band so I kept an open mind. Well one day in the car listening to Spicy Kid on Kids Place Live it hit me what a great tune it is. I was hooked! So when I got home with their Spicy Kid CD after Kindiefest I put it on in the car for a proper listen. While the CD is excellent with many great tunes the one that really got me was Translator. Simple. Poignant. Funny. Brilliant. It’s a one minute and fifty four second love story. The opening line is “You ask them for a bathroom and they hand you a balloon.” When you can define a subject and story in one line… Wow! As a writer you continually work to convey your message so simply with such power. In one minute and fifty four seconds Molly conveys her love for her child better than people who have written novels and filmed movies. So yes I wish I had written this song. Lucky for me Molly did and I get to listen. Besides she’s a better singer! Go get the song and CD here today!
Cover of American Profile. Diane Guthrie photo.
Anyone who reads this blog know of my trials and successes as a kindie musician. To promote my next CD I have taken the next step of hiring the services of Publicist Elizabeth Waldman Frasier of Waldmania (very excited.) So imagine my surprise when I see my daughter has garnered the photo in American Profile (a national publication) in an article titled Jiggle Jam by Carol Crupper. Sure it’s an article about Jim Cosgrove, Dan Zanes, Frances England and the Okee Dokee Brothers but there on the front page is my daughter singing along with Jim! (she’s the tall redhead) Now Jim is a great guy, friend and Jiggle Jam is a festival worth making the trip to if you get the chance. Really the best family festival I have ever been to… Twice! But I’m thinking maybe I hire my daughter to do the PR? After all she just made the cover of a national publication…
It’s been three weeks since I attended Kindiefest and we have been working our way thru all the music we received while in attendance (By we I mean my two kids and I.) A few CD’s have been really separating themselves from the rest. First is The Hipwaders – Golden State.
One of our new Fav’s!
The hit on Kids Place Live (KPL) was a groovy cool sounding Hey Josie. But The Ramble (been stuck in my head for a week in a good way) is my favorite. If you like California surf guitar licks with a driving backbeat this CD is for you. Next is Johnny Bregar – My Neighborhood. I define this as American Music. Rock, Blues, Country and all cool. We
Rocking CD with flavors of blues, country and all cool.
were big fans of Polly’s Rain Dance (played on KPL) and the whole CD is just a continuation of great sounding music. To call this kiddie music or label these CD’s as just for children is a disservice. As we in Poochamungas land like to say. Good Music Knows No Age. The third CD which is not a “kids” CD (the band closed kindiefest.) is David Wax Museum – Knock Knock Get up. It’s defined as Mexo-Americana but WOW! To try to categorize the music limits what this album really is. While you can hear the Mexican and Americana influences the music is it’s own definition and it totally blew me away.
The title song is amazing as is the rest of this wonderful music. There is a very deep musical pool on this CD and I suggest you jump on in. I shall be voting for them come Grammy Time (The other two artists CD’s released in 11′ and 12′ so no voting for them.) I still have a few more CD’s to listen and will report as I do. But these will all be in rotation for weeks to come.
Posted in CD reviews, family, Recording, Travel
Tagged American Profile, Dan Zanes, David Wax Museum, Frances England, Hipwaders, Jiggle Jam, Jim Cosgrove, Johnny Bregar, Kindiefest, Mexo-Americana, Okee Dokee Brothers, Waldmania
Johnny Bregar and Danny Adamson
Bill Childs got his swag bag.
After a full night the day before I awoke at 7am looking at the ceiling. No kids, no place to be till 10am and I awake at 7am!!! I was not happy. So I headed down to the lobby for breakfast that is offered by the hotel. One of the better continental breakfasts I have ever seen. Not just scrambled eggs and sausage but make your own waffles and fresh Brooklyn bagels!!! So after a low carb breakfast of eggs, sausage, a couple of potatoes and water. I headed over to the treadmill to continue working on #alittlelessfat. While the competition is over the battle is not yet won (I have a ways to go.) So after 25 minutes on the hamster wheel, a trip to the new man machine I was off to kindiefest. Arriving at BAM I realized what I had left in Chicago. My kindiefest badge. So after registering and getting a replacement my 3rd kindiefest was officially started! I could go into the different panels I saw and didn’t see. Or how I missed the Lion and the Bear during showcase because I forgot my wallet back at the hotel (a very big moment of panic). The was also the feet so sore syndrome affecting many after hours of standing, talking, walking and laughing. But mostly I came away with two things. One was “find your own Mississippi River.” Molly Ledford said this in a panel referring to the Okee Dokee Brothers Grammy winning album Can you Canoe? (we loved it too!) Stefan Shepard talks about this in his blog better than I can. Go read it here. The other thing that I got was MAKE GREAT MUSIC. This was repeated during a few panels and ties in with “find your own Mississippi River.” The music has to inspire you before it inspires others. Which is what I imagine most of us artists try to do. I use my kids and my childhood to write my music. This was mentioned on a few panels. My motto for the band has become Good Music Knows No Age. I don’t try to write age or kids specific songs. I try to write good songs and hope kids like them. Since I have two kids I tend to write about things they are interested or things from my childhood they can relate to. So I could ramble on about all the great people I got to talk too, drinks shared, empanadas eaten and weary, weary feet. I will not. I will thank Melissa Levis and Bridget Rymer for sharing their piece of wall with me Friday night as I sat and rested weary feet. A very enlightened conversation.
David Wax Museum were amazing!
The David Wax Museum for playing music that made me say wow during Sundays festival and the kindie community at large. I know it goes without saying but the biggest fans of the kindie music are the artists themselves! It is the generosity of others , their input and help and makes it possible for me to do what I do. So thanks to Bill. Tor, Mona and Stephanie for holding another festival. The next post I will review some of the CD’s I garnered at the festival!
Stefan, a hidden Johnny,Jack and Ralph at the Empanadas truck for lunch.
Posted in family, Fitness, gigs, Recording
Tagged BAM, Bill Childs, Brooklyn, David Wax Museum, Jack Forman, Johnny Bregar, Kindiefest, Molly Ledford, Okee Dokee Brothers, Ralph Covert, Stefan Shepard
Sitting in the airport recovering from Kindiefest. Will be writing a full summary this week. Late nights, panels, great music and many laughs. And I managed to learn a thing or two…
Brroklyn Academy of Music
I have talked about Kindiefest coming up at the of April and how my band failed to get selected for the showcase and about moving forward. Which is what I am doing. Still chasing leads and applying for gigs. Still working to complete the new CD . Still promoting, rehearsing, scheduling, writing and practicing at home. So I am going to Kindiefest because even though I’m not showcasing, which would have been nice (but expensive to put up the whole band with travel), I still need to spread the music of the Poochamungas. Plus I get to see some old friends, make some new ones and learn a thing or two from the panels. Brooklyn here I come.
While I am headed off to Kindiefest I offered a challenge and a bet to my friend Jeff Bogle. We are both looking to get in better shape and I offered a bet on losing weight. He accepted. We established that the greatest % of weight lost from now till the Fest would be the winner. The loser would be required to wear the T-shirt belonging to the team they most despise. Jeff roots for FC Barcelona so he shall have to wear Real Madrid.
I am a White Sox fan so I would have to wear (this is only theoretical since I plan on winning the bet) the dreaded cubs.
I used Jennifer Connely to make the shirt bearable. The winner supplies said T-shirt. I’m liking the Real Madrid shirt in pink but the louder the better… The thing is when your Rolling with the Bogle (see previous entry here), things seem to get bigger. And the bet did. He called me out on a blog podcast! He also invited others to join us in the challenge. He call it The Kindie Rock Fitness Challenge. So I’m all in. Come join us at #alittlelessfat. Get in shape, lose some weight and Jeff my friend… It’s on like Donkey Kong!
Last but not least is our show. We are playing at one of the best venues in Chicago. The Poochamungas are at Schubas this Saturday, March 23rd at 3pm. We have some brand new songs, favorite songs and a great new show. We promise to rock yer socks off and bring loads of silliness as well. See you there!
Posted in family, Fitness, gigs
Tagged #alittlelessfat, BAM, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Chicago White Sox, Concerts, cubs, FC Barcelona, Fitness Challenge, Jeff Bogle, Kindiefest, Poochamungas, Real Madrid, Schubas
In the last blog I talked about applying for gigs and accepting it isn’t personal. Every year there is a kids music conference in Brooklyn, NY called Kindiefest. Kindiefest hosts a Saturday night showcase for up and coming bands… Well once again the Kindiefest has chosen the artists to perform at their showcase and once again the Poochamungas have failed to make the bill. We were not chosen to play at the conference. While I figured we wouldn’t I am still disappointed. Here’s the thing. I know it’s not personal. But I have been to two previous Kindiefests. I have promoted it even in the year I couldn’t go. People have a face to go along with the Poochamungas name and most importantly my music and show are ready. It took a lot of doing to get to the point where we are actually ready and not just thinking we are. Some of the improvements to my show and CD are a direct result of talks with the people running Kindiefest. They have been a great resource and for that I am grateful. So this year when I applied by creating a new profile on Reverbnation (it was free) I was hopeful. The thing is, I probably know a bunch of Artists feeling exactly like I am right now. But once again I realize IT’S NOT PERSONAL. The people who run the event have to sift thru hundreds of applications and I am one of many who are disappointed. That’s the way life works. Get over it and move on to the next gig application. So congrats to those who got a slot. Have a great show and see you at Kindiefest.
Public Relations. That’s the word I ponder much these day. I’m looking at hiring a publicist for the next CD. I feel it’s worthy. I would like more people hear it and play more gigs as well. Right now I do everything for the band. Write, produce, book gigs, schedule rehearsals, and do all the publicity (posters, internet, this blog, etc). Well there are only so many hours in the day. I still have a job, wife and two kids so I am reaching out for help but help costs money. Is the investment in a Publicist worth the end result? Some people swear by them and others aren’t so sure. I have been fortunate to talk to some knowledgeable people and have to make a decision. Soon. I’ll let you know.
Best guy in the world
My son turned 3 today. He keeps growing taller and smarter everyday. His speech has leaped forward and he sees everything. He’s had a lot of influence on my music along with his sister. Plus one of his favorite things to say is “Dada. Let’s Jam.” He’s my drummer/keyboards/guitarist and lead singer at the same time. Totally awesome. Happy Birthday son I love you.
Back to reality/ post Grammy Blues
I’ve been home a week and a half since the Grammy’s and life has returned to normal. Normal as it ever is being married with two kids, working fulltime/stay at home dad and oh yeah! I started a band a few years ago. My life priorities pretty much run in the same order except the kids come before the wife. She would agree. Right before the Grammy’s I was sending emails to places that might hire us for a gig. We’ve had some success here with local libraries, getting return gigs at a few venues and festivals and just got booked at Schubas (this is a local legendary music hall and we’re very excited). We got the gig because we stuck with it. What I’m leaning is that there is no fast track to getting gigs. Most bands work through this same process. Apply for jobs, send out emails, make phone calls, send demos (make sure they’re good!) or videos, network and here is the most IMPORTANT PART… FOLLOW THROUGH! Just like your golf swing or jump shot. If you send off one email or just apply for a gig and wonder why the phone doesn’t ring well… Follow through. This does not mean you start stalking after gigs. That just pisses people off. What this means is when you send an email and get No Reply. Two weeks later send a follow-up email. You may not get a reply (try again. I usually go with 3 attempts). They may tell you they’re booked please inquire in a year. Write it down and in a year try again with your new songs/videos, improved (up to date) EPK (Electronic Press Kit), ETC. Go to a few industry events because people who book shows and play shows usually attend. Talk to fellow musicians and band who do what you do. Share what you know and listen to what they have to say. Meet bookers and listen to what they have to say. I went to the Grammys for this reason. I Will Attend Kindiefest if possible for the same reason. Putting a face next to your music (make sure it’s ready!) makes you not a stranger when inquiring about your next gig. Hand them a business card, CD or both. BE POLITE AND COURTEOUS AT ALL TIMES. This is small industry and if your rude, inconsiderate or a general dirtbag the word will spread. Use your manners and most of all keep plugging away. That’s what I’m doing. If you have any other suggestions feel free to share.
Rockin’ Out Island in the City
Now onto performance improvement. We’ve had really good gigs and some not so good gigs (nature of the beast). The learning curb is steep and fast. In terms of musicianship we have been knocking it out of the park our last few shows. We listen to each other and the band has really come into its own but our showmanship needed some work. So that’s what we’ve been doing. Finding what works for us. Call and response, dance moves, silly band antics, how to keep the show rolling, fun and the audience participating. The fun should always lead back to the music which is why everyone is there. Being that most kindie shows run 45 minutes to an hour this isn’t rocket science. It does take some structure, planning, rehearsing, rehearsing and more rehearsing. Because it’s not enough that the band sits around and plays really good music. You need kids and parents to feel involved in the show. It’s a Live Music Experience and all should have a good time. Or what’s the point?
Shameless Grammy Photo
Lastly the Grammys. I think I had a Grammy hangover the last week. It was all so much fun and I did so much (see Rollin’ with the Bogle)it took a few days to really take it all in. Mind you the day after returning home I went right to the firehouse. Total reality check. But here’s what I am proposing and leave comments as you see fit. The Pre-Telecast Grammies was a nice show with some really great music acts. Why shouldn’t one of the Childrens Grammy acts perform for the pre-telecast show. I think it adds legitimacy to the whole kindie movement. Especially with this years acts and the fact the house band TOTALLY ROCKED! The Pop-Ups singing “Connect the Stars” with a live band would’ve been awesome. Or the Okee Dokees doing “Haul Away Joe” or my personal favorite “Thousand Star Hotel” with the big house band. Those are just great songs. Heck it was a Woody Guthrie year so why not Elizabeth Mitchell singing any one of Woody’s songs? A lot of Bill Harley songs are timeless and ageless and JumpinJazz Kids could have rocked the house. So powers that be if you read this let’s get the ball rolling! The Kindie movement won the Grammy now we need to take the stage.
Posted in family, gigs, live music
Tagged Bill Harley, Elizabeth Mitchell, Gigs, Grammys, Kindiefest, Okee Dokee Brothers, Poochamungas, Schubas, The Pop Ups