Tag Archives: Lunch Money

The Song and the Process. I Must Be a Genius by Dean Jones

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Dean Jones is busy these days recording other peoples music.  When I called he was in a session with Molly Ledford (Lunch Money) and Billy Kelly who are working on a project (they had stepped out for lunch). He also works or has worked with with Story Laurie, Recess Monkey and those two Grammy winning children’s music impostors (they’re really great folk musicians in disguise) The Okee Dokee Brothers and many others.  Dean’s really a go to guy when it comes to music production but he is also a most talented songwriter in his own right and likeable fellow as well.  There aren’t a lot of smartly written love songs in the kindie music world that I know of.  The two that come to mind are Pandas are Dangerous by The Boogers and I Must Be A Genuis by Dean Jones. While the Pandas song isdog on fleas bogof totally Punk Rock (still sentimental) this one is more charming and sweet reminiscent of the 40’s piano driven pop song.  I think Bing Crosby but I digress…  When asked where the song came from Dean said “Out of the blue. Some of the best songs are BOOM. The Phrase just came out.”  So he had the I must be a genius and the love me, love you too part so he needed music.  He went to his default chord structure.   A bunch of chords he was used to writing in (mine is E A D). Dean wasn’t always a kindie music guy.  He had a band like all those other bands out there and one day his  friend who owns a toy store told him “his songs where juvenile.  Why not write songs for kids?” So that’s what he did and Dog on Fleas was Born.  When not writing or producing music he also plays out professionally, accompanies  a puppet company plus Dad and dishwashing duties. Dean is married with two kids one of whom is already songwriting at 7 yrs old and in his (Dean) words “Writes good stuff.”  Me, I’m thinking Dean writes really cool offbeat tunes and with this song he is quite genius indeed with this shuffling drum, trombone highlighted, piano driven two minute masterpiece.  Go check out  this song on Buy One Get One Flea!  Go check out all of his work and go support an independent artist today!

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Good stuff

This weekend has been pretty busy.  First on Saturday members of the Poochamungas worked on a Top Secret project for the upcoming Big Leap fundraiser for my children’s school.  More details to arrive later in the week.  Then my son and I went to The Old Town School of Folk Music for a concert with The Okee Dokee Brothers.  There were also birthday parties, holiday parties, carnivals, and what not!  Busy but fun. okee ots

If you are looking for a great place to start in the kindie music world Brickton Montessori (our school) is having their yearly fundraiser and among the items up for bid online are a Kindie Music CD Collection.    This is a tremendous oppurtunity to get a lot of great music and help a good cause at the same time! All CD’s were donated by the artists reflecting the many great music styles available. From punk to pop and jazz almost every genre is covered.  Included are Dog on Fleas, Joanie Leeds, Mr. G, Jim Cosgrove, Lunch Money, The Hipwaders, Alistair Moock (Grammy nominee), Grenadilla, Mister Singer, Little Miss Ann, Story Laurie, Lori Henriques, Recess Monkey, Mr. Kurt, Baze and His Silly Friends, The Boogers, Heidi Swedberg and Her Sukey Jump Band, and Bricktons very own Poochamungas!  Just added an autographed CD from our friends the Okee Dokee Brothers!!!  Bidding starts at $60 but I’m sure the price is going to go up.  Get to bidding on this fantastic-super-amaz-a-riffic deal today! While your there see if anything else catches your eye.  Only 4 days left!brickton big leap

The Song and the Process. Translator by Molly Ledford of Lunch Money

carportFor the longest time I had been playing with a rhythm on the guitar using harmonics (see Wikipedia for explanation)and a clock like tempo.  I really loved the sound but had yet to develop a song or put words to it.  Imagine my surprise when I first heard Lunch Money’s song Translator and and it had the same rhythmic sound I had been working on (not anymore).  The rhythm perfectly matched with its lyrics conveying a bittersweet message about a small child whom no one understand but the parent who translates for the child.  Bittersweet because the child will one day grow up and not need their translator/parent.  It conveys the frustration of the child and the love of the parent at the same time.  The fact the first line of the song –You ask “where is the bathroom” and they hand you a balloon– Was taken from a supermarket incident with Molly’s lunch money wagonown child  makes it even more special.  So many parents can relate.  Molly says most songs come to her in bits and pieces.  She sings them into her phone (gotta love 21’st century tech) or they are lost forever.  Kind of like when you wake up from a dream and try to remember as the memory starts to fade.  Then she takes the recorded pieces and works on them later.  In this case when she awoke one morning at 8am the whole song pretty much wrote itself.  Inspiration had struck and had given her a nearly completed song. Usually there’s a lot more work involved.  Going back to the recording and working through the many ideas she has put  in their various completed states looking for a home.  She then develops the words and melodies into songs. But this time she got it all.  So she has the words and melody but has to now translate it (bit of irony) for the studio to record. Originally it’s a jolly happy song.  With the growth of the tune comes a bit of sadness.  She’s thinking of using  moog_prodigy_lgcello player Heidi Brown Carey as she has already played on the song Awake but doesn’t want the same sound. Heidi introduces plucking the cello notes in rhythmic/clock time and it’s the perfect vehicle for the lyrics.  Then her husband/engineer (they record at home) Jay lays down some atmospheric  Moog (played by Stevie Wonder and may others) in the background and they’re done. Finished.  They will later take their songs to Old House Studio in Charlotte, NC to have them mixed by Cliff Garges.  I’d say he did a fine job as the whole Spicy Kid album sounds great.  Molly has a few more projects lined up in her near future.  She’s teaming up with Billy Kelly for songs about trees. molly BillyThe just announced this on Facebook the other day.  She is also involved in an all girl band (non-kindie) and has been collaborating with a puppet show to write the soundtrack not to mention another CD about animals at the local shelter. Wow!  She is not one to stand still for long. Do yourself a favor and check out Lunch Money’s last release Spicy Kid and especially Translator. Written from a parents perspective it’s a high quality CD with really superior lyrics that you should give a listen too today!

Translator

Translator

Songs I wish I had written

SpicyKid-Wallet.inddI 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!

Pre-Kindiefest – Day 1- 2013

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Flying in on a beautiful NYC morning

My feet are finally feeling better.  Another whirlwind weekend in Brooklyn, NY will do that to them.  Walking to and from the hotel to venue (.6 miles) and talking to people while standing and more standing and talking and listening and standing and eating and standing.  Long day on the feet will do that to you.  But while you’re having fun you tend not to notice.  And fun I had!

Early morning transportation

Early morning transportation

Day one had nothing to do with the Kindiefest event except for checking in.  It started with me waking up at 4am to catch my 6:45am flight.  I grabbed a cab and off to O’Hare Airport.  After a quick, no frills, flight where we waited an extra ten minutes on the runway because of the sequester we headed off to NYC.  We then arrived ten minutes earlier than scheduled.  Moving fast were we.  I must say that air travel wise it was the easiest I have ever flown and I checked a bag both ways. (La Guardia Sunday night was 10 minutes from curb to gate, checked bag included!)  Upon arriving I called my friend and fellow Northeastern Illinois Alum Jennifer Tuttle (amazing actress and now college professor) who picked me up then off her place in Astoria.  I then met her husband Kip and we discussed making a Poochamungas video as he is a professional film director, editor, etc.  Very cool guy.  I am looking to working with him sometime this summer (as long as the planets align and our schedules allow).

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Great guys in great hats who make great music and me!

Recording at KPL

Recording at KPL

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Steve Songs, Kenny Curtis and Dean Jones.

We then had a great lunch at a Queens diner and then she dropped me at my hotel.  I had enough time to clean up, change my shoes, hook up with Jeff Bogle (Out With The Kids) and Dave (Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl) Loftin and take a subway to Manhattan  and Sirius/XM headquarters.  We were invited to the live taping of a future show involving many of my favorite kindie bands doing songs of other Kindie Bands.  (Mindy Thomas had an inspired idea for  show and talks about it here ).   I also handed out the first copies of the Poochamungas new CD Block Party!    In the building was a who’s who of kindie artists.  Recess Monkey, Lunch Money, Tim and the Space Cadets, Mista Cookie Jar, Charlie Hope, Sugar Free All Stars, The Pop-UpsDog on Fleas, Steve Songs, Okee Dokee Brothers, The Not-Its and Brady Rymer.  I had a great time and even got to sing backup on the big number at the end (Thanks Mindy!)  I’ll  be sure to report here when the show airs on Kids Place Live.

NFL Draft day as well!

NFL Draft day as well!

After the show I joined Jeff and Dave for a dinner in Manhattan. I had no idea I was within a block of the NFL Draft headquarters as we walked by Radio City Music Hall on our way to meet the McHatton Clan along with Morgan Taylor.  The plan as outlined by the adventurous and technologically advanced Jeff Bogle was to have our paths intersect as we walked toward each other in NYC and the find a suitable eating place as well.  Well part A of the plan worked really well as Jeff and the McHattons did a great job of locating each other (technology is awesome).  Plan B took a bit longer but we finally did find a suitable place to eat for party of 10 as Mista Cookie Jar and the lovely Jenna joined us as well.  While the meal was OK it was great to talk with everyone at the table.  Lots of laughs and good conversation. Morgan explained to me the origin of Gustafer Yellowgold which was very cool ( My sons first concert other than Poochamungas was Gustafer. He’s a fan! You should check out The Underbirds as well.) Then it was back to the Subway and then bed somewhere around 1am after a very long but informational and enjoyable day.  Day two was only 9 hours away!