I haven’t been writing much here lately as life’s other obligations have gotten in the way. But I have listened to a whole lot of kindie music this year. This years top ten is only a top 7 because these are the ones I remember without effort. It seems after 46 years the memory just went. If I remember a CD later I’ll just amend this list These are ones that have spun in the car and in the house. The ones that my children still request and dance and sing along too.
7. We All Shine – Playdate. Good CD and they stole my publicist and photographer! I’m not bitter at all. You can read the review HERE.
Photo by David Kindler
6. Hamster Pants – Ratboy Jr. This CD got a lot of play in the car this year as well. There silly pop philosophical musings of hamsters in pants, barbarian librarians and skunk and robot relationships kept us entertained for hours on the road.
5. Hot Air – Recess Monkey. Them boys have really hit their rocking stride in their last two CD’s with the John Vanderslice guy recording all analog and funky.
4. Trees – Billy Kelly and Molly Ledford. If ya told me you were going to make a CD about Trees I would of laughed at you. Well this is the second CD on that subject to prove me wrong (Underbirds was the first) and this one went and got a Grammy nomination. Strong songs by two fine song crafters.
3. Rocksteady – Josh and the Jamtones. I gave Josh and Pat a bit of a hard time over the narration on there last CD Bear Hunt but loved the music. My kids dug both. Well we all agreed this year that this CD was rocking right beginning to end narration and all. No one rocks as hard as these guys and they include horns! Really a great CD.
2. How Great Can This Day Be – Lori Henriques. On my post earlier this year I described this CD as pure joy. Any other year it probably would of been #1 on my list. This also received a well earned grammy nomination and you should should check it out.
1. Deep Woods Revival – Red Yarn. On a two week road trip with my kids to Colorado this became our soundtrack and we as a family never tired of it. Along with Big Audio Dynamite, John Mayer and Bob Seger this one was constantly requested by the wife and kids. It is also this years Rymer Award Winner for the CD that should of been nominated for a grammy but didn’t get there. It’s folk music, opera, story telling and a full audio experience. Andy Furgeson gets better with every CD he puts out and this one is my favorite this year.
That’s all for now folks. See you in 2016!!!
Posted in CD reviews, family, Kindie
Tagged Billy Kelly, hamster pants, Josh and the Jamtones, kindie, Lori Henriques, Molly Ledford, music, playdate, ratboy jr., Recess Monkey, red yarn, rock, roll
I went to the Arlington Heights Public Library today to drop off a few Poochamungas Cd’s they’ll be giving out for reading awards during the summer. I always try to help out libraries as much as possible. For one they are a valuable resource in many places and secondly they always support the many kindie musicians plying their trade around the country. The Poochamungas have definitely played more than a couple library gigs. So after dropping off CD’s I took a perusal of what kids music they had available. Well right away you notice Disney and that kidz bob (cutesy no talent edited recycled garbage IHOP). What then struck me was the number of kindie artists available as well. Casper babypants, the Not-Its, Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey, Bari Koral, Ralph’s World and many others. They had a great selection of FREE kindie music for anyone interested in introducing their family to high quality family music. I also know the Des Plaines Public Library carries some great music as well. If you live in either of these neighborhoods check out them out! You won’t be dissapointed.
As for the other free music my favorite cast of characters takes the stage at Simons tomorrow at 8:30pm as Electric Dirt. They’ll be singing the songs that Levon Helm sang all to well and celebrating what would of been his recent 75th birhtday. This ones free as well but be sure to drop a few dollars in the hat. It’ll be worth it!
Posted in family, Kindie, live music, Music
Tagged casper babypants, children, Electric Dirt, Justin Roberts, kids, kindie, library, music, Poochamungas, Recess Monkey, The Not-its
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! 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 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.
Posted in CD reviews, family, Kindie, Music, song reviews
Tagged Brady Rymer, Children's, Grammy, kindie, malala, music, nobel peace prize, nomination, Okee Dokee Brothers, Recess Monkey, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Pop Ups
Posted in CD reviews, family, Kindie, Music
Tagged awards, Baze and His Silly Friends, Brady Rymer, children, Dean Jones, Dog on Fleas, Edie Carey, Fids, Grammy, Joanie Leeds, John Samson, Jon Samson, Josh and the Jamtones, Kamily, kindie, Laura Doherty, Lucky Diaz, Mills Trills, Mills Trils, music, Recess Monkey, Sarah Sample, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Not-its, The Okee Dokee Brothers, Top Ten, top ten CD
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 is 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!
Posted in family, Music, Recording, song reviews, video
Tagged Billy Kelly, Children's, dangerous, kindie, Lunch Money, Molly Ledford, music, Pandas, Recess Monkey, Story Laurie, The Boogers, The Okee Dokee Brothers
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
I should mention here that the School Break Primates have a a new release coming out Tomorrow, June 17th!!! Their new CD WIRED is really amazing. But I’m not here to talk about WIRED. This conversation is a long time coming. A while back I had a Recess Monkey tune I could not get out of my head called Coconut Radio off of Desert Island disc. Being that Drew Holloway is the primary Recess Monkey writer an inquiry was made to discuss this tune with him on The song and the Process here on the blog. Well imagine my surprise when he sent me to talk to Jack Forman as he was the author of this tune. I did manage a great conversation with Drew which you can read here (What I Was Gonna write…) but always wanted to talk to Jack. We have finally arrived to talk about the Gilligan’s Island ( an old TV show) inspired Coconut Radio here on The Song and the Process… Jack Foreman and his uke found the music while hanging around playing on his front porch. Just a series of chords that found a home. Nothing planned it really just appeared. He was learning the Ukulele at the time and found a little magic while banging on his instrument. So he has this great little melody and it needs some words. They weren’t so easy. That took a bit of doing but he had the Desert/ Gilligan’s Island theme to work with it. If you know the show it was always the professor who could build anything with what was at hand (and had in fact made a coconut battery). After a few months of working out the lyrics gems like this came around…
“First take a coconut off the ground
Split it open and listen to the sound
That it makes up to your ear
Now fill it up with unspecified electric gear”
… Two ukes, a bit of singing and they were done. That’s when Korums brother Jherek Bischoff gets a hold of the song. Let me see what I can add he tells the boys… It sounds like he added a full orchestral string section! Jack assures me it was only 3 or 4 players with lots of overdubs. Violin, viola, cello and bass he tells me. It’s just amazing. In my mind it’s a symphony. A bit of Brian Wilson magic which the whole CD is full of but do yourself a favor. Go check out this great tune on a great disc. Then go out and purchase WIRED tomorrow. Then dance a lot with your family and friends because that’s what we do when listening to Recess Monkey. GO support a kindie artist today.
Two CD’s have been rocking the coveted car CD slot are WIRED by Recess Monkey (upcoming review, releases June 17) and the upcoming release from Secret Agent 23 Skidoo The Perfect Quirk.
The CD is very popular with my kids especially the songs Pillow Fort Pillow Fight (my daughter) and PJ’s All Day (my son). But for me the song that really makes it is Imaginary Friend. What a great song! Lyrically and musically. The idea that the imaginary friend thinks the kid is imaginary is pure genius. That the two characters come to an agreement that neither is a “co-star” but both get equal billing in the friendship. Musically this is filled with horns, violins and a funky haunted house vibe. Rapping between the kid and the imaginary friend is a lot of fun which I have come to expect from Mr. Skidoo. Fun. This is one of the smartest songs I have heard in a long time and I suggest you go and get a copy when it comes out. I shall be sending a request over to the Skidoo camp to get an interview for my Song and the Process series cause it is really a genius song. The Perfect Quirk will be available June 24th. Go check it out and support a kindie artist today.
The music reviewed was provided free to this blogger but the opinions expressed are his own.
Posted in CD reviews, family, song reviews
Tagged Children's, fight, fort, june, kindie, music, pillow, Recess Monkey, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, wired
I recently had a great talk with Drew Holloway of Recess Monkey about their kindie career and how they got to where they are today sonically. How once upon a time they were just three school teachers recording in a school. That he and Daron Henry would play guitar and drums and Jack Forman would record them. Then when they (Daron and Drew) got done recording the guitar and drums Jack would record his bass while the other two plotted out the next song. No fancy studio for them as they recorded in the classrooms they taught in. It was a very sophisticated way of making a CD. Just three guys playing three instruments making good music. A long way from the band that’s playing with the Seattle Symphony on May 17th! This is as far as I had gotten in this article about the growth of the Recess Monkey. Especially in the world of music production. I’d love to tell you about the many other cool things about Recess Monkey. But it seems the notebook I recorded my notes in has disappeared. In my house! It may be under my son’s bed or being used as a diary by my daughter. Perhaps the wife’s been jotting down grocery lists. I’m not sure. If I had it I’d tell you about their awesome experience recording with Dean Jones (Most mentioned guy on this blog. Due for an interview.) on In Tents. Perhaps we’d discuss the addition of Korum Bischoff after long time drummer Daron Henry left the band. (They have a drummer coming out party on the song Fish Sticks on last year’s Deep Sea Diver. It is a truly amazing piece of drumming.) Then I’d make mention of the fact that Deep Sea Diver and Desert Island Disc were originally one CD that grew into two because of the plethora of songs. Talk about the heavy Brian Wilson vibe on Desert Island Disc. That their upcoming disc was recorded with their musical hero John Vanderslice and that after Drew packed up all the Recess Monkey instruments into the minivan, drove them to the Tiny Telephone Recording in San Francisco he ended up using just a mandolin. That John recorded the upcoming CD all on two inch tape. TWO INCH TAPE!!! On a Neve no less. Why you ask is that so impressive? Tape is a finite analog recording experience unlike digital. Once you get the right take you erase the rest to use the tape again. So when you’re in the recording room you better be damn ready to record the song (Watch the documentary Sound City to get the scope of why recording on 2 inch tape and a Neve is so impressive.) Those are the things I would probably talk about. Did I mention that Drew is still teaching, Korum has around 3 jobs including Drum Teacher and Director of Events and oh yeah… Jack Forman. The bass player, song writer, original engineer and now the late afternoon host on Kids Place Live (We’re big fans of Jack and the Monkey House listening most days in our car). These are things I would discuss if I could find my note book. Wherever it is. What I did come away with from my conversation with Drew is the idea that a band becomes greater than its pieces. That new recording experiences whether with Dean Jones, Johnny Bregar, Tor Hyams or John Vanderslice help fuel the way to more music and keep it interesting for the band. In the beginning they recorded everything they wrote and then learned to write more and record just the cream of their writing. They’re still having fun and still writing, playing and grooving out with audiences coast to coast. Maybe I’ll find that notebook. Would of been a heck of an article. Now go support a kindie artist today! I leave you with my kids favorite Monkey video. Self produced of course…
Congrats to Jack Forman and family on the arrival of the new Baby! May she and mom be healthy and you all get lots of rest!
Posted in family, Kindie, live music, songwriting
Tagged children, Dean Jones, Deep Sea Diver, Desert Island Disc, Drew Holloway, family, Jack Black, John Vanderslice, Johnny Bregar, kindie, Korum B, music, Recess Monkey, Seattle, Tiny Telephone Recording, Tor Hyams
Next week here at A Man, A Band and A Plan I will have a couple of bonified super duper interviews. First I have a talk with Drew Holloway of Recess Monkey discussing the musical growth of the Recess Monkey who play some pretty darn cool music. Then it’s a return to the Song and the Process and an interview with Dan Zanes and one of my all time favorite songs Wonder Wheel! Stop on by next week it’s gonna be a lot of fun.
Human Tim and Super Stolie!
Tomorrow the Poochamungas take the stage at Lincoln Hall. many of Chicago’s finest kindie rockers will be there playing a couple of songs and acting all kinds of silly. The rehearsal on Thursday went well and was really a lot of fun. Getting to hang out and play music is the whole idea anyway. There was food, beverages and a whole lot of good music. The show looks to be a great time so go and get your tickets today! Remember it’s SATURDAY, MARCH 8 AT 3PM.
Posted in family, gigs, Kindie, live music
Tagged band together, Chicago, Children's, Dan Zanes, families, family, Human Tim, Istvan and his Imaginary Band, Jeanie B!, kindie, Lincoln Hall, Little Miss Ann, Miss Jamie on the Farm, Mr. Dave, music, Recess Monkey, Super Stolie