Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, October 19, 2017

Thank You for the Box – Andrew & Polly
Banana Bread – Caspar Babypants
Hanukkah Rocks – Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could
Loving Cup – Cat Doorman
Picky Eaters – Danny Weinkauf
I Love The Night – Gustafer Yellowgold
Humans Are Still Evolving – Dean Jones

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Forever Young – Andrew & Polly
Do You Talk To Yourself – Dean Jones
2 If I Ever Was A Child – Wilco
Loving & Kind – Aaron Nigel Smith
New Pair Of Shoes – The Bazillions
Free Couch – Caspar Babypants
Window – Gustafer Yellowgold
To and Fro – Cat Doorman

Quick Hits: Kalantari Jazzed for Holidays, Cookie Jar Gets Socked

When I started this entry, there was a subliminal slip and I typed "Lucky" instead of "Lucy." That's appropriate for Lucy Kalantari, who returns with her ensemble, the Jazz Cats, for their timely-titled IT'S THE HOLIDAYS! EP.

Since it's only five tracks I can list them all – the spooky, peppy, "My Mommy Is a Mummy," which is currently charting on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live, "Grateful," "It's Snowing," "That's a Wrap," and the title track. With that brevity, the kids may still be opening gifts under the tree while the songs are playing.

Grab IT'S THE HOLIDAYS from Lucy's website and Amazon.

Mista Cookie Jar returns this month with “The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock." It's not exactly a Halloween themed piece, but is an epic tale of a grand pursuit for his missing foot dressing. The LA-based kid-hop maven delivers an auto-tuned ride to the mall:

You can flaunt that eyelet cuff.
You can rock that pastel tie.
Only you can tell yourself
how to put color in yo' sky.
Me, I like that pink & polka-dotted
pattern in my pupil.
It's the icing on my ensemble.
It's kinda super crucial. 

Who knew that wardrobe selections could be so empowering? "The Quest for the Missing Polka-Dotted Pink Sock" is available at CDBABY, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, and YouTube.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Ben's Playlist - Monday, October 16, 2017

O-O-O Child – Lisa Loeb
Sunshine Sunny Sun Sunshine Day – Danny Weinkauf
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Brighter Side – Gustafer Yellowgold
Have A Good Day – Lard Dog & The Band Of Shy
Not Today – Imagine Dragons

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Brady Rymer's Holiday Rocks

The holidays are (almost) upon us and thus the festive music season has begun. First and foremost (so far) is Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could with their latest CD, REVVIN' UP THE REINDEER. Long Island native son Rymer and his ensemble sing of good cheer, great presents, and the excitement that accompanies the onset of winter for children.

REVVIN' UP THE REINDEER leads off with its period piece title track, with Andrews Sisters-style vocals (featuring bandmates Liz Queler and Claudia Glaser Mussen). "Holiday Jam" and "Hanukkah TIme" follow with the almost-obligatory references to other religious celebrations that seem to mysteriously fall around the same time of year.

The majority of the tracks settle comfortably around the traditional concept of December 25, with "Trim the Tree," "Untangling the Christmas Lights," "Can't Sit Still," "Christmas Peace," and "Christmas Wishes." The infographic for REVVIN' UP THE REINDEER would feature one big, honking "Christmas."

Every band member gets a chance to shine on REVVIN' UP THE REINDEER, from drums to keyboard to accordion on "New Accordions," naturally. The LBTC effortlessly segues through a series of musical stylings, from big band to zydeco to country to folk. "Peace Be To All" closes the CD with a little Jim Croce/John Denver 70s feel.

We've seen Brady and the rest of his troupe (Larry Eagle, Jeremy Chatzky, Seth Farber, and Dan Myers) at different venues multiple times and they always bring the crowd to their feet with accessible, professional, and thoroughly enjoyable performances. Brady can't contain his exuberance to one ensemble, as he divides his time and plays bass for the Laurie Berkner Band. It's pretty much a fait accompli that Brady & Company will swing through the holiday season with a number of gigs to promote REVVIN' UP THE REINDEER and jog happy eggnog memories. Whether you're ho-ho-home for the holidays or down for a live gig, Brady Rymer wishes "Peace Be To All," and to all, a rockin' swingin' solstice.

REVVIN' UP THE REINDEER is available October 20 from Brady Rymer's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the band performing "One Day By the Riverside" earlier this year:

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Quick Hits: Videos from Salamanders, Dana & Friends

Recent winners of a Parents' Choice Gold award, the Salamanders have returned with a new music video, "Poppy," from their second album, Bubbles. I'm not big into country – but I'll make an exception for the Salamanders (from Missoula, Montana).

Dana Cohenour (Dana & Friends) are back with another new video, "Do Your Part." Dana hopes kids will be inspired to become more active environmentalists and pay more attention to the world around them. At least they'll jump in and help around the house.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Ben's Playlist - Monday, October 9, 2017

Bridges – Fifth Harmony
Fly Like A Bird – Dean Jones
Me On The Map – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Must Be This Tall – Justin Roberts
O-O-O Child – Lisa Loeb
Thunder – Imagine Dragons

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Ben's Playlist - Friday, October 6, 2017

Be My Baby – Lisa Loeb
How Lucky We Are – Justin Roberts
Amistad (Featuring Dan Zanes) – Hot Peas 'n Butter
Relax Your Mind (Featuring Neha Jiwrajka)  – Dan Zanes & Friends
Who's Your Favorite Beatle – Lard Dog & The Band Of Shy
What Kind Of Fruit – Dean Jones

Lilting Lullabies from Lisa Loeb

When you think about some acts (think the Verve Pipe), if you don't know better you wouldn't think they were producing quality children's music in addition to being "day job" rockers. For other musicians such as Lisa Loeb, however, the process feels very much like a natural career progression.

Rather than give a whole career recap (that's what Wikipedia is for), I'll concentrate on the kids phase, which started incidentally a decade ago and has come full-circle to be a major component of her recording career, from CAMP LISA to NURSERY RHYME PARADE! to her latest CD, LULLABY GIRL (an Amazon Music exclusive).

A collection of 13 tracks both new and revisited, LULLABY GIRL takes the familiar ("Dream a Little Dream," "Rainbow Connection," and "All the Pretty Little Horses") and mixes with some new choices (Fleetwood Mac's "Don't Stop" and The Five Stairstep's "O-o-h Child," my favorite on the CD). Loeb also adds two new compositions, "Close Your Eyes" and the title track, which serve as hors d'oeuvres for the rest of the tunes.

Loeb traverses the easy-listening landscape for her selections, from the Disney songbook (a wistful take on "A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes") to Burt Bacharach and Hal David (slowing down the classic "What the World Needs Now"). And the LiteFM setting turns "Inch Worm" into a full-on cocktail lounge number. She is served better on the more unconventional (for kids) tracks, as I've lost track of the number of cover versions of "Rainbow Connection."

Ultimately, there's always a place for an eclectic bedtime collection. I was constantly looking for something to swap out with Brahms and Shawn Colvin when Ben was tossing and turning. The road to Slumber Town is paved with good intentions. With LULLABY GIRL, Lisa Loeb is providing a new exit ramp, courtesy of Amazon Music.

LULLABY GIRL is available October 6 exclusively through Amazon Music.

Here is the video for "You Can Count on Me (Lullaby)," which is NOT on this C, ironically.