Friday, October 20, 2017

Kid Pan Alley Lets Kids Write The Tunes

What if everybody could write a song? That seems like a grand concept, except that most people don't have either the equipment, the time, the experience, or the idea of where to start. Kid Pan Alley was founded to give children a safe harbor and a window into the world of music. Their new CD, ONE LITTLE SONG CAN CHANGE THE WORLD, is a collection of tunes written with classrooms of kids. It doesn't seek to change the world as much as let people know that things like this are even possible.

The Kid Pan Alley program promotes ideals such as teamwork, creative thinking, and respect for intellectual property (I wonder if they have a PowerPoint on Spotify royalties). We do this by keeping them engaged and giving them the power to create something unique, lasting and completely their own. ONE LITTLE SONGis about respect for others, the environment, the community and ourselves. The songs are recorded by the Kid Pan Alley band, which includes Grammy nominated vocalists.

Kid Pan Alley is the brainchild of Paul Reisler, and the program has been cultivating young minds since 1999.

ONE LITTLE SONG goes high in its concepts, but you can point the finger at the fevered little minds getting the opportunity to set the table. Songs cover "I Don't Think So, You're a Bully," "Don't Put Me Down, Or My Dog," and "True To Me." It certainly provides a wonderful vocal showcase for performers such as Lea Morris, Heath Francis, Ysaye Barnwell, Jason McGlory, Justin Hopkins, Vance Gilbert, and Alison Rapetti. But in reality, my kids have been exposed to so many songs with these concepts – by artists they are familiar with – that the treatments here didn't really engage them.

ONE LITTLE SONG is a neat little curio and probably worth a listen for the families of the kids involved. However music education in disparate forms continues to be an important curriculum and should be supported. To that end, Kid Pan Alley is a worthwhile project and definitely has its ear (and eye) on bringing children into the world of music.

ONE LITTLE SONG CAN CHANGE THE WORLD is available at iTunes, Amazon, and CDBABY.

Here is the video for the song, "Don't Put Me Down, Or My Dog":

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Ben's Playlist - Friday, October 20, 2017

How Can You Tell If It's Going to Rain? – Andrew & Polly
You Better Believe – Train
What The World Needs Now Is Love – Lisa Loeb
Who, What, When, Where, Why – The Bazillions
That Way – Chibi Kodama
I Feel Better – Caspar Babypants

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.