First there was the idea -- pick a few artists, give 'em a title to base a song, and set 'em free to do what they do best. Then there was the picking of the title. Now, it's time for the album. It's called Green Beans Everywhere, and it features five fun songs from (in geographical order): Hullabaloo (San Diego), The Hollow Trees (Los Angeles), Charity and the JAMband (San Francisco), Matt Clark (Portland), and Johnny Bregar (Seattle). Some of the artists took a pretty simple approach (similar to what you might see at a typical songrwiting club night), some fancied it up a bit, but all the artists rose to the challenge of creating something out of the barest germ of an idea. Thanks to all the artists for participating. And, for a limited time (at least until we run out of free downloads), you can download the 5-song EP for free. Even if your kids (or you) don't like green beans, and even if one of these songs don't change their (or your) mind, you'll enjoy the album anyway.
Ketchup Report, Road Trip Division A couple artists are currently embarking on pretty remarkable journeys. Heidi Swedberg is currently in Haiti bringing to the Global Family Orphanage in Les Cayes not just a couple dozen ukuleles (offered cheaply by Kala Instruments and purchased by the St. Brendan's Ukulele Club via bake sales) but also ukulele technique. As Swedberg notes the ukes are "compact; a box of 12 can fly at the cost of a suitcase." Swedberg said her first song would be “Ton-ton Buki”, the Haitian version of “Freres Jacques” - I'm sure they're long past that by now... Second, Minnesota's Okee Dokee Brothers are heading down the Mighty Mississippi as we speak, part of their album-writing/portaging experience. They've received a bunch of publicity for the concept (guess it was more newsworthy than that time I drove down I-35 from the Twin Cities and sang along to a bunch of songs on the radio). You can follow their Mississippi blog here. The link below features an interview and a live cut of "Auctioneer" and an in-development track "Can You Canoe?" More videos, songs, and concerts after the jump...
It's time for the next stage in the first go-round of the Kindie Songwriting Club. As noted before, Hullabaloo's Steve Denyes went up and down the West Coast and picked these five fine songwriters (going up the coast from south to north): Steve Denyes from Hullabaloo (San Diego) Gregory Hollow Tree from The Hollow Trees (Los Angeles) Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband (San Francisco) Matt Clark (Portland) Johnny Bregar (Seattle) Readers e-mailed/commented/Facebooked their suggestion(s), and now I have three for you, loyal readers, to choose from. Here are the three song titles: 1) "There's Dirt in My Bed" 2) "Crunchy Munchy" 3) "Green Beans Everywhere" Your task is to pick your favorite via the voting widget below. All votes are due by 9 PM Friday night West Coast time (of course). One vote per day, please. The winning title will then have not one but FIVE songs written using that as inspiration. Such a deal. Go forth and vote!
Recently, Steve Denyes, the hardworking songwriter behind the Southern California duo Hullabaloo, came to me with a suggestion. He said that he'd participated in songwriting clubs where a group of musicians are given a song title or phrase and use that as a jumping-off point for writing a song. And, given my big interest in collaboration, he was wondering whether or not I'd be interested in hosting a songwriting club for family musicians. I think you probably can guess my answer. So I'm excited to announce the creation of the Kindie Songwriting Club and the first set of participants. Denyes went up and down the West Coast, picking some of his favorite songwriters and making some new friends, resulting in these five fine songwriters (going up the coast from south to north): Steve Denyes from Hullabaloo (San Diego) Gregory Hollow Tree from The Hollow Trees (Los Angeles) Charity Kahn from Charity and the JAMband (San Francisco) Matt Clark (Portland) Johnny Bregar (Seattle) The basic concept of the KSC is this: 1) Readers suggest a song title. Or two. Or twenty. Go ahead, stuff the ballot box! 2) I pick 3, then readers vote on their favorite. 3) The favorite having been chosen, the songwriters craft a song using that song title as inspiration. 4) They record that song however they'd like (though this isn't intended to require fancy studio time). 5) The songs get posted for your enjoyment. 6) World peace is achieved. (OK, probably not. But I'm not ruling it out.) So it's time for the first step -- your suggested song titles. Post 'em here in the comments, on Facebook, or even send me an e-mail (ksc AT zooglobble DOT com). Suggestions for this first round are due by Tuesday, May 31. And stay tuned for further details (voting on your favorite title, hearing the final results). Should be a blast.
It's Earth Day, a holiday for which kids music represents well, kids being interested in the future of the planet and all. Here's a list of songs for Earth Day 2011, free for the cost of a few electrons: David Tobocman has a funky, futuristic take on the garbageman of the future on his song, "I'm Gonna Be a Garbage Man." I'm Gonna Be a Garbage Man by tobocman Meanwhile, Charity Kahn and the JAMband take an... er... earthier approach on their Songs for Earth Day 2011 EP, featuring "I'm A Little Bunny," "Rattlin' Bog" (my favorite, but I love the song generally), and the mellow "Wise Old Owl." There's always the Baze and his Silly Friends track "A Little Green." It features Stacia Newcomb, who plays “Star” on PBS Kids Sprout's The Good Night Show as guest vocalist and lots of "na na na"s on the singalong chorus. Download it for free here. Finally, as we noted last week, Dan Zanes, Bill Harley, and Daria have Earth Day-related songs for your listening pleasure (DZ's will cost you, though it's for charity; the others are free).
You know, I was going to just update my original Christmas music post, but it's clear that too much stuff is being released as singles or on YouTube -- it'd make that post unwieldy. So here's the second post. (It won't be the last, either -- more stuff is on its way.) The Hipwaders' Kindie Christmas was one of last year's crop of excellent Christmas CDs. They've made the jangly "Wake Up" a free download for a limited time -- pick it up here. (Remember the video? Good stuff.) This video from DidiPop is almost ridiculously cute. It's lo-fi animation but in all the right ways. DidiPop - "Let's Make Santa Happy Tonight" [YouTube] It's not a Christmas song, but as soon as I saw that Charity and JAMband was giving a song called "Loving Kindness" away as a free download this month, I thought it'd be perfect. It's based on a Buddhist practice, but I think it's totally appropriate for the season. Go here for the song and activities, or just grab the song below. Putumayo Kids is offering a free download of "Jolly Old St. Nick" from the always interesting Brave Combo for the price of an e-mail address (here). It's from last year's A Family Christmas. Finally, last week Brooklyn represented for Hanukkah -- this week, they turn their attention to Christmas. Dan Zanes turns in a very peaceful rendition of what he says is his favorite song of the season, "Silent Night." It's a very simple version (and video), but I like how Zanes retains my favorite part of the song when sung at a church service, and that's how the instrumental accompaniment virtually disappears on the last verse. Dan Zanes - "Silent Night" [YouTube] The Deedle Deedle Dees' Lloyd Miller also has put up some Christmas-related songs up on YouTube, including "Silent Night" (a little bit faster than Dan's) and "Jingle Bells". But I thought his version of "We Three Kings" on a very fuzzed-out bass was most unique. "Awesome," indeed. Lloyd Miller - "We Three Kings of Orient Are" [YouTube]