The Ketchup Report, Vol. 8

Time once again for all the news that didn't fit into a separate post due to time, interest, contractual, or legal obligations -- it's your favorite pun-titled file folder of a blog post, the Ketchup Report! Yaaay! (Cue Kermit the Frog wild arm-flailing here...) WorldOfHappiness.jpgThe World of Happiness single, the "We Are the World" of the kids' biz, "A World of Happiness," is here. Except your kids might actually want to listen to this new song when they become parents themselves. Sales of the single, produced by Tor Hyams and Joanie Leeds, benefit Autism Speaks. The single includes a whole host of folks besides Leeds and Hyams -- Molly Ledford (who gets the honor of leading off the track), Frances England, Ralph Covert... it just goes on and on. A bunch of the participants will be recording a concert later this month for broadcast on Sirius/XM Radio later on. Anyway, it's $1.29 well-spent right here. I could probably start a whole separate post listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. Heck, it's almost getting to the point where I could start a blog listing all the recent crowdfunding projects in the kids music world. I've been partial to Kickstarter, of course. The two most recent projects have been a Professor Banjo and his successful second-album project and Ryan SanAngelo and his not-one-but-two-Kickstarter-projects. But other sites do the same basic thing. Van Oodles didn't quite succeed in making a video for a song of his, but LA indie-rockers Ellen and Matt and Chicago's Laura Doherty are both looking for funds for their next disks. Should you feel so inclined, help out Ellen and Matt here and Laura for her new album Shining Like a Star in the widget there to the side. -- For a limited time, Doctor Noize's "Bananas" iWhatever app is free. Download the ever-so-slightly-educational app here. (Note: may no longer be free.) -- Finally, with Earth Day coming up, a it's time for Earth Day-related tunes. Dan Zanes has a new, original tune, "Hail the Creatures" written by Zanes for a new exhibit at the Philadelphia Zoo. You don't need to be near Philly to enjoy the track, just near an iTunes-enabled gadget that can download this, with proceeds benefiting the Zoo. (More details on the tune and the Zoo's new exhibit here.)... Bill Harley is offering a free download of "Keep It Green" from his 1996 album Big Big World -- you can get it here... And finally, DARIA is offering a mini-CD of 6 "earth friendly" songs, free just for the price of an e-mail address (and an earth-friendly suggestion).

Video: "Fits Right In" - Robbie Schaefer

FitsRightIn.jpgIt's been a long time since Robbie Schaefer released new music for families. I mean, he gives us the goofy (and fun) Songs For Kids Like Us more than four years ago, and then what happens? He goes and gets himself a radio show on Sirius-XM's Kids Place Live. Apparently being a music director for a radio station means you don't get to record new carp-related family music. But Schaefer's finally gotten around to recording "Fits Right In," which he's been playing at live shows for a little while now. It's a catch little piece of kids folk-pop -- fans of Justin Roberts will quite enjoy it, I think. You can download it here and on iTunes. I don't think it's going to take 4+ years before the next Schaefer release. Listen to Schaefer play the song solo (and acoustic), captured live by Gwyneth. Robbie Schaefer - "Fits Right In" (Live @ Eddie's Attic, Atlanta) [YouTube]

Radio Shows For Kids Like Us

Is Professor Schnoodle ready for his close-up? Amongst all the talk of songwriting workshops and sold-out song camps, I dropped Robbie Schaefer a line this week to see if he'd be doing something similar. The answer was no. Why? Turns out Robbie will become the last on-air personality for XMKids, the kids' channel for XM Radio. They've been running ads for the past couple weeks, but I've missed 'em -- he'll be broadcasting from 7 to 11 PM East Coast time Monday through Thursday and 10 AM - 2 PM Saturdays. If the show is half as amusing as Songs For Kids Like Us or how Schaefer is in interviews, it should be, well, moderately-to-definitely amusing.

Interview: Robbie Schaefer

Kids, for the most part, haven't yet learned not to laugh at themselves and the world around them. That's a really good and healthy place to be and as a performer and songwriter I feel a responsibility (and desire) to meet them there. Human beings are strange creatures--we should enjoy that.
Songs For Kids Like Us is one of the goofier records to be released in 2006, but in a good way. Robbie Schaefer, mastermind of the album, recently answered a few questions showed that the good humor on his CD comes naturally. Read on to find out about banging pots and pans, what songs on his album were factually based (including some that might surprise you), and the enduring popularity of KISS. (And thanks to Robbie for taking the time to answer these questions.) What are your earliest memories of listening to music? Playing music? My earliest memories of listening to music are with my grandparents. My grandfather is an accomplished pianist and cellist and he would sit at the piano and play (sometimes with me on his lap) while my grandmother leaned against the piano and sang. Those are very warm memories. Reportedly, I was an excellent pot and pan musician as a toddler. I'd pull them out of the kitchen cabinets and start banging away. I believe I was particularly proficient on the 14" sauté pan and the 3 qt. boiler. You'd have thought my parents would have figured a few things out and moved the pots and pans to the cabinets above the counter---guess I’m thankful that they didn't. You have had a long and successful career playing in the band you helped form, Eddie From Ohio. How did you get from that to putting out a kids' album?

Review in Brief: Songs For Kids Like Us - Robbie Schaefer

robbieschaefer.jpg[Here because Robbie sent you? Welcome! If you dig this album, there's plenty more great music here at the website (but few carp). Explore and thanks for stopping by!]If you're an adult, and you title your debut kids' music CD Songs For Kids Like Us, you've implied a certain level of (im)maturity to the prospective listener. On his 2006 kids' music debut, Virginia-based Robbie Schaefer (guitarist for adult rock band Eddie From Ohio) meets those expectations. Indeed, in the liner notes he thanks his family for seeing that he's got the "emotional maturity of a five-year-old" and recognizing that he should "use that to [his] advantage." The best songs on the CD are those where he lets his inner five-year-old out -- the backwards lyrics on the countryfied "Cowboy Bob," the sheer silliness of "There's a Carp in the Tub" (with a background group of... carp? singing "Carp. Carp.") Schaefer sticks mostly to folk and bluegrass in his tunes, though he employs pop on the album's best track, the leadoff "No! No! No!," and pulls in accordion and trumpet on the mariachi-inflected "Fredinand." He also turns two versions of "Chicken Lips," covered by someone slightly more well-known (Bruce Springsteen) a number of years ago. I could do without one of those versions (one version goes a long way) and the bland version of a "There's A Hole in the Bucket," though -- it seems out of place amongst the rest of the weirdness. (Oh, and the cartoony "Professor Schnoodle," bugs me too, but longtime readers know my aversion to cartoony voices.) You can listen to three songs off the album at the album's website. Overall, Songs For Kids Like Us is a nicely thought-out and well-executed debut that makes me hope that Schaefer hasn't exhausted his immaturity just yet. Recommended.