Video: "Who Got the Baby in the King Cake" - Johnette Downing

The twelfth day of Christmas, known as Epiphany, is the kickoff to a whole season of “King Cake” baking in New Orleans. During Carnival season, folks bake this ring-shaped pastry with brioche dough, with a plastic baby hidden inside. The lucky person who finds the baby is “king” for a day… and, in some traditions, is obligated to host the next party. It’s a virtuous, party-giving circle, all the way through Mardi Gras.

Johnette Downing has recorded many albums featuring the music and traditions of the New Orleans area she calls home, not to mention having written and illustrated a number of books as well. Her latest book, Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?, recounts the tradition.

SwampRompJohnetteDowning.jpeg

To go along with the book, Downing and her husband Scott Billington recruited a trio of Crescent City heavy hitters for a horn front line (trumpeter Kevin Clark, trombonist Craig Klein, and clarinetist Tim Laughlin) to record the book’s accompanying musical track. It grooves and struts sounds classically New Orleans. (The track is from Downing and Billington’s forthcoming album Swamp Romp.)

Anyway, there’s a video to go along with it, which also features Downing’s vibrant illustrations. It’s a bunch of fun. Here’s hoping you find the baby in at least king cake this season.

Johnette Downing - “Who Got the Baby in the King Cake” [YouTube]

Video: "Like Father Like Son" - Like Father Like Son (World Premiere!)

Sun Is a Star album cover

Sun Is a Star album cover

I've become a little more idiosyncratic in my selections of videos to feature here on the site, which is probably partially a function of the diminished visibility of kids' music videos generally.  There's so much content out there that musicians may as well just make the videos that entertain themselves.

While the duo Like Father Like Son might be new, the two musicians comprising the duo are not.  Both father Lou Gallo (solo) and son Frank Gallo (in his band Rolie Polie Guacamole) have been making music for kids for a number of years, and now they've joined forces.  Their new album Sun Is a Star comes out this week, and features Brady Rymer, Katie Ha Ha Ha, and Dean Jones, who also produces the album.

Not only do they share the songwriting burden on this new album, they share a love of running, which is borne out in this new video for "Like Father Like Son."  While I doubt the video will "wow" anyone, I just really responded to the enjoyment the Gallos clearly share in running through various locales.  Father and son are planning on running the New York City Marathon together in 2019, so perhaps it's a little preview.  I really dig the gentle folk-rocker -- and their clear good-natured attitude within.

Like Father Like Son - "Like Father Like Son" [YouTube]

Video: "10,000 Pancakes" - Gunnar Madsen (World Premiere!)

I Am Your Food album cover

I Am Your Food album cover

It's been a decade since Gunnar Madsen released an album for kids (2008's I'm Growing!), but the drought is at an end with the release next month of I Am Your Food.

Perhaps unsurprisingly based on the album title and cover art, it's an album featuring nothing but food-related tracks, with guest artists like Bill Harley, Frances England, and Justin Roberts also part of the menu.  (OK, promise -- that's the only food pun I'll make in this post.)

This song, "10,000 Pancakes," features the title repeated many times at nearly shouting levels of volume.  And if you're anything like me, the phrase "Ten thousand pancakes!" will randomly pop up in your head for at least a week after hearing the track.

The video will just help reinforce that hijacking of your brain.  It features animation from Madsen himself and while the animation isn't Pixar-quality ("I can sometimes draw a cute little cartoon," says Madsen, "but the results are hit-or-miss -- mostly miss"), the angry pancakes in particular capture the energy of the song.  I like it.

I Am Your Food is out June 15 (iTunes, Google Play, Amazon, Bandcamp).

Gunnar Madsen - "10,000 Pancakes" [YouTube]

Video: "Blue" - Ants Ants Ants (World Premiere!)

Why Why Why? album cover

Why Why Why? album cover

Yay for new bands making a splash!  The band in question is Ants Ants Ants, and even before the release of their debut album Why Why Why? next month, I'm already tickled pink by one of their brand new videos.  It's for the song "Blue," about blue whales, inspired in part by a conversation which one half of the duo Johnny Clay had with his daughter -- “On the way to school one morning, my 7 year old asked what the biggest animal on earth was - I told her it was a blue whale and we looked it up together when we got to school. We found out they can be 80 feet long!”

For the gentle, hummable song about blue whales, the Portland, Oregon duo of Johnny Clay and Dave Gulick turned to animator Chris Purdin.   The animation from Purdin (who also did the album art) is a perfect fit for the music, friendly and warm.  I'm happy to world-premiere the video.  And while Why Why Why? isn't available until May 20th, if you pre-order it at all the places you preorder music these days, you can get "Blue" as an instant download.  So go forth and, er, dive in!  [Slinks away slowly...]

Ants Ants Ants - "Blue" [YouTube]