Video: "Under the Big Umbrella" - Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

Brady Rymer - Under the Big Umbrella cover art

Brady Rymer - Under the Big Umbrella cover art

We are in the midst of spring (or, if you’re in the desert Southwest, rapidly approaching summer), which means that it’s time for a sunnier attitude.

And as I think about kids’ musicians, Brady Rymer is right near the top of the list of those with sunnier attitudes. On May 17th, Rymer and his Little Band That Could release his tenth (!) studio album, Under the Big Umbrella.

Now, you might be thinking that I’ve failed in my narrative approach — “sunny” and “umbrella” being a more unusual pairing of words — but the album title track definitely takes more of a metaphorical than a meteorological view of the phrase. (If there were a camping-themed song here, it’d be titled “Big Tent" to be sure.) The whole album’s musical and lyrical approach will sound familiar to Rymer’s fans — roots-pop originals with an expansive sound and lyrics that welcome all. (These songs in particular were inspired by Rymer’s request for kids at a New Jersey elementary school for what was meaningful to them.) It’s a sunny set of tracks, hopeful in many ways.

We’re happy to be premiering the brand new video for “Under the Big Umbrella.” It’s a simple lyric video, but since it features the charming illustrations and hand-letterings of illustrator Emily Balsley, who did that cover art up there, that’s A-OK by me. (Go here for links to your favorite non-video way to listen to the track.)

Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could - “Under the Big Umbrella” [YouTube]

Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could - photo by Jayme Thornton

Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could - photo by Jayme Thornton

Photo credit: Jayme Thornton

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]