Multimedia Notes, Part Two

Updating last week's update, here were few more sites I wanted to highlight... First, I've been a fan of Josephine Cameron, so I wanted to make sure I pointed out her two new websites -- a cool website all about Songwriting For Kids and a more traditional blog entitled Please Come Flying. The latter isn't really kids-related, though I'm sure a lot of older kids would appreciate her links (she's been on a particularly big jazz-related kick this month). As I've said for a long time, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child is the Unofficial Radio Station of Zooglobble, and I'd say that even if I didn't have a guest DJ set on March 3rd. But variety is an important part of a healthy radio diet, so if you need more than one show, you'll probably also like The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl. (But not live March 3rd. Then you want Spare the Rock.) Finally, Yosi's blog's been linked here for awhile now, but if you haven't checked out his recent series of interviews with Neal Pollack, Kevin Kameraad, and others, you really should.

One Food Yosi Forgot: Trout

On his latest album What's Eatin' Yosi?, Yosi sings about all sorts of food. But not trout. To atone for the oversight, Yosi has posted an interview with Ezra and Keith of Trout Fishing in America. Oh, and there's a contest to win a new TFA CD or DVD, too. Hurry up, entries are due Sunday the 31st. (I should note that based on Yosi's recent set of interviews, I'm officially adding him to the sidebar...)

Review: What's Eatin' Yosi? - Yosi

WhatsEatinYosi.jpgScene: Two guys proceed through a Las Vegas buffet line. Let's call them, for sake of comprehension, Larry and Darryl. Larry: So, uh, what are you getting there? Darryl: I thought I might get that -- erp! -- new Yosi CD. Larry: In a buffet line? Since when do they have kids' CDs in a Vegas buffet line? Darryl: Haven't you heard? Kids' music is all the rage now. And Vegas is never one to miss out on a trend if it means some extra cash. So, yes, I'm getting the new Yosi CD, What's Eatin' Yosi?. Well, that and the crepes. Larry: Oh, the crepes are excellent. I recommend the deviled eggs, too. Darryl: Yeah, so anyway, this is like his fourth album and -- ooooh, are those California rolls? Gimme six of those! Anyway, get this, it's a theme album. All about food. Larry: A food album. Which we're talking about while we're in a buffet line. In Vegas, which never met a theme it couldn't turn into a hotel. Imagine that. Darryl: Stop with the snark, Larry. Yes. 16 tracks and 45 minutes about almost entirely about food. Larry: It's like your dream album, Darryl. Darryl: You're a bitter man, Larry. Try eating a little more, you'll be happier. Yeah, I'll have everything in that omelette. Larry: So do all the songs sound the same? Darryl: No, not at all. There's a rocking tune about "Chicken Noodle Soup," ("Oh, yeaaaahhhh") while "Bulbes" is done in a klezmer style... hey, where are the baked potatoes? Larry: Over there. Any songs you want to recommend to me? (Uh, no thanks, I'll pass on the Jello.) Darryl: Well, I really like the Zydeco stylings of the album opener, "Let's Get Cookin'," the punk thrash version of "On Top of Spaghetti," and his duet with Brady Rymer on Rymer's rootsy "Fresh Brown Eggs." Larry: And what should I stay away from? Darryl: Y'know, that "Schlurpknopf" story song really got on my nerves. And so did the opera-esque "It's a Pizza." Anything overly cute. But you know what? Larry: I'm not a mind-reader, so no. What? Darryl: It's possible to eat too much food. Like all this stuff here looks good -- ooh, chocolate pecan pie! -- but once you sit down and eat it in one setting, it seems a bit much. Ironically, my favorite song on the entire album is the album closer, "I Just Love You," which is the one song not about food. It's a gentle midtempo ragtime song. And it's so... refreshing... after fifteen straight very literal songs in a row about food -- even good ones -- to hear something not about food. Larry: So once I get back to my incredibly cramped hotel room, where could I get some samples? Darryl: Well, you could try the album's CDBaby page or for full versions of several songs, Yosi's page. Larry: Sounds like the album's probably -- BRA-AACK! Excuse me! -- best for kids ages 5 through 9? Darryl: Yep. What's Eatin' Yosi? might make you feel stuffed by the end, but there's enough good music on there worth listening to. I recommend it. Now, where's that French waffle line?...

That Blogging, I Hear It's Popular These Days

I've previously mentioned Brady Rymer's blog, which, though updated only sporadically, is a fun read. There are a few other musician-authored blogs I've been reading for weeks if not months now, and I've been failing in my kids-music-news duties by not mentioning them before. The best kids' musician-penned blog I know of is Monty Harper's blog, which includes links to his podcasts and gives some insight into the working world of a kids' musician. Harper's good humor, noticeable in his songs, is evident here, too. A couple other artists who have more recently started blogging, of a sort, are Eric Herman and Yosi. Both take a slightly different approach from Rymer and Harper -- they've focused (thus far) on other kids' music artists. Herman's blog talks generally about assorted kids' artists, both well-known (Ralph's World) and not, and why he's enjoyed them. Yosi's blog focuses more on specific albums that he reviewed for a parenting magazine in New Jersey. Harper has been blogging for a while now (longer than this site, even), so he understands what it takes to write a blog on an ongoing basis. We'll see whether Rymer, Herman, and Yosi want to keep it up. (And believe me, after that initial burst of expression, it's easy to let the blog just die a slow, painful death.) Now there are other ways to communicate with fans -- Justin Roberts is a fairly regular newsletter publisher, for example, and Dan Zanes' newsletters, while not as regular, always have a nugget or two of good (or fun or useless, or all three) info. And Myspace, of course, has its own blogging capabilities. But I'm actually surprised that more artists haven't plunged into the blogosphere. It does seem to me a fairly cheap and easy way to establish connections between the artist and the audience, especially one that may be growing, at least in terms of the ability of an artist to reach a national audience. Monty, Eric, Yosi, Brady -- has it helped? Or is it a useless, time-consuming pain in the rear?

Please Release Me: August 2006 Edition

I skipped July, didn't I? Slacker. Well, it would've been a short list (at the time, anyway). But August? August is shaping up as a little more crowded... August 1: Go Baby Go - Baby Loves Jazz (Various Artists) August 1: If I Could Be... - Meredith Brooks August 8: A World of Music - Toucan Jam August 8: What's Eatin' Yosi? - Yosi (national release) August 22: Marvelous Day - Stevesongs (re-release on Rounder Records -- say that three times fast) August 29: You Are My Little Bird - Elizabeth Mitchell (on Smithsonian Folkways) But wait, there's more! September will see the release of new stuff from Trout Fishing in America and ScribbleMonster (maybe). And then there's October, October 3rd in particular, which is shaping up to be a very crowded release date. The third album from Milkshake, Play. [Edit: I've been told the album may come out just a leeeetle bit later.] The third album from The Sippy Cups, which has, hands-down, the best kids' music album name of the year, Electric Storyland. And the DVD/CD release from Ralph's World, Welcome to Ralph's World. Actually, I've seen that listed on various e-tailers' sites as both 10/3 and 10/10, so it could be either. We shall see...

Train Songs

In honor of the release of Dan Zanes and Friends' Catch That Train! (review here), I thought I'd list a few songs about trains for kids. (Note: references to the Island of Sodor will be summarily deleted.) (Last updated May 23, 2006) "Catch That Train!" - off of Dan Zanes and Friends' (DZ&F) Catch That Train!, of course "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" - also try DZ&F's Catch That Train! "Wabash Cannonball" - many, try DZ&F's House Party "Guysborough Railway" - try DZ&F's Night Time "Rock Island Line" - try DZ&F's Family Dance A whole bunch of songs on DZ&F's Parades and Panoramas "Freight Train" - try Elizabeth Mitchell's You Are My Flower, also (reader-recommended) on Enzo Garcia's Breakfast with Enzo "Little Red Caboose" - many, try Elizabeth Mitchell and Lisa Loeb's Catch The Moon "I've Been Working on the Railroad - many, try Laurie Berkner's version on Buzz Buzz "New River Train" - try Raffi's New River Train "Choo Choo Train" - try Ralph's World's debut Ralph's World "The Little Engine That Could" - try the Hollow Trees' self-titled debut (sorry, Greg!) -- Yosi also has a "Train Medley" on Under A Big Bright Yellow Umbrella that includes some (if not all) of the songs listed above. -- Reader BethBC also notes that James Coffey has an entire CD of train-related songs called My Mama Was a Train. I'm sure there are more, but this is a decent start -- if you post 'em in the comments, I'll add them above.