2019 is off to a good start, musically speaking! Take a look at a few all-ages records that are coming your way.
THE SHAZZBOTS, Lightspeed!
Ground control to Major Tom, Ohio-based Kindie band, The Shazzbots, have packed up their guitars and gear, and have launched themselves into zero gravity with their latest release, LIGHTSPEED! The new album marks their third all-ages record, powered by their intergalactic rock n’ roll crew who continue to bring their rockabilly/ honky-tonk style and old-fashioned musical swagger to the kindie scene.
Within the first few strums of the lead guitar in the opening track, On the Playground, The Shazzbots set up their listeners for a high energy ride — a spontaneous flare with simply crafted lyrics often reflecting the kid Id. Many of the songs are from the child’s point-of-view, touching on sounds and themes that have always characterized childhood. Some are a day in the life/ quintessential kid experience themes as found in the tracks Read A Book Today, My Pa’s Fun Truck, and Snow Day! while other tracks delve into the recesses of the ridiculous like in Beauregard Ogilby Balderdash and I Think I lost my Dinosaur. There are little moral guidebook moments such as in If You Knew Yuri Like I Know Yuri, where The Shazzbots encourage adopting pets from the animal shelter or in the Clean Plate Club where membership clearly has its privileges. With songs about third graders cultivating mustaches and accidentally losing track of Dolores the Brontosaurus, these guys know their audience.
A variety of musical influences can be heard on the record. Beauregard Ogilby Balderdash has a distinct echo of Bow Wow Wow’s I Want Candy, though most of the album stays within the Country/ Classic Rock wheelhouse. Gravy Boat is an all-out traditional folksy country sing-along. But, for their closing track The Shazzbots chose a slower and quieter note. It is a sweet little ballad that celebrates new life. Very Very Vivian is a contemplative ending that brings the young listener in for an energetically smooth landing. LIGHTSPEED! drops on March 1st.
Hey Ohio Peeps! Catch The Shazzbots LIVE!
Feb. 18 – Columbus Dispatch Home & Garden Show, Ohio Expo Center, Columbus, OH
Feb. 23 – HOOT Family Film Series, Gateway Film Center, Columbus, OH
JOHNETTE DOWNING & SCOTT BILLINGTON, Swamp Romp
Straight out of New Orleans, Johnette Downing & Scott Billington are bringing the Mardis Gras season to your little ones with their new release Swamp Romp. Swamp Romp is a Louisiana-style dance party kids’ album that takes young listeners on a musical heritage tour of a region well-known for its music scene. This collection of original tracks (save one) is musically rooted in Delta Blues, Doo-wop, Cajun/ Zydeco, and Dixieland Jazz with simple lyrics for the pre-K set to sing along to while they shake their little crawdad tails!
The tone of the album, though festive, is not rowdy nor bombastic, so this record could viably be used in the classroom without risking losing control of the kiddos (with the possible exception of the second to last track, which has moments of some big energy). And like all good children’s records, Swamp Romp asks for listener participation beyond just dancing along with the infectious tunes. In tracks like Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?, It Wasn’t Me, Mississippi River, How to Dress a Po’ Boy, Crawfish Etoufee, and Stand Up Jump Up listeners can sing, clap, stomp along and even pretend to put together their very own Po’ Boy sandwich. For educators, the album’s liner notes (available on Johnette and Scott’s website and included with the physical CD) are chock full of interesting historical and cultural anecdotes which have influenced various aspects of each song.
The album is a lovely collaborative effort that speaks to the diversity that makes the region so compellingly rich. In the duet Poor Worry Anna, guest vocalist and Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas, adds a beautiful warm, throaty tone to the harmonizing vocals while lyrics address the idea that children too succumb to worry. Stand Up Jump Up has a gospel foundation which perfectly frames its message of inclusivity and togetherness. Swamp Romp is musical shout-out to the region, made accessible for little, curious, party-ready ears! The record releases on Feb 15th.
Check out the music video for Who Got the Baby in the King Cake?
KB WHIRLY, Now That We’re Home
Our favorite groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, has predicted an early spring, but while we are waiting for that early spring to arrive, we are hunkering down, declaring many “duvet days” and nesting in our respective homes. While we are doing so, consider having KB Whirly’s 4th studio album, Now That We’re Home, as your soundtrack. On his 4th album, KB Whirly gently celebrates his little daughter, unconditional parental love, and all the hopes, aspirations and dreams parents have for their kids as they start to open up to the greater world.
Now That We’re Home is an album of heartfelt lullabies, carefully crafted waltzes and folksy wistful melodies inspired by Roald Dahl’s BFG (Big Friendly Giant) blowing sweet dreams into the ears of children as they sleep. In this case, the BFGs are parents– parents who are serenading sweet thoughts into the ears of their children as they are getting tucked into bed. For those of you who are already familiar with KB Whirly might say this album grew out of the third track of his last EP, Every Little Thing I Do (I do because I love you), a song that was dedicated to KB Whirly’s newly born daughter. Conceptually, this collection picks up where the EP left off, with inspiration coming from moving through life as a family, introducing the world to their child as their child reaches out to meet the world.
The first track, Just Us Three exemplifies this image perfectly. The little waltz What Will You Do also builds on this idea, as a child starts to express themselves and interact with the world, parents can’t help but machinate upon what our littles ones may become. “These songs are love letters to my future daughter,” says KB Whirly, “who will hear them fresh one day– as a teenager or a twenty something– and feel the continuity of love, values, hopes and dreams that are so important to our family. Everything that matters most has been planted like seeds in these tunes and I hope to imagine that as my daughter grows and matures, the depth and meaning of these songs will grow and mature as well.” Surely that will be the case. But in the meantime, pop on the album to mellow the ambience at home, snuggle in tight, and enjoy the small, intimate family moments that are unfolding before your very eyes and ears. Now That We’re Home releases on February 23rd.