Josh & The Jamtones’ New Album A Fun New Take On A Children’s Classic

Bear Hunt

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Boston based children’s band, Josh & The Jamtones describes itself on its Facebook page as being an “exciting and hilarious interactive dance party kids’ band geared towards 2 – 10-year olds and parents of all ages.”  This could not have been a more proper description for the band, fronted by songwriter Josh Shriber.   Simply put, this band’s music is fun for the whole family.  The band’s new album, Bear Hunt more than lives up to the reputation of being exciting and hilarious from start to finish.  Listeners of all ages will enjoy and appreciate both the songs and the skits performed by Shriber and band mate Patrick Hanlin.  The whole presentation is one that easily makes its case for being one of the year’s best children’s albums.

Bear Hunt takes its name from the classic children’s song by the same name. It’s not the “Bear Hunt” that most parents remember.  Shriber and company take the classic “song” and turn it on its ear thanks to its skits.  There are only four skits across the album.  The album’s other ten tracks are music tracks.  Even numbering only four, the skits included in Bear Hunt will have both children and parents alike laughing hysterically.  This is especially the case in the first of the skits.  Shriber’s character makes a call to a hotel to reserve a room for himself and his friend for their bear hunting trip.  The “woman” that answers sounds like Howard Walowitz’s mother from CBS’ Big Bang Theory.  That is to say, “she” sounds like Howard’s mother, only older and without the yelling.  Any parent that watches Big Bang Theory will get that reference.  What it is that makes this personality style so fun to impersonate and just as funny is anyone’s guess.  But the back and forth between this Josh’s character and the receptionist makes for so many laughs.  It is something that must be heard to be fully appreciated and enjoyed.

The opening skit in the Bear Hunt story is a laugh riot.  Parents will especially enjoy this moment.  The fun doesn’t end there.  Josh and his friend have to make their way through the Death Valley Cornfield of Doom and the Lightning Lake of 1,000 Sea Monsters in order to finally reach their goal.  The banter between the pair makes for its own share of laughs.  For instance, there is a funny bit about one of the guys hugging a giant purple bear.  Parents and kids will both laugh at this moment both for their own reasons.  Children will enjoy it simply because of its absurdity.  Parents will enjoy this moment because they will know that adults do in fact over-embellish their accomplishments on a near daily basis.  This is just a reflection of that behavior.  The absurdity of Patrick trying to cover up that he didn’t really hug a giant bear, but a teddy bear only makes it that much funnier.  Again, there’s a certain amount of realism here.

The end result of the pair’s bear hunt is just as hilarious as the previous trio of skits that built up the punch line that is the final scene.  That punch line won’t be revealed here since this album won’t hit stores until this Fall.  But suffice it to say, it will again have both parents and children alike laughing.  They do meet a bear.  But it’s what happens when they meet the bear that will have listeners laughing just as uproariously as they did in the story’s first segment.  The whole thing is so hilarious, that it would be interesting to see Josh & The Jamtones make a full video feature on the story to accompany it.  It absolutely begs for a full video.  Even without a video, it’s still an entertaining group of skits that kids will enjoy with every listen.

The skits included in Bear Hunt are a joy to listen to.  As enjoyable as they are, they’re only part of what makes up Bear Hunt.  There is also plenty of music that will have young listeners dancing.  It boasts a fun mix of ska and reggae set right next to a touch of bluegrass, believe it or not.  One generally would not associate ska and reggae with bluegrass.  But somehow Shriber and company have made it work.  They have made it work quite well at that.  The energy laden ‘Everybody Dance!’ is one of the most enjoyable of songs on this album.  It’s a catchy tune that boasts influences the likes of The Mighty Mighty Bosstones among others.  And what parent wouldn’t look back on their own childhood in hearing ‘Snow Day’ without smiling?  Snow days were the best.  And that nostalgia is echoed clearly through this song.  Seeing their own children dance and sing along with this song will no doubt put a smile on parents’ faces as they will bring back those happy memories.  And of course, who doesn’t love pirates?  Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise has proven that everybody does.  So what better fit in this fun collection of songs than a pirate song in the aptly titled, ‘Pirate’s Life?’  These songs are just a tiny portion of what parents and children can expect from Bear Hunt.  There are no motivational songs or anything like that here.  It’s just a fun record with poppy tunes that the whole family will enjoy with every listen.  And there’s not one thing wrong with that.  Bear Hunt will be available October 1st.  The band will hit the road this fall for a tour in support of its new album beginning with a pair of performances at the Life is Good Festival in Canton, MA on Sunday and Monday September 21st and 22nd.  More information on the band’s tour and its upcoming album are available on its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/joshandthejamtones and its official website, http://joshandthejamtones.com.

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Aerosmith Set To Celebrate New LP With Surprise Performance

Boston’s favorite sons (aside from the Boston Red Sox) are set to tentatively release the new Aerosmith album in two weeks.  Music From Another Dimension is currently set to hit stores and online outlets on Tuesday, November 6th.  In celebration of the band’s upcoming new release, Aerosmith will perform on the streets of Boston Monday, November 5th.  The performance will not only be a way to promote the band’s new album, but also a way to get everyone to do their civic duty and vote.  The band is scheduled to appear in a surprise location around noon on November 5th and play.

Courtesy: MSO PR

The upcoming performance date is also a pre-party for the band’s upcoming month-long tour in support of its new album.  The tour will take Aerosmith to fourteen arenas across the country along with Cheap Trick.  The first pair of singles from the album has already been released together to radio.  Other highlights from Music From Another Dimension include a duet with American Idol star Carrie Underwood and another song with actor Johnny Depp on backing vocals.

Aerosmith fans can get the band’s full tour itinerary and the band’s latest news online at http://www.aerosmith.com, http://www.aeroforceone.com, http://www.facebook.com/aerosmith, http://twitter.com/#!/Aerosmith, and http://www.youtube.com/theofficialaerosmith.

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The new Three Musketeers is all for nothing

The new Three Musketeers is an odd bird of a movie.  This new adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’ classic novel has every requisite for a major big screen blockbuster.  It has the fast moving action scenes.  It has the sex appeal with star Milla Jovovich.  And it has the romance subplot for the tween and teen audiences.  But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a good movie. 

This new adaptation of the classic story makes audiences want to like it.  But the problem is that its impossible to tell whether or not it was meant to be taken as a serious re-imagining .  The sword fighting scenes are great fun to watch.  But other than those scenes, there is little else positive to say about this movie.  That’s even if it isn’t meant to be taken as a serious re-telling of the original story.  The major problem with this adaptation of The Three Musketeers lies in that it has no originality whatsoever.  It comes across as little more than a ripoff of Robert Downey, Jr’s. recent mega re-imagning of Sherlock Holmes and the Sean Connery led flop that was The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.   From the sets to the special effects (cg-included), there was little original to this flick flop.  The amount of CG based special effects is reminiscent of both movies.  Whether it be the flying ship scenes or MIlla Jovovich’s fight scenes with the king’s guards, or the early scenes in which the Musketeers break into DaVinci’s vault, the cg used throughout this movie was simply far too much over the top.

The Musketeers’ breaking into DaVinci’s vault is a slight hint at the story that’s eventually revealed to audiences.  The problem is that the story isn’t even fully revealed until nearly an hour into the movie.  The rest of that time waiting is filled with lots of sword fights, not so witty banter and even a really bad joke about cleaning up after one’s horse.  When the story is finally revealed to audiences, it’s so outrageous that it, along with all the over the top cg based special effects, make suspension of disbelief impossible.  Suspension of disbelief is key to any movie.  Movies are supposed to be about escape.  And even as much as audiences want to escape into this high energy action flick, the inability to suspend disbelief prevents it.  That, combined with all the movie’s other problems, make The Three Musketeers one of the worst movies of 2011.