Hullabaloo’s Latest LP Proves Simplicity Breeds Success

Courtesy:  Hullabaloo Music

Courtesy: Hullabaloo Music

Later this month, Hullabaloo will release its latest album I Chew. The album, the band’s twelfth full-length studio recording, will be released Friday, February 26th. It comes almost two years after the release of the band’s most recent release, 2014’s Shy Kid Blues. And needless to say that this latest offering from the San Diego, CA-based trio is yet another impressive collection of songs. That is thanks in large part to the album’s mix of country and bluegrass sounds and its mix of lyrical themes. From the album’s fun, upbeat opener about appreciating what one has in ‘Birthday Fish’ to the socially conscious ‘I Wear Pink’ to semi tribute to the late great Johnny Cash in ‘Flowers on My Shirt’and more, this album impresses from beginning to end. The end result is a sixteen-song, twenty-one minute record that proves to be another early candidate for a spot on this year’s list of top new children’s albums.

Just as with its 2014 album Shy Kid Blues, Hullabaloo’s latest full-length studio recording is any easy, early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new children’s albums. That is thanks to the mix of the album’s country/bluegrass sounds, its deeply insightful lyrical themes, and their accessibility for listeners of all ages. That is clear right from the album’s fun, upbeat opener ‘Birthday Fish.’ On the surface it sounds like a silly song as front man Steve Denyes sings from the vantage point of a kid who got a fish instead of a dog for a pet; on his birthday no less. It isn’t just about that, though. On a deeper level, the song teaches an all too important lesson about appreciating what one has. That is clear as Denyes sings, “Well I was a fish hater/But a few days later/I found myself falling in love/Now this fishy little guy/Is the apple of my eye/And I thank my parents/My lucky stars above.” He is saying that just because something might be this or that does not necessarily mean that it is all that. It’s a lesson that can be applied in any number of scenarios both for children and adults alike. The song’s catchy, upbeat rhythms add even more enjoyment to the song making the song in whole a composition that even in its simplicity is truly a deep work. The fact that the song is still made accessible for listeners of all ages makes it even more enjoyable and important to the record’s whole. It all comes together to make the song not just an important addition to I Chew but a great start for the album.

‘Birthday Fish’ is a great start to Hullabaloo’s latest full-length studio recording. That is thanks to the depth of its lyrical theme contrasted by the accessibility of said theme. The upbeat sounds of its musical content adds even more enjoyment to the song. For all of the enjoyment that all of that brings to the song, ‘Birthday Fish’ proves to be just one example of what makes I Chew one of 2016’s top new children’s albums. The socially conscious ‘I Wear Pink’ is another example of what makes this album stand out, too. It’s a very timely addition to I Chew especially considering all of the headlines about gender roles in America, transgender children and sexuality. As Denyes notes in this song, “The first time I sang this song somebody said, “You can’t sing this song for kids, it’ll mess with their heads”/I heard what they said/I just disagree/So I sing this song for the pink kids like me/Well here’s to all the outlaws both little and grown/You might be different but you’re not alone.” What is interesting here is that Denyes sings this song from the vantage point of an adult rather than a child. This direct aim makes the song just as accessible for adults as for children if not more so. It also helps make the song a good starting point on said headlines and related topics. There is even mention here of a girl who played football, bucking that social norm of only boys playing football. So yet again, it becomes even more of a solid starting point for some very deep discussions that both children and adults alike will enjoy. Adults might appreciate it more than children. But some children will appreciate it especially if they grasp the concept. Keeping this in mind, ‘I Wear Pink’ proves in the end to be yet another important addition to I Chew. It is hardly the last remaining example of what makes this album stand out, too. ‘Flowers on My Shirt’ is yet another example of what makes this record stand out.

‘Birthday Fish’ and ‘I Wear Pink’ are both key examples of what makes Hullabaloo’s latest album stand out early on in this year’s field of children’s albums. That is thanks, again, to their mix of fun musical content and deep yet easily accessible lyrical themes within each composition. They are just a couple of examples of what makes this record stand out. The band’s semi-tribute to the late great Johnny Cash in ‘Flowers on My Shirt’ is one more example of how that mix of music and lyrics makes I Chew stand out. On the surface it is a tribute of sorts to the legendary country music superstar. On another level, it is much more than that. It is a lesson that looks aren’t everything. As Denyes sings, “Well everybody called Johnny Cash The Man in Black/Well he wore those dark black clothes for the ones that were left back/Well Johnny’s always been/A hero to me/I just choose/To choose my clothes a little bit differently/I wear flowers on my shirt/To chase your blues away/Some Hibiscus to remind us all it’s gonna be okay/together we can change the world/And I will do my part/With flowers on my shirt/And love inside my heart…With all respect to Mr. Johnny Cash/I humbly assert/That life is just a little bit better/ With flowers on your shirt.” The statement that is seemingly being made here is that old adage about the man making the clothes not the other way around so to speak. The playful, slightly joking address to Cash is hardly meant as a stab at him or his legacy. Denyes clearly notes his respect for Cash and his legacy here. Rather it is meant as part of the argument that a person’s clothes shouldn’t matter whether in music or any other aspect of life. What should matter is what is in a person’s heart. Keeping that in mind, this song becomes even more of an important addition to I Chew. It shows even more why I Chew stands out as an early candidate for any critic’s list of this year’s best new children’s albums.

All three of the songs noted here are excellent examples of what makes I Chew one of 2016’s top new children’s albums. As important as they are to the album’s overall presentation they are hardly the only songs that could be cited as examples of what makes this album stand out so well. The “PSA” ‘Senator John Arthur Clydesdale III’ will leave adults laughing as it pokes fun at the country’s politicians. Adults will laugh just as much as Denyes jokes about the minimal snack offerings on plane rides. If that isn’t enough ‘Waterfront’ shows to be just as much of a joy as it paints a picture of a laid back weekend evening on the waterfront. It could be a riverfront, beachfront, or any other waterfront. Regardless, this laid back piece is one that listeners of all ages will appreciate and enjoy. The two-part a capella/acoustic closer ‘You Are Loved’ is yet one more example of what makes I Chew stand out so brightly. It is a short, simple song. But it says so much in such a small space. It reminds listeners that no matter what they are loved. It is a beautiful piece that parents can use as they put their children to bed each night both for its gentility and its positive message. The band has posted a video of Denyes performing the song on its official Facebook page complete with signs that can be used as teaching tools for parents and educators alike. Whether for this song, any of the others noted here or the pieces more directly noted, it can be said of the album in whole that it is one of 2016’s top new children’s albums thanks to its depth of material and its accessibility despite that depth. It is an album that every family should have in its music collection regardless of familiarity with Hullabaloo and its expansive body of work. It will be available Friday, February 26th and can be ordered online via CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/hullabaloo11.

Hullabaloo will hit the road in support of I Chew beginning this Friday, February 5th in its hometown of San Diego, CA. The band also has performances planned on March 6th, March 10th, April 4th, and April 30th. Audiences can keep up with all of the latest updates on the band’s tour schedule online now along with all of the band’s latest news, updates on I Chew, news, and more at:

Website: http://www.hullabalooband.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Hullabaloo-220028144692974/

Twitter: http://twitter.com/hullabaloosteve

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Indie Kindie Music Act’s Latest LP Is A Strong New Effort

Courtesy:  Waldmania PR

Courtesy: Waldmania PR

Jeff Kagan and Paige Doughty are likely not one of the more well-known names in the world of children’s music. Interestingly enough the husband and wife duo is nothing new to that realm. Kagan has two solo albums. And the pair together has released two full length studio recordings, all of which have been released without the help of any of the major kindie rock labels out there. And the couple hasn’t stopped there. Last Friday, the duo released its third full-length studio recording Mighty Wolf. Named apparently after the couple’s infant son, Mighty Wolf continues the couple’s long-running tradition of mixing that musical and educational content that it has used in each of its previous recordings. This includes Kagan’s own solo recordings. Even within the context of the album’s musical content, Kagan and Doughty don’t even to one style. That is just one way in which this latest recording stands out. The previously mentioned lyrical content is another important element to consider in this album. Just as the couple mixes things up with the album’s musical content, so does it do with the album’s lyrical content, too. There is a lesson about ecology and a much larger elementary level biology lesson spread across the album’s twenty-three total tracks. Speaking of those tracks, the album’s sequenncing rounds out its most notable elements. While Mighty Wolf consists of twenty-three total tracks, only about half of the presented tracks are actually songs. The other thirteen tracks are set-ups for the the featured songs. The sequencing of all twenty-three songs maintains the album’s fluidity and in turn will keep parents, educators, and children alike fully engaged. That is not to say that the album’s musical and lyrical content won’t keep listeners engaged. As a matter of fact, both elements partnered with the album’s sequencing make the album in whole just as much of a good introduction to Jeff and Paige for new audiences as it is a re-introduction to the couple for those that are more familiar with the pair’s body of work.

Jeff and Paige’s latest full-length studio recording is a good re-introduction for those that are familiar with the couple’s music. For those that might not be so familiar with the duo’s music on the other hand, it is just as good of an introduction. That is because its mix of musical and lyrical content is similar to that of its previous recordings. The musical content displayed in this record is especially worth the note because on that more macro level, the duo even mixes up the sounds exhibited throughout the course of the record. Early on in the album’s run, Kagan and Doughty present a light kindie rock/pop sound in ‘Triple Rainbow.’ This song isn’t the only instance in which that sound is exhibited. ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Beaver,’ and ‘Dead and Delicious’ each have their own original kindie rock/pop sound that stands out from the other noted songs. ‘Dead and Delicious’ offers something of a blues-influenced sound while ‘Beaver’ has more of a light rock influence a la Dave Matthews Band and others of that ilk. ‘Triple Rainbow’ on the other hand has more of a pure acoustic rock sound. These are just a few of the album’s songs that boast a rock sound. ‘Lightning’ also boasts its own kindie rock sound. As if that isn’t enough for listeners, Kagan and Doughty don’t stick to just a variety of kindie rock sounds throughout their new record. There are also Country/Americana variants presented throughout other featured tracks. Those tracks include: ‘Grandma Gatewood,’ ‘That’s Not The Way,’ ‘Aphid Banquet For Two’ and the album’s closer ‘The Great Monarch Migration.’ The couple even included a poppy sound in ‘The Arctic’s Freezing’ and ‘Ungulate.’ The fact that this album boasts such a myriad of musical stylings from beginning to end (and that there are no defined parameters in the transition from one genre to another) is a big plus for the album in whole. It is just one part of what makes this record worth hearing regardless of listeners’ familiarity with Jeff and Paige. The different lyrical topics (and the topics within those topics) adds even more interest to the album.

The various styles of music that are presented throughout the course of Jeff and Paige’s new album are in themselves plenty of reason for listeners to hear the couple’s latest full-length studio recording. While that content is important to the album’s overall presentation in its own right, it is just one part of what makes the album worth the listen. The mix of topics presented in the album’s lyrical content (and the topics contained within those topics) plays an equally important role in the album’s presentation. The central topics in question are topics of biology and ecology. This is nothing new for Jeff and Paige. However the topics that lie within those topics are what really make the picture painted by the album’s lyrical content whole. The biology lesson contained within the album’s songs centers on different animals of the world and their importance to their respective ecosystems. ‘Black Widow’ and ‘Dead and Delicious’ dispel the myths and stereotypes of spiders and certain birds. In the case of ‘Dead and Delicious’ the bird in question is a raven. It is interesting that Jeff and Paige would go with a raven versus a vulture considering the negative reputation that surrounds vultures. The reality of vultures is that just like ravens, they are basically nature’s garbage men, too. They help clear away road kill, and other dead animals by scavenging. That is not to say that they shouldn’t have gone with a raven. A raven is a good choice. It is just a surprise that the duo opted for a less familiar reference. ‘Beaver’ explains through song the important role that beavers play in building their dams while ‘The Great Monarch Migration’ and ‘the Arctic’s Freezing’ are more general. The prior discusses the life span of monarch butterflies while the latter discusses everyday life for animals in the Arctic.

The lesson about biology and biodiversity is just one of the lessons presented in this album. There is also a lesson about ecology presented in ‘Grandma Gatewood’ and ‘That’s Not The Way.’ ‘Grandma Gatewood’ presents the lesson about ecology and preservation through a story about the real life figure Emma Rowena Gatewood. Gatewood is famous for being the first woman to have hiked the entire Appalachian Trail (that is 2,168 miles) by herself and in one season, too. The song tells of her great deed and at the same time celebrates the beauty of the Appalachian Trail. Essentially it emphasizes the need to protect it (and in a larger picture, nature in whole) for the next generation that might want to try to accomplish her feat. On a different note, ‘That’s Not The Way’ discusses the interweaving roles that man and nature play on one another each day. It is a relatively broad topic. But the duo pulls it off quite well here. Together with the lessons on biology and biodiversity, the lessons centered on ecology and nature preservation show in whole why the varied lyrical topics presented throughout this album are just as important to the record’s whole as its varied musical styles. The two elements together give listeners new and old alike plenty of reason to hear Jeff and Paige’s new record. They are just part of the reason that listeners will want to hear Mighty Wolf. The album’s sequencing rounds out the reasons that the album proves itself worth the listen.

The musical and lyrical content that make up the body of Mighty Wolf makes the record an ahem* mighty collection of songs. While both elements together play an important role in the success of this record, they are only a portion of what helps it live up to its title. The album’s sequencing rounds out the ways in which it proves itself to be a strong new effort from the independent children’s entertainers. As previously noted, not all of the tracks featured in this record are musical compositions. Roughly half of its twenty-three total songs are musical numbers. The other tracks are little skits that Jeff and Paige use to introduce each song. On the surface this may not seem like much. However, the sequencing of the musical and non-musical tracks together is more important to th record’s overall presentation than one might think. The introductions serve a double purpose. Their primary purpose is to serve as an introduction to each lesson. The secondary purpose of each non-musical track is as a breather of sorts between songs. They help to break things up as the album progresses. The end result is an increased chance of keeping listeners engaged. It is a smart approach to keeping the album’s pacing solid. That solid pacing combined with the album’s equally engaging musical and lyrical content makes Mighty Wolf a truly mighty new release and an equally mighty independent release for the children’s entertainers.

Mighty Wolf is only the third full-length studio recording that Jeff Kagan and Paige Doughty have recorded together. For Kagan, it is his fifth full-length recording overall. That aside, this latest effort from the husband and wife children’s entertainers is indeed a mighty new release. This is exhibited through its variety of musical and lyrical content. Its sequencing plays just as much into the album’s success. All three elements are equally important to the album’s overall success in their own right. Collectively they make Mighty Wolf a mighty success for Jeff and Paige. Mighty Wolf is available now. It can be ordered online now via CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/jeffpaige and downloaded via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Mighty-Wolf-Jeff-Paige/dp/B017YFSL7C/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1448918695&sr=8-1&keywords=Jeff+and+Paige+Mighty+Wolf. More information on this and other releases from Jeff and Paige is available online now along with the latest news from Jeff and Paige at:

Website: http://www.jeffandpaige.org

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jeffandpaige

Twitter: http://twitter.com/JeffPaigeMusic

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Yule Be Cool Is A Cool Musical Treat For Any Family This Holiday Season

Courtesy: Little Rockers Music/Waldmania PR

Courtesy: Little Rockers Music/Waldmania PR

It’s officially that time once again, everyone. Halloween has come and gone once more. The candy is all eaten and the costumes are put away for another year. So are the decorations both in stores and homes across America. In their place are the annual Hanukkah and Christmas decorations and music. The annual barrage of holiday television specials is not far behind, either. Considering the vast amount of holiday musical offerings that fill store shelves around this time of year and the overall lack of originality those looking to celebrate the season are left with quite a conundrum. Which of the noted offerings are really worth the purchase? That is a tough answer. As difficult as that is to answer, there are rare options out there. One of said options is The Little Rockers Band’s new holiday album Yule Be Cool. The kindie rock band’s new collection boasts twelve songs that the whole family will enjoy throughout the holiday season. That is thanks not just to its featured songs (which is just one reason for the record’s enjoyment) but to the band’s stylistic approach to said songs, too. That is yet another reason that Yule Be Cool proves to be a surprisingly enjoyable musical holiday offering. Last of note in regards to the album’s overall presentation is its sequencing. While the album spans thirteen total tracks, only twelve are actually songs. Over the course of those songs, the band keeps listeners fully engaged thanks to the energy exhibited by each song. That maintained engagement is a solid foundation on which the rest of the noted elements rest easily. All three elements together make Yule Be Cool a holiday collection that is indeed a cool yule treat for the whole family.

The Little Rockers Band’s new holiday record Yule Be Cool is a fittingly titled record. That is because despite the band–Jessie Apple (vocals, acoustic guitar), Chris Apple (vocals, bass), Liam Moroney (electric guitar, vocals), and Billy Papenberg (drums)–being known largely for its kindie rock offerings, its new collection of holiday tunes is one that the whole family will enjoy. the songs featured on this record are more than just the standard collection of holiday tunes. Those standards are there. That’s obvious. However, there are also some original compositions included among the album’s eleven musical offerings. More specifically speaking, of the album’s eleven musical offerings (the album’s twelfth track is just dialogue), five are original compositions beginning with the album’s opener ‘This Is How It Feels At Christmas.’ It is a fun, poppy piece that comes from the vantage point of a young child in which the child describes the positive emotions generated by all of the classic Christmas elements. ‘Hanukkah Is Here’ and ‘Snow Falls’ are two more of those five total original compositions. The very fact that the band would pay respect to not just Christmas but Hanukkah as well (this isn’t the only song in which the band pays respect to the Jewish community) sets it quite far from other acts and their holiday offerings. And the gentle, almost Vince Guaraldi-style sound of ‘Snow Falls’ will entertain audiences of all ages just as much. It is just one more example of how the songs that make up the body of Yule Be Cool make it such a surprisingly enjoyable musical holiday treat for the whole family. That is not to ignore any of the compilation’s other offerings. Overall, the fact that the band made an obviously concerted effort to not just churn out a standard, run-of-the-mill holiday record here, even with the included holiday standards, is reason enough for any family to have this record in its holiday music library.

The songs that make up the body of Yule Be Cool are in themselves plenty of reason for any family to have this record in its holiday music library. They are not the ony reason that families will want to add this collection to their holiday music libraries. The band’s stylistic approach to the featured songs is another reason that the record succeeds so surprisingly well. The toned down take on ‘Jingle Bells’ in ‘Jingle Bells Rock.’ In comparison to the standard take on the song, the band has slowed the song’s tempo here yet still made it just light enough in its overall delivery to make it enjoyable in its own right. Very much in the same vein, the more upbeat take of ‘Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer’ will impress any fan of The Brian Setzer Orchestra. That is especially thanks to Liam Moroney’s guitar work and Billy Papenberg’s time keeping. Moroney’s surf rock style solos will put a smile on any listener’s face, and will have said listeners dancing along just as much. The only song that can rightfully be argued to be a near direct take is the band’s take of Jose Feliciano’s hit song ‘Feliz Navidad.’ While the song itself stylistically is a near mirror image of Feliciano’s original, the band has actually mixed things up a bit here by adding Hanukkah to the mix instead of just singing Merry Christmas over and over again. It is a reflection of the times and just one more way in which Yule Be Cool proves in fact to be a cool treat for the whole family this holiday season. Together with each of the other noted songs and those not directly noted, it can be said with even more certainty that the stylistic approach taken to each of this record’s featured songs is yet another reason that the collection in whole is, again, a cool, yule treat for the whole family throughout the holiday season. It is still not the last remaining reason that the album proves so entertaining either. The record’s overall sequencing rounds out the reasons that families will want to hear this collection of holiday tunes.

The songs that make up the body of Yule Be Cool and the band’s stylistic approach to each gives listeners of all ages plenty of reason to hear this compilation. Both elements together make it a record not just for children but for the whole family. While both elements prove to be of equal importance in the grand scheme of things here, they are only two-thirds of the album’s overall presentation. The record’s sequencing rounds out the reasons that Yule Be Cool is indeed a cool holiday record. Over the course of the record’s twelve (technically thirteen) tracks and forty-six minutes, The Little Rockers Band manages the record’s energy in such fashion that the record never loses its proverbial “oomph.” Much like a perfect wave for surfers or mountain for skiers, the ups and downs throughout the record are so perfectly balanced that the energy is never too much or too little at any one point from beginning to end. Every song stays just close enough to the next in terms of its energy and overall delivery that the record in whole proves from beginning to end a holiday record that every family will enjoy without having to ever skip one song or another. That being the case, it means that families that add this record to their holiday music collections will hear for themselves just how cool it is. This is especially the case when the songs and the band’s approach to each is taken into consideration. All things considered, Yule Be Cool proves in the end to be a truly cool treat for the whole family this and every holiday season.

Yule Be Cool is one of the most surprisingly enjoyable of this year’s holiday music offerings. That is largely thanks to its mix of musical selections. Instead of just being another collection of standards, the band has taken a handful of standards and mixed it with its own selection of original compositions. The end result is a collection of songs that stands out quite well from all of the other annual musical holiday offerings churned out this and every year. The band’s stylistic approach to each of the record’s featured songs adds even more reason for audiences to check out this compilation of holiday tunes. The band presents its own original take on the standards and just as interesting takes on its own compositions. The sequencing of the featured songs couples with both of the previously noted elements to make Yule Be Cool a record that is in whole a surprisingly cool collection of songs for any family this and every holiday season. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online direct via CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/thelittlerockersband4. More information on Yule Be Cool is available online now along with all of The Little Rockers Band’s latest news at:

Website: http://littlerockersmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/littlerockersmusic

Twitter: http://twitter.com/2littlerockers

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Kelakos’ New Hits Compilation Is One Of 2015’s Top New Music Re-Issues

Courtesy:  Kelakos/EricPHILLIPEdesign

Courtesy: Kelakos/EricPHILLIPEdesign

The 1970s is one of the single greatest decades in the history of popular music. It was during this decade that someof the greatest songs of all time were written. Those songs in question came from bands that were themselves equally great. Among the bands in question that crafted those timeless tunes were the likes of: The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and The Allman Brothers Band among so many others. For all of the great songs and acts that came to fame in the 1970s, there were just as many that given the chance could have been just as great and might even have gone on to be equally legendary. One of those bands that could have gone on to be so well-known and respected goes by the name of Kelakos. Named after founding member George Michael Kelakos Haberstroh, the band mixed elements of its more well-known counterparts in the from the era with a distinct jazz flare and even a touch of an R&B influence for a sound that helped it to stand out from those bigger bands, proving that it is just as good as them if not better. That still holds true today. Thanks to the recent release of its new compilation record Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band earlier this year, Kelakos is getting the chance once more to prove that argument.

Kelakos’ new compilation Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is one of this year’s best new re-issues. If the fifteen tracks that make up its body had never been released until now, it would have just as easily found itself on this critic’s year-end list of the year’s best new albums. Regardless of which list it ends up on, every rock purist will agree in hearing this collection that Kelakos is a band that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as its more well-known counterparts from the era. This is obvious right off the top in the record’s hybrid jazzy/bluesy tune ‘Boogie Bad Express.’ ‘Boogie Bad Express’ was a great choice for the record’s opener. Interestingly enough it is also one of the record’s shortest songs, clocking in at just under the two-minute mark. Both musically and lyrically it is just a fun, feel-good record that will every listener dancing along as Kelakos Haberstroh sings, “The place is packed and its time to relax/And part hearty with the music/When the perspiration drips and the girls shaking hips/You know you’re in the boogie bad music.” Carl Canedy’s expert work behind the kit adds a certain extra something to these lyrics. His ability to mix his jazz and rock chops without losing himself along the way does so much to make this song so enjoyable. The balance of Haberstroh’s jazzy riffs and Mark Sisson’s more rock oriented riffs adds its own touch to the song, too. Together with the talents of bassist Linc Bloomfield and fellow musician Shane French, the band collectively crafts a sound that is a perfect match for its celebratory lyrics. The combination of those celebratory lyrics and equally upbeat music shows why ‘Boogie Bad Express’ was chosen to open Kelako’s new compilation and why this band deserves a new listen and a new listen again by those that might be at least somewhat familiar with the band. It’s one of so many examples of why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is one of this year’s best new re-issues.

‘Big Bad Boogie’ is a great opener for Kelakos’ new compilation record. This is clearly exhibited through the mix of the song’s upbeat music and equally celebratory lyrics. It also shows why this record is one of the year’s best new re-issues and why Kelakos deserves just as much respect as its more well-known counterparts. It isn’t the only song that song on this record that so clearly exhibits why Kelakos and the record in whole are so deserving of respect. The full-on instrumental that is ‘Persephone’s Poison’ is another excellent example of why Kelakos and its new compilation both deserve equal respect. Drummer Carl Canedy shines again in this song. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that he is the star of the song as he displays his talents both on the kit and as a percussionist. It would be a surprise if it turned out Canedy was not a properly trained musician considering his chops and his ability to so solidly keep time with such difficult polyrhythmic patterns. The ability of Kelakos Haberstroh and Mark Sisson to improv so cleanly in their respective guitar lines is just as noteworthy. There’s almost a sort of Frank Zappa feel to their combined sound. Keyboardist Chip Smith even deserves a nod for laying down the song’s non-rhythmic base. All things considered here, the combined talents of Kelakos’ members make ‘Persephone’s Poison’ one more of this collection’s highest points and even more proof of why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is such an enjoyable record and one that given the right support could be the start of Kelakos getting the attention that it has so rightly deserved for so many decades.

Both ‘Big Bad Boogie’ and ‘Persephone’s Poison’ display in their own way why Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is such an enjoyable collection of songs. They both show the band’s versatility, musically and lyrically speaking. One is a full on jazz-fusion style piece while the other has a definitive southern rock sound. They are just a couple of examples of the band’s talents, too. Each of the record’s fifteen total tracks displays a different side of the band and its musical reach. There is even a hybrid southern rock/R&B-influenced piece in the form of ‘Lovin’ So Fine.’ Kelakos Haberstroh’s laid back guitar work set alongside Chip Smith’s piano line and Carl Canedy’s expert timekeeping make for a song that musically is one of this record’s highest of points. It is just as interesting in its lyrical content, with Kelakos Haberstroh singing, “You may have seen me blowin’ past Mars/Or caught me floatin’ in space/One thing’s for sure now baby/You were watching’, feelin’ my face/It was sending love to you/Messages all the time/Now here’s your chance to receive me/All at one time.” He goes on to sing in the song’s chorus, “With lovin’ so fine/I think I’m gonna lose my mind,” The band leaves little doubt as to what is being said here. It would be quite the surprise to find out the subject of the song isn’t quite what one might think, too. But more than likely it is. Considering this and the song’s musical content, the combination of both elements proves shows exactly why this song stands out so brightly among the record’s other songs and why it stands among them as one more part of the whole that makes the record so enjoyable for any listener.

Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is an apt title for Kelakos’ newly re-issued compilation of songs as evidenced by the songs presented here. The songs noted here are just part of the whole that makes this record so enjoyable for listeners, too. There are a dozen other tracks that prove the album’s value and enjoyment just as much thanks to the talents of the band’s members and the songs’ lyrical content. In hearing those other tracks, every listener that gives this compilation a chance will agree with this critic that this record could be just what Kelakos needed to finally earn the acclaim that it has so rightly deserved for so long. With the right support, that could finally happen. Uncorked: Rare Tracks From A Vintage 70s Band is available now and can be ordered via CD Baby via the band’s official website at http://www.kelakosband.com. More information on Kelakos’ new album is available online now along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://www.kelakosband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/KelakosUncorked

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Shy Kid Blues Could Be A Candidate For One Of 2014’s Best New Children’s Albums

Courtesy:  Hullabaloo Music

Courtesy: Hullabaloo Music

In an age when audiences seem to be increasingly fickle in their musical tastes, any band that reaches anything more than three albums released should consider itself/himself/herself very lucky. For such bands, groups, or artists to reach eleven albums released is a landmark. It’s even more of a landmark for those that are classified under the children’s music genre. This Spring, the two-man act known as Hullabaloo will hit that landmark when it releases its eleventh full length album, Shy Kid Blues. The album is another great addition to the children’s music scene in 2014. The first reason for that is the album’s format. Those that have perhaps heard fellow children’s entertainers Josh and the Jamtones’ 2013 album Bear Hunt! will notice a similarity in the story-telling style of the album. Another reason the album is such a great addition to this year’s crop of children’s albums are the positive messages delivered through the story. And last but definitely not least is the album’s overall country/rockabilly style sound. The three factors noted here collectively make Shy Kids Blues a potential candidate to be one of this critic’s top ten new children’s albums of the year by year’s end. It’s still early. But it could end up on that list as enjoyable as it is.

The primary reason that Shy Kid Blues is such a great addition to this year’s crop of new children’s albums is its format. The format of this album is one of a story-telling nature. Those that have heard Josh and the Jamtones’ 2013 album Bear Hunt! will recognize that familiar story-telling format on this record, too. The difference is that whereas Josh and the Jamtones used a classic children’s poem/song as the basis for their album, Hullabaloo—Steve Denyes and Brendan Kremer—have actually crafted a wholly original story in its latest release. Denyes and Kremer have crafted a story in Shy Kid Blues that follows two childhood friends as they grow up together and help each other overcome their own shyness and become who they always knew they could be underneath. That is another part of what makes this album such a great addition to this year’s crop of children’s albums. It will be discussed later. Getting back to the album’s overall story and format, the story itself is original. One could almost see this story playing out in its entirety in short form on screen. It almost begs to be made into a full story put to video. It would be an interesting story to see happen should anyone consider making it.

The story presented in Shy Kid Blues and the story’s format are together the foundation of this outstanding album. Sitting atop that solid foundation is another reason for this album’s ease of enjoyment. That reason is the album’s collective positive messages. Shy Kid Blues boasts at least two positive messages over the course of its two dozen songs. The positive messages embedded in the album’s story are messages of friendship and of self-confidence. The message of friendship is presented through the story of Steve and Brendan. The two boys were born mere weeks apart from one another. And while they were born so close together in time, they turned out to be two entirely different people.   One was really shy. The other was the total opposite. Interestingly enough, despite their differences, the two became fast friends when they got older. And they stayed friends well into their adult lives. They stayed friends because they didn’t let their differences keep them from being friends. Instead it made them stronger because they supported the other emotionally. This is a wonderful message for young listeners to take in. It shows true friendships can weather anything as long as friends don’t’ let their differences tear one another apart.

The second message presented in Shy Kid Blues is one of self-confidence. As the story progresses, listeners learn that as extroverted as he was, Brendan turned out to be very shy in his own way. He was afraid of singing in front of everyone . So Steve supported Brendan much the same way Brendan supported him. He told Brendan how great a singer Brendan was. Together, the two built each other. They helped one another believe more in themselves. This in turn helped their friendship to remain strong even into their adult years. It is yet another positive message presented by the real life Steve and Brendan. Together with the wonderful message of friendship, it proves once more why Shy Kid Blues is such a great addition to this year’s crop of new children’s albums.

The positive messages shared through Shy Kid Blues make this album all the more solid for listeners of all ages. Together with the story and its presentation style, it makes Shy Kid Blues all the more solid an album. There is still one more factor in this album that makes it such a great addition to this year’s crop of new children’s albums. That final factor is the album’s musical styling. Shy Kid Blues largely boasts a country/rockabilly sound throughout the course of its two dozen total tracks. There are some tracks that move a bit more to the left of center. But by and large, the album’s sound is more centered in country and rockabilly. Making the sound even more enjoyable is that the songs that boast a more country vibe are more along the lines of classic country. Listeners more familiar with the world of classic country can hear influences from the likes of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and even Hank Williams, Sr. to a lesser extent. Put simply, it is a great introduction to the world of country music for those wanting to initiate their young listeners into that world. So not only is it a way to entertain listeners, but it also serves as an introduction potentially to a whole new musical world. It is the last part of the whole that is Shy Kid Blues, proving once and for all why this album is not only another great addition to this year’s crop of new children’s albums, but also a potential candidate for this critic’s final year-end list of the year’s best new children’s albums.

Shy Kid Blues will be available Tuesday, May 27th. Audiences can order the duo’s new album via its website, http://www.hullabalooband.com and through CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/Hullabaloo. While there, audiences can check in on the band and get all of the latest news, tour updates and more from Hullabaloo, too. Audiences can also keep up with Hullabaloo via Facebook and Twitter at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hullabaloo/220028144692974 and http://twitter.com/hullabaloosteve. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.