Rabner’s New LP Is A Timely Record That Is Worth Hearing At Least Once

Courtesy: Sticky Jams

When COVI-19 made its way to American shores last year, no one could have possibly known that it would lead to the chaos that it has since caused.  Now with multiple vaccines available though, and more doses on the way along with lots of sites, this pandemic will hopefully come to its end sooner rather than later.  Until that time, we are still facing the virus and its impacts, which have been economic and social.  In an effort to help address those impacts and the pandemic itself, family music entertainer Eriba Rabner will release her new aptly titled record The Covid Album Wednesday.  The 14-song album is an intriguing presentation.  Its musical arrangements, which will be discussed shortly, do their own part to make the album worth hearing.  The record’s lyrical content, meanwhile are of their own interest.  They will be discussed a little later.  The album’s sequencing brings everything full circle completing its presentation.  When it is considered along with the record’s collective musical and lyrical content, the whole of the album becomes a presentation that is worth hearing at least once.

Erica Rabner’s new forthcoming album The Covid Album is an intriguing presentation that is worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements.  The musical arrangements that are featured in this record offer some variety for listeners.  Case in point is a comparison among the album’s current singles.  ‘Grandma, I Miss Ya’ is one of those singled.  The simple arrangement is reserved composition that features Rabner singing and playing a very simple group of chords on the guitar.  That pairing is accompanied by a subtle string arrangement and an even lighter shaker addition.  The light feel of the whole does well to help translate the emotion of a young, innocent child as he/she writes a letter to his/her grandmother, expressing the noted feelings and thoughts.  It is a moving arrangement in its simplicity that is certain to tug at any listener’s heart strings. 

In comparison to ‘Grandma, I Miss Ya,’ ‘Mask On,’ the album’s latest single, is the polar opposite.  This song’s arrangement is a much more upbeat composition.  The keyboards (and effects used on them) couple with the programmed drum and vocals to give this song a very pop style approach.  Speaking more specifically, the arrangement in whole lends itself to comparison to works from the likes of Shakira.  Keeping that in mind, the arrangement is certain to appeal to parents who are pop music fans just as much as any child.

On yet another note, the lighter, but still pop-centric arrangement featured in ‘Wash Your Hands’ is another example of what makes the album’s musical arrangements stand out.  The piano-driven arrangement is an energetic composition that will connect with any young listener.  Its stylistic approach and sound lend themselves collectively to comparisons to works from Rabner’s family music counterparts, Joanie Leeds and Laurie Berkner.  It is just as different from the other arrangements noted here as they are from the rest of the album’s arrangements.  The whole of the arrangements makes the album’s musical content reason enough for audiences to hear the album.  While the album’s musical content gives listeners reason to take in this presentation, the record’s lyrical content poses a slight problem.

The problem with the lyrical content featured in Rabner’s new album is that it is more timely than timeless.  It is already known that odds are, the COVID-19 issue will eventually either be wiped out at the most or limited to a seasonal issue much like the flu.  Medical experts across the nation have already confirmed this.  So while yes, we are separated and things are complicated right now, things will return to normal soon, as much as certain governing bodies and so many germaphobes clearly wish they would not.  That baseball is starting back on time this year and that concert venues in New York state will soon start allowing the return of live music, and that schools nationwide are finally allowing students back into the classroom shows that this pandemic may finally be near its end.  To that end, the lyrical content here will help families navigate the waters of the pandemic for the time being, but once things get back to normal, the album’s lyrical content will be more of a documentation of sorts than something memorable.  What’s more, once we are all past this pandemic, no one is going to want to be reminded about the pandemic and its impacts.  So hearing these songs after the fact is not something most audiences are going to want to do.  Again, that is not to say that the album’s content is bad by any means.  However, the fact that it collectively centers on topics related to the pandemic means that the album in general is going to ultimately be dated and wanted to be forgotten by audiences.  That will ultimately serve as a detriment to the album.

That the lyrical content featured in this presentation will end up being dated, and in turn will make the album dated, is problematic for its presentation.  While it detracts considerably from the album’s presentation, it does not make the album a failure.  The sequencing of the album works with the content to benefit the work a little more.  The sequencing is important because it ensures clear separation of each discussion topic f or starters.  Rather than just going from song to song, the album clearly broaches each topic, opening with “real talk” segment before launching into the songs.  It gives that sense of a family talking about the same topics.  On another level, the balance in the record’s energies shows that plenty of thought and work went into the sequencing in this aspect, too.  The record starts on an upbeat tone in ‘Up and Roaring, It’s Finally Morning.’  ‘Mask On,’ which comes next, picks up the pace, but only temporarily before the record’s energy pulls back in ‘Grandma, I Miss Ya.’  ‘Imagination Station’ and ‘Manage Your Feelings’ (which is itself also part of Raber’s 2016 album PB & Jams) stabilize the record’s energy with their mid-tempo arrangements.  ‘Wash Your Hands’ finds the album’s energy picking back up before ‘Love Trumps Hate’ levels things off once more to close out the album.  All things considered here, the balance in the energy throughout ensures in its own right, that listeners will remain engaged.  That, along with the entertainment and engagement ensured through the album’s musical content, does just enough to offset the problematic aspect of the record’s lyrical content.  The result is that those elements make The Covid Album a presentation that may not stand the test of time, but is still worth hearing at least once.

Erica Rabner’s new record The Covid Album is an interesting presentation that while not perfect, is still worth hearing at least once.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical content.  The musical arrangements are varied throughout the album, ensuring in their own right, listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  On another level, some of the arrangements in question bear similarities to works from artists that many older audiences might enjoy.  That adds even more to the arrangements’ appeal.  While the album’s musical content does much to make it appealing, its lyrical content detracts from that engagement and entertainment.  Yes, it will help get families through the pandemic as it continues to be battled.  At the same time though, considering that we will eventually get past the pandemic and that people are not going to want to look back afterward, the content in whole will ultimately be content that is more timely than timeless.  Once we are past the pandemic, people are not going to want to have any reminder of these times.  That is because it will only serve to depress them.  So, once again, it will help families right now, but ultimately will not stand the test of time.  It will garner more respect for Rabner among audiences since she is working to help families navigate these waters.  However, it will not find itself as being content that audiences will want to return to once this pandemic is over.  Even with this in mind, the damage that the lyrical theme does to the album does to its presentation, the sequencing of the content in whole makes up for those problems at least to a point.  It works to make sure the diversity in the musical arrangements and their energies keep things fresh.  Keeping this in mind, it and the musical arrangements do just enough to make The Covid Album a timely work that is worth hearing at least once.  The Covid Album is scheduled for release Wednesday through Sticky Jams.

More information on Erica Rabner’s new album is available along with all of her latest news at https://www.ericarabner.com.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to https://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

The Okee Dokee Brothers Tops This Year’s Phil’s Picks Best New Family Music Albums List

Courtesy: Okee Dokee Music

Family music entertainers have, like acts in every other genre across the music universe, been adversely impacted this year by the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Their live plans have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.  In the same vein, while the pandemic has put a (hopefully) temporary hold on live music, it has not prevented acts within the realm to release new albums.  That means that a list of the year’s top new Family Music albums is just as qualified as that for any other genre.  This year’s list of top new Family Music albums features new titles from some of the most well-known names within the realm, including but not limited to this year’s list topper The Okee Dokee Brothers, Paul Winter, and Justin Roberts.  It also features some younger acts, such as Roger Day, Greg Lato, and Lindsay Munroe.  Between them and others, this year produced many enjoyable albums within the Family Music world. 

The list of this year’s best new records, offers the Top 10 new albums in the genre and five honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Family Music Albums.


  1. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Songs For Singin’
  2. Alastair Mook & Friends – Be A Pain: An Album For Youn (And Old) Leaders
  3. Justin Roberts – Wild Life
  4. Red Yarn – Backyard Bop
  5. David Gibb & Brady Rymer – Songs Across The Pond
  6. Paul Winter – Light of the Sun
  7. Flor Bromley – Fiesta Global
  8. Lindsay Munroe – I Am Kind
  9. Joanie Leeds – All The Ladies
  10. 123 Andres – Hola Amigo
  11. Rolie Polie Guacamole – Avocado
  12. Roger Day – Invincible
  13. Sara Lovell – Night Life
  14. Greg Lato – Create My Own World
  15. Ants Ants Ants – Colors All Around

Next up from Phil’s Picks is the list of 2020’s Top 10 New Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Americana Albums.  Stay tuned for that.

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.  

Recording Academy Announces “Best Children’s Music Album” Nominees

Courtesy: Sugar Mountain PR

The nominees for this year’s Best Children’s Album were announced this week.

The announcement for the Grammys category was made Tuesday. This year’s nominees for the “Best Children’s Music Album” are:

All The Ladies — Joanie Leeds

Be A Pain: An Album for Young (and Old) LeadersAlastair Mook and Friends

I’m An OptomistDog On Fleas

Songs For Signin’The Okee Dokee Brothers

Wild LifeJustin Roberts

Audiences can listen to a selection of songs from each nominee on a playlist culled on Spotify.

The 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony is scheduled to take place Jan. 31 on CBS. The winner of the “Best Children’s Music Album will be announced during a pre-show telecast, which will stream online here.

The full list of the nominees for the 63rd annual Grammy Awards ceremony is available along with all of the latest Grammy news at:

Website: http://www.grammy.com

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

Twitter http://twitter.com/grammys

To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress,com.

Leeds & The Nightlights’ Latest Is A “Good Egg” Of An Album

Courtesy:  Joanie Leeds/Zameret Music/BMI/Limbostar

Courtesy: Joanie Leeds/Zameret Music/BMI/Limbostar

Singer/songwriter Joanie Leeds and her band mates The Nightlights will release their fourth full length studio album this Summer.  The album, which is slated to be released June24th, is a *ahem* “good egg” of an album.  Yes, that bad pun was fully intended.  Fans will find it interesting to note that this Kickstarter funded album, scheduled to be released June 24th, will be released nearly a year to the day after the band’s previous album, BandwagonGood Egg boasts a total of fifteen songs.  And throughout the course of those songs, Leeds and her band mates offer up quite the musical and lyrical mix.  From an opener about the time honored tradition of the lunchroom food fight to a funky little piece about a drummer named Dan to a beautiful, moving lullaby of sorts being sung to a baby in the womb and more, this album offers listeners so much to enjoy.

Leeds and her band mates open Good Egg on a fun note with a song about one of the greatest childhood rituals of all time—the lunchroom food fight.  In the case of ‘Food Fight,’ Leeds writes about an unnamed boy that alleged he was wrongly accused of having started a food fight.  She writes, “My brother got in trouble at school/Grounded for breaking the lunch-time rule/He said it’s not his fault/It was some other fool who started it/Claimed he was walking with his plastic tray/When he tripped and his applesauce flew away/Right on Jimmy Walker!/The biggest kid’s head.”  What follows is the traditional food fight.  Leeds and her band mates make visualizing the impending scene so simple thanks to such vivid descriptions of food flying everywhere.  She writes about “peas and carrots flying through the air/Tater tots and mustard getting in the hair/Chocolate milk and pudding going in every direction.”  Who hasn’t seen a scene such as this?  It is certain to leave listeners of all ages in stitches as Leeds and company keep the energy flowing throughout the poppy, up-tempo piece. This is just the beginning of the fun offered by the band, too.

‘Food Fight’ is a good first impression for Leeds and her band mates on their latest release.  It’s just the start of the album’s fun, too.  Just as much is the band’s song celebrating the real heart of any band in ‘Drummer Dan.’ The song is centered around an old school funk sound that will have listeners of every age dancing.  And that’s just the start of what makes this song so fun.  Drummers are typically the butt of far too many jokes.  So for Leeds to rhyme about a drummer in such celebratory fashion is a breath of fresh air for drummers of any age, this drummer included.  Leeds writes in the song’s second verse, “That crazy drummer was SOO smooth/I could not believe how fast his arms moved/Kinda like an octopus with mad style/He be rocking those drums with a handsome smile.”  Such a show of respect for drummers is especially a breath of fresh air primarily because of how little respect drummers get.  It is just as much a breath of fresh air because such a celebration of drummers set against an equally fun and funky beat could potentially influence young listeners to give drums a chance.  To that extent, this song becomes and even more invaluable addition to Good Egg.

Both ‘Drummer Dan’ and ‘Food Fight’ are equally invaluable additions to Good Egg.  Both make the fan-funded album enjoyable in their own way.  They are both enjoyable additions to the album.  The same can be said of the album’s other tracks in their own right, too.  Of those other tracks, there is one that stands head and shoulders above the others.  That track is the album’s closer, ‘I Love You.’  It is a perfect way to close out the album in every sense of the term. Most interesting to note about this piece is that despite the beautiful, touching lyrics and simple musical backing, it doesn’t come across nearly as overly emotional as some similar works from other artists. It’s just a happy, hopeful song of the future. It is still almost certain to leave listeners crying tears of joy as Leeds sings, “I am dreaming of the day/When I’ll put my arms around you/Cradle/Softly/Sing so sweetly/While rocking I will tell you/You may not believe it/You’re not even on this earth yet/Showing you is hard to prove/But I feel it/I love you.” After all the fun and energy exuded by the songs leading up to this touching finale, it seems fitting, almost like a story told in reverse through music. It could be argued that it’s all a mother dreaming of everything that is to come for her child, and it all culminates with this one final song. Sure, it might be a bit of a stretch. But it’s just as much a viable possibility, too even if it is unintentional. That being the case, it is one more wonderful reason for fans of Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights to check out the band’s new album when it becomes available next month.

Joanie and company will hit the road in support of their new album beginning June 7th in Burnsville, Minnesota. That show will be followed up by a gig in L.A. on June 21st and a CD release show June 24th in New York. Audiences can check out the band’s full tour schedule online now at http://www.joanieleeds.com. While there, fans can also order the band’s new CD. Audiences can also get all the latest from the band through its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Joanie-Leeds-The-Nightlights/169340443114091. 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.