Classical Recordings Take Top Honors As 2015’s Top New Children’s Albums

The mainstream and independent music industry have both generated their fair share of impressive records in 2015. This includes both full-length albums and EPs. Of course for all of the success that both realms have shown one would be remiss to ignore the realm of music for the whole family. That realm has seen the release of a number of impressive records, too. Recess Monkey returned again this year with yet another fun new album. And children’s classical label Maestro Classics released a pair of interesting releases, too. New entries from Jazzy Ash, Josh and the Jamtones, and Alex & The Kaleidoscope among others have proven to be just as impressive. Those acts’ albums are all on this year’s list of the year’s best new children’s albums along with five more that have once again gotten honorable mention. Without any further ado here is the Phil’s Picks Best New Children’s Albums.

2015 TOP NEW CHILDREN’S ALBUMS

1. MAESTRO CLASSICS — THE NUTCRACKER
2. MAESTRO CLASSICS — MERRY PRANKS OF MASTER TILL
3. RECESS MONKEY — HOT AIR
4. JOSH AND THE JAMTONES — ROCKSTEADY
5. ROCK ‘N RAINBOW — LET’S BOOGIE
6. CATHY FINK & MARCY MARXER — DANCIN’ IN THE KITCHEN: SONGS FOR ALL FAMILIES

7. ALASTAIR MOOK AND FRIENDS — ALL KINDS OF YOU AND ME
8. JAZZY ASH — BON VOYAGE
9. THE BAZILLIONS — ON THE BRIGHT SIDE
10. FUTURE HITS — TODAY IS FOREVER
11. THE POP UPS — GREAT PRETENDERS CLUB
12. ROCKNOCEROS — PLYMOUTH ROCKERS
13. ALEX & THE KALEIDOSCOPE — GET ON BOARD
14. LUCKY DIAZ AND THE FAMILY JAM BAND — ADELANTE
15. MIL’S TRILS — NOW THAT WE’RE FRIENDS

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Moock’s New Album Is All Kinds Of Enjoyable

Courtesy: Moockshake Music

Courtesy: Moockshake Music

2015 has been quite the fruitful year for the world of children’s music. New releases from veteran acts such as Recess Monkey, Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, and Josh and the Jamtones have joined releases from others such as Jazzy Ash, The Bazillions, and fellow veteran performers Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer among others to form a field that has offered up quite the selection of music for audiences of all ages. Now another veteran artist by the name of Alastair Moock has added yet another new release to this year’s field, making things even more interesting for those keeping track. The album in question, All Kinds of You And Me, comes only a few months after fellow veteran entertainers Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer released a similar album in the form of Dancin’ in the Kitchen: Songs For All Families. While the two acts’ new albums are similar in their lyrical topics, it can be said that Moock’s new album manages to maintain its own identity apart from that of Frink and Marxer’s new album thanks to the fact that it takes the foundation established by Fink and Marxer’s lyrics and builds on it with even more interesting topics. It also builds on the pair’s foundation with its mix of musical styles. That is the second reason that audiences will enjoy this album. Last but hardly least of note of this album is its run time. The album doesn’t even hit the one-hour mark. Rather it clocks in at forty-five minutes. The album’s longest track, its closer ‘This Land Is Your Land,’ comes in at just over five minutes. And the shortest comes in at just under the three-minute mark. That each of the album’s songs runs at a relatively normal time makes each one all the more apt to keep listeners of all ages locked in from the album’s opener to its end. Moock’s lyrical and musical approach to each number does just as much to keep listeners engaged. All three elements considered together show All Kinds of You and Me to be one of this year’s bravest and most confident children’s records. What’s more that confidence and bravery pay off in spades, proving it to be one more of this year’s best new children’s albums.

Veteran singer/songwriter Alastair Moock’s latest full-length studio recording All Kinds of You and Me is one of this year’s best new children’s albums. The twelve-track, forty-five minute recording is not the first of its kind to be released this year. Fellow veteran performers Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer released an album in Dancin’ in the Kitchen: Songs For All Families only months before this album’s release. While the two albums are similar in regards to their lyrical content, they are also quite different. That is proven first through the fact that Moock doesn’t stick to just the concept of the different kinds of families that make up America’s population. He does cover this topic. That can’t be ignored. However, he doesn’t stop there. Instead he branches out paying tribute to Malala Yousefzai in ‘I Am Malala’ and even to Woody Guthrie in his cover of ‘This Land is Your Land’ and its narrative intro ‘You and Me.’ There’s even a playful little piece about the different holidays in the simply titled ‘Every Day’s A Holiday.’ While those songs each help to make Moock’s new album stand out among this year’s field of new children’s releases, the songs about families and America’s social norms do just as much to help it stand out. Moock tackles the rigid social norms and gender roles that dominate American families in the album’s opener ‘It Takes All Kinds,’ and in the two songs that follow, ‘PEOPLE’ and ‘You Might Be A Girl.’ These songs are brave to say the least. They take a similar track as that taken by Fink and Marxer. But unlike them he takes more of stand against those norms established by American culture in these songs. Every one of the songs noted here shows in its own way to play an important part in what makes All Kinds of You and Me a standout recording. While each of the noted songs plays its own role, that is not to say that the others don’t play a role, too. Quite the opposite actually. Each one of the album’s twelve total tracks plays its own part in the whole of the album’s impact with all twelve showing clearly why the lyrical approach to this album makes it one that every family should take in together. Any family that does will be glad that it did. That is because of the foundation for discussion that each song’s lyrical content forms. It’s just the starting point of what makes this record such an interesting listen. The musical approach taken by Moock throughout the record is just as important to its success and enjoyment.

The lyrical content of Alastair Moock’s latest LP is within itself plenty of reason for audiences of all ages to hear this record. That is because of the number of topics covered by Moock throughout the course of the album’s twelve tracks and forty-five minutes. He tackles the strict gender roles and social norms established within American culture in the album’s first three songs before going a little more playful as the album advanced. He even pays tribute to human rights and women’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai and to folk legend Woody Guthrie in the album’s closer among much more content. It is just one portion of what makes this record so enjoyable, though. The album’s musical content makes it just as enjoyable. By and large, Moock presents a folksy, bluegrass style sound throughout the record. Though, he does break off at a few random points. The album’s opener presents a fun, rockabilly sound while ‘PEOPLE’ boasts a lighthearted Dixieland style sound. ‘You Might Be A Girl’ is just as enjoyable in regards to its music as it boasts something of an old school R&B influence. That is of course this critic’s own interpretation. And then there’s the dreamy, dulcet tones of ‘My Life(Is A Lot Like Yours)’ that will conjure thoughts of Allison Kraus and Norah Jones. That is a tribute to vocalist Jennifer Kimball’s extraordinary talents. ‘All In A Day’ also boasts that old school R&B influence. It conjures thoughts of Otis Redding. For all of the interest that the noted songs generates, the most intriguing of the album’s songs (in terms of their musical content) is ‘I Am Malala.’ The song largely boasts a gentle, beachy sound that conjures thoughts of Jimmy Buffett by and large. Though, interestingly enough the song switches things up in its final bars, sounding more like the opening bars of ‘The Lion Sleeps Tonight’ than that beachy sound that makes up the rest of its body. All of these examples together paint a rich musical picture that is just as certain to keep listeners engaged as that painted by the album’s lyrical content. The album’s musical and lyrical content taken jointly into consideration, they give listeners of all ages plenty of reason to hear this brave, enjoyable record.

Both the lyrical and musical content presented throughout the course of Alastair Moock’s new album make for plenty of reason for families to hear this record. While both elements are equally important to the whole of the record’s success and enjoyment, there is still one last element that should be examined in the whole of its presentation. That element is the record’s overall run time. The album clocks in at forty-five minutes. That is actually a relatively standard length both in regards to the realm of children’s music and that of music for adults. The album’s longest song is its closer, the cover of Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land.’ It comes in at five minutes and three seconds. The album’s shortest song is its second track ‘PEOPLE.’ That song comes in at two minutes and twenty-two seconds. Some might ask what significance any of this plays in the grand scheme of the album. It significance is that when set against the songs’ musical and lyrical content together, it can help to determine just how long the songs (and the album in whole) are likely to keep listeners engaged. Being that the songs’ musical and lyrical content is not over the heads of its intended audiences and the songs themselves are in fact really standard length, it means a greater chance of keeping audiences’ ears from beginning to end. Sure, five minutes for a song–especially a children’s album–might seem like a lot. But the simple redundancy of the song’s chorus makes it (‘This Land is Your Land’) one that will definitely keep young listeners’ ears for the full length of its run time. That, friends, is the importance of the album’s run time. And on a smaller scale the run time of each of the album’s songs. Those run times, set against the songs’ musical and lyrical content, make one whole record that stands out against its counterparts within the realm of children’s music this year. In turn, the combination of all three elements makes this record one of this year’s best new children’s records.

All Kinds of You and Me is a record that can be said to be all kinds of enjoyable from beginning to end. That is thanks to the album’s mix of musical stylings and lyrical themes. The run times of each of the album’s twelve total songs makes a total run time that together with the album’s musical and lyrical content is sure to keep listeners fully engaged regardless of their ages. All things considered, All Kinds of You and Me proves in the end to be all kinds of enjoyable for listeners of all ages and in turn one of this year’s best new children’s records. It is available now in stores and online and can be ordered direct via Alastair Moock’s official website at http://www.moockmusic.com. More information on All Kinds of You and Me is available online now along with all of the latest news from Alastair himself at:

Website: http://www.moockmusic.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Alastair-Moock-Music/43677062968

Twitter: http://twitter.com/AlastairMoock 

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Josh And The Jamtones’ New LP Is Steady And Solid As A Rock

Courtesy:  Jamhouse Records

Courtesy: Jamhouse Records

Josh and the Jamtones’ surprised the kindie rock world three years ago when it released its debut album Jump Up!. The album was unlike anything else in the kindie rock community at the time thanks to its mix of its ska-influenced sound and its comedy bits. That familiar sound is just as prevalent in the band’s latest release. However it isn’t the only sound that is featured throughout the record’s seventeen total tracks. There is also a hint of hip-hop and even a touch of reggae peppered into this album. That the band has switched things up this time out is a good start for the album. It is just one reason that audiences should hear this album. The comedy bits that break up the album’s overall musical track listing are collectively another reason that Rocksteady proves itself to be another hit record from Josh and the Jamtones. Speaking of those bits, their sequencing set against the sequencing of the album’s songs makes for an album in whole that will keep listeners engaged and entertained from start to finish and will leave listeners wanting more in the best way possible. All three elements show in their own ways to be integral to the success and enjoyment of Rocksteady. Collectively they prove Rocksteady to be one of this year’s best new children’s albums.

Josh and the Jamtones’ have done it yet again. The kindie rock favorite has crafted yet another album in the form of Rocksteady, its latest full-length studio recording, an album that is one of this year’s best new studio recordings. The nineteen track record, released this summer, is yet another easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new children’s albums. That is proven primarily through the musical growth exhibited in this record. The ska-influenced sound that audiences have come to know from the band ever since its 2012 record Jump Up! is just as prevalent here as in that record and its 2013 follow-up Bear Hunt. However, audiences will note that along with that sound, Rocksteady also presents a hint of both hip-hop and reggae. The hip-hop sound in question is exhibited in the form of ‘I Love You (JZ Remix)’ and ‘Katmandu.’ Audiences that are familiar with the world of children’s music will love the addition of guest artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo to this song. The album’s reggae sound is featured in the album’s closer ‘Tailfeather.’ While the inclusion of both sounds is minimal at best here, it is still a welcome addition to the album in whole. Its addition actually adds even more enjoyment to the album and shows the band’s creative potential for the future. it is just one reason that audiences will enjoy Rocksteady, too. The inclusion of the band’s familiar “comedy bits” is another reason that audiences will enjoy this record.

Josh and the Jamtones are to be commended for branching out musically on the band’s latest full-length studio recording. The inclusion of some hip-hop and even reggae to its familiar ska-sound goes a long way toward making this recording an interesting collection of songs. It is not the only reason that audiences will enjoy Rocksteady. The inclusion of the band’s familiar “comedy bits” throughout the record makes the album even more enjoyable. While the band’s “comedy bits” are familiar to most audiences, the band has continued to impress with them even up to this point. That is because the band has kept those “bits” fresh and original on each of its albums. This time, the band’s “comedy bits” poke fun at all of the clutter on the radio. From the over the top, stereotypical mainstream personalities to the droll of the political talk stations to the points in-between, the band pokes fun at every bit of the FM and AM spectrum. All the while the band throws back to its previous album (and debut DVD) with appearances of sorts by none other than Butters the Peanut Buttery Bear. Yes, Butter is back. And he is just as entertaining as ever. That Jewish mother figure that was so hilarious in the band’s previous album is apparently here, too. This time she take the part of a radio talk show host. And she, too is just has funny as ever. Whether for either of these figures or any of the others that appear throughout the record’s “comedy bits,” every one of the bits featured in this record make it that much more enjoyable of a listen. Collectively, they show (along with the album’s musical numbers) even more clearly why Rocksteady is in fact steady as a rock from beginning to end.

The musical numbers and “comedy bits” that make up the body of Rocksteady show in full that the band’s new album is one of those works that is rather well-titled. For all of the positives exhibited through the album’s musical numbers and “comedy bits” neither would be of any importance if not for their sequencing. It is thanks both to the band and to those at the boards and behind the glass that each element works so well. The album’s nineteen total tracks are sequenced in just the right fashion to keep listeners fully engaged from start to finish, laughing and smiling the whole way there. It’s a good mix of material throughout. That solid mix of material rounds out the record and in turn allows for each track to be properly highlighted thus showing once more exactly why Rocksteady is such an impressive new effort from Josh and the Jamtones. It proves to be so impressive in fact that it is safe to say that this record is yet another of the year’s best new children’s albums.

Two years have passed since Josh and the Jamtones released its most recent album Bear Hunt. And the band has shown on its latest album that it was a wait that was well worth it. That is thanks to the musical growth exhibited on this the band’s latest album. The “comedy bits” included throughout the album will have audiences laughing throughout, too. The sequencing of the whole thing rounds out the ways in which it proves itself such an enjoyable work. All things considered, Rocksteady proves in the end to be truly rock steady. It is an album that is one of the best of the year’s new children’s records. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Rocksteady is available online now along with all of Josh and the Jamtones’ latest updates at:

Website: http://www.joshandthejamtones.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheJamtones

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Open Up Those Notebooks: Bear Hunt–The Movie Is One Of This Year’s Best New DVD’s For The Whole Family

Courtesy:  Jamhouse Records

Courtesy: Jamhouse Records

Two years ago when it released its album Bear Hunt, kindie-rock band Josh and the Jamtones surprised a lot of people. That is because the album, which was released without the backing of any record label, proved to be one of the best new children’s albums of the year. It also proved to be just as entertaining for adults. It proved to be so entertaining for so many audiences because of its originality and creativity. Even within the kindie-rock world, no other act had released an album anything like Bear Hunt. The band took one of the most famous and beloved campfire “songs” of all time in the album’s title work and completely turned it on its ear with a wonderfully entertaining group of sketches. The sketches in question were interspersed with a number of equally entertaining songs proving unquestionably exactly why Bear Hunt was (and still is today) one of the best albums both for children and adults alike. Now the Boston-based quintet has followed up the success of that album with an equally entertaining release in its new DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie. Bear Hunt: The Movie is so entertaining first and foremost simply for the fact that it did exactly what so many fans of Josh and the Jamtones had hoped for. It brings to life (so to speak) the story presented on the band’s 2013 album. Its stylistic approach is more than any fan could hope to see. The use of the hand crafted puppets and backdrops together makes for its own entertainment value. The look of the puppets and backdrops couples with Josh and Patrick’s own performances make the sketches all the more entertaining and in turn the DVD itself that much more worth the watch. The sketches that lie at the heart of Bear Hunt: The Movie more than make the band’s new DVD worth the watch with their look and acting. Just as noteworthy are the companion music videos that round out the DVD. The videos that complement Bear Hunt: The Movie make it even more worth the watch. They include songs both from Bear Hunt: The Album and from the band’s other works. The combination of their fun sound and equally entertaining look rounds out the reasons that any family should check out this DVD. Whether for the videos or for the sketches, both parts of this DVD make it a great addition to any family’s home library. The elements tied into the sketches and videos (their look and sound) make the DVD even more worth the purchase. And when they are all taken into consideration together, they prove Bear Hunt: The Movie to be an early candidate for this year’s list of the best new DVDs for children and families.

The companion to its full-length 2013 album Bear Hunt, Josh and the Jamtones’ new DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie is an easy, early candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. The central reason that it is so deserving of this honor is the quartet of sketches that were lifted directly from the band’s album. They are stylistically everything for which fans had hoped after hearing them two years ago on Bear Hunt: The Album. The design of the characters’ puppet figures and backdrops in each sketch are themselves unlike anything that any other kindie-rock act is using today. It is difficult to fully put into words just how that look makes the sketches so enjoyable. Audiences will understand when they watch the sketches for themselves. Audiences can get a glimpse of one of the sketches online now via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHwovF_zCzY. The understanding of the song gained in watching just this skit will lead any viewer to agree fully as to why the primary sketches included on Bear Hunt: The Movie more than make their own reason to pick up the whole DVD.

The look of the sketches that lie at the heart of Bear Hunt: The Movie on its own more than makes this DVD a welcome addition to any family’s home library. The acting on the part of Josh and Patrick adds even more enjoyment to the sketches and even more reason for any family to add this DVD to its home library. What audiences get in Josh and Patrick’s performance isn’t just a couple of guys handling cardboard string puppets. The puppets themselves have been rather intricately designed for maximum suspension of disbelief. The duo’s different reactions portrayed in each of the sketches makes the pair’s acting even more believable and in turn entertaining. Josh’s outrageous reaction in being told about the single, child sized bed in the duo’s room, the duo’s comic timing in its discussion about Josh’s purple teddy bear, and the guys’ eventual meeting with the “evil scary bear” all prove this argument. Each moment will leave adults laughing just as *ahem* ferociously as their younger counterparts. Yes, that bad pun was fully intended. That laugh riot acting in each of the sketches makes each one entertaining in its own right. And taken into consideration with the look of the skits, both elements show plenty of reason for ay family to add this DVD to its ow home library.

The central skits that make up Bear Hunt: The Movie and their incorporated elements–their look and comic acting–make for plenty of reason for any family to add Bear Hunt: The Movie to its own home DVD library. For all of the enjoyment offered by these elements, there is still more to note in regards to what makes this DVD so enjoyable for audiences of all ages. Just as worth noting as the aforementioned elements are the music videos that accompany the skits. The music videos in question come from both songs included on Bear Hunt and from the band’s previous works. Among those songs/videos included from Bear Hunt: The Album were: ‘Fill It Up,’ ‘Snow Day,’ and ‘Swing Low,’ which opens the album. ‘The videos for ‘John Jacob,’ ‘Jump Up!,’ and ‘Iko Iko’ are new additions to the DVD. All three of those songs were taken from the band’s 2012 album Jump Up. There’s just as much to say about these videos as the sketches that sit at the heart of the DVD. The videos themselves make a great introduction to Josh and the Jamtones’ music for anyone that might not be so familiar with the band’s music. The laid back groove of ‘Fill It Up’ coupled with its simple, positive lyrics is just one example of why the videos make for a great introduction. Front man Josh Schrieber sings about spreading the love and “filling up” the world with love. It’s a great message. And coupled with the song’s video, it becomes an even stronger example of what makes this band so great. The look of the video (and the other videos) will be discussed later. For now, the focus will remain on the songs themselves. Getting back to that, the video for ‘Iko Iko’ presents yet another great tune from one of the greatest family acts out there today. Audiences will be interested to know that this is actually a cover song. It was originally written and recorded by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford.” It was made even more famous in 1965 by a group known as The Dixie Cups. Through some research, the song’s words translate roughly to, “Listen listen!/Listen listen at the rear/It’s very good at the rear/It’s a very good year.” The lyrics are a mix of Louisiana Creole and Native American. It’s interesting considering the song’s history. Regardless, the rendition performed here is still a fun piece. And then there is the band’s original work ‘Snow Day.’ Considering all of the snow that has been pounding the Northeast and Midwest this year, it’s a fitting song for any family in those regions. Most of the song centers on the joy that kids feel at having a snow day but then throws a curveball in the mix. That curveball won’t be given away for those that haven’t heard it. though it can be said that the evil scary bear makes an appearance in the video. The song’s video was recently released online and can be viewed online via YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHwovF_zCzY. Getting on the topic of the videos themselves, the varied look of the videos makes them even more of a bonus.

The videos that accompany the Bear Hunt sketches on Bear Hunt: The Movie are a huge positive to the presentation simply for the fact that they make for a great introduction to those not so familiar with Josh and the Jamtones’ musical body of work. This is especially the case being that some of the videos included on the DVD are companion pieces to songs included on Bear Hunt: The Album. The look of the videos makes them even more of a positive. None of the videos included on the DVD look like one another. The video for ‘Iko Iko’ is a lyric video while the video for ‘John Jacob’ is a wonderfully entertaining work that stands out stylistically from any other animated music video or even cartoon out there. Hand crafted or not, it is next to impossible to tell if it was crafted by hand or by computer. That is a testament to those responsible for bringing this video to life. The video for ‘Swing Low’ presents Josh and the Jamtones in a live setting, giving audiences a glimpse into the band on the road. And the companion video to ‘Snow Day’ is something that cannot be explained in words. it must be seen to be understood. Again that video is available online now from the band on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PHwovF_zCzY. The simplicity of front man Josh Schrieber singing ‘Fill It Up’ against footage of the band’s “HQ” being established is just as entertaining. Whether it be these videos or the accompanying video for ‘Jump Up!,’ the various styles of the videos and the positive messages contained within the songs shows clearly why the videos that are included as part of Bear Hunt: The Movie are just as important to its success as the sketches at the DVD’s center. All together all of these elements prove Bear Hunt: The Movie to be a must have for any family and one of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families.

Bear Hunt: The Movie boasts plenty of positives as has already been noted. The sketches that lie at the heart of the DVD make the DVD well worth the watch by themselves. The music videos that accompany the sketches add even more enjoyment to the DVD. That is thanks both to the band’s stylistic approach to the videos (and the sketches) and to the fun, overall content of each song and sketch. All combined, the sketches and videos that make up this DVD more than make it worth the purchase. They also combine to make it one of the year’s best new DVDs for children and families. It can be purchased at any Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurant nationwide and can be ordered online direct from Josh and the Jamtones’ website at http://joshandthejamtones.com. It is also going to be made available as an app via the iTunes app store very soon. More information on this and other releases from Josh and the Jamtones is available online along with all of the latest news from the band at:

Website: http://joshandthejamtones.com

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

Twitter: http://twitter.com/TheJamtones

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.

Josh And The Jamtones To Release Bear Hunt: The Movie Next Week

Courtesy:  Jamhouse Records

Courtesy: Jamhouse Records

Josh & The Jamtones will release brand new DVD Bear Hunt: The Movie next week.

The band announced this week that it will release its new DVD next Wednesday, January 21st via Jamhouse Records. It is the companion to the band’s independently released album Bear Hunt (2013). The DVD features four “real-time” animation clips of band members Josh Shriber and Pat Hanlin’s trek to find the fabled “evil scary bear” that lives on Bear Mountain. The sketches were written and performed by Shriber and Hanlin. Also featured on the DVD along with the sketches is a handful of music videos that are mixed in with the Bear Hunt! Story. The videos are both live action and animated.

Bear Hunt: The Movie will be available exclusively at participating Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants across the country. Along with selling the DVD in participating restaurants, the band’s partnership with Chuck E. Cheese’s sees the band being named a “featured band” for the nationally-known chain. This means that along with being able to purchase the band’s new DVD in-store, the band’s music videos and clips from the movie will be played at the restaurants’ in-store screens throughout the year. Shriber discussed the deal in a recent interview, noting the importance and significance of getting into one of the biggest kid-friendly restaurant chains in the country. “We’re so grateful for the opportunity to partner with such an awesome company,” he said. “Working with Chuck E. Cheese’s has given our little indie flick a real chance to be seen on a national and international level.” The movie was funded entirely via Kickstarter with a total funding of over $25,000 from some 136 backers.

As well as being available in participating Chuck E. Cheese’s in America and Canada, audiences will also be able to get Bear Hunt: The Movie online via iTunes, Amazon, and the band’s official website http://www.JoshandtheJamtones.com. More information on Bear Hunt: The Movie and the movie’s official trailer is also available online at http://www.BearHunttheMovie.com. More information on Josh and the Jamtones including its latest live dates and updates is available online at:

Website: http://www.JoshandtheJamtones.com

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

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

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.