Justin Roberts Debuts Lead Single From Forthcoming LP

Courtesy: Carpet Square/Sugar Mountain PR

Justin Roberts will release his new album Wild Life next month, and in anticipation, he debuted the album’s lead single this week.

Roberts debuted the song ‘Heart Like A Door‘ Friday.  The song, which clocks in at two minutes, 45 seconds, is featured in Roberts’ 15th full-length studio recording Wild Life.  The album is scheduled for release Feb. 28 through Carpet Square.

‘Heart Like A Door’ features a simple arrangement including Roberts on vocals and accompanied by a mandolin, violin and gentle tap of a drumstick on the rim of a snare drum.  The song’s chorus steps things up slightly, but not too much.  What sounds like a cello comes into play in the chorus to add to the arrangement’s impact.

Lyrically, the song is one of many about Roberts taking on parenthood with his newborn son.

Roberts is joined on his forthcoming 15th full-length studio recording by Baroque cellist Anna Steinhoff, pianist Lisa Kaplan, percussionist Gerald Dowd and vocalist Nora O’Connor.

More information on Wild Life is available along with all of Roberts’ latest news at:

 

Website: http://justinrobertsmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/justinrobertsmusic4kids

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MusicianJustin

 

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The Okee Dokee Brothers Lead The Herd In Phil’s Picks 2016 Top 10 New Children’s Albums List

Courtesy:  Okee Dokee Music

Courtesy: Okee Dokee Music

Children’s music has a terrible reputation in America.  The cause of that reputation is pretty easy to figure out.  Certain children’s shows such as *coughs* Barney and others have created that stereotype.  The reality of children’s music however, is that it is anything but what people believe it to be.  If anything, the world of Children’s music is one of the most diverse within the larger musical universe.  This year’s field of new children’s offerings is proof of that.  New offerings from the likes of the Okee Dokee Brothers, Niss Nina and the Jumping Jacks, Dr. Noize and others is proof of that.  Speaking of all of those artists, they are all on this year’s Phil’s Picks top new children’s albums.  They and so many others have made this list another tough one to compile.  But it has been done.

The Okee Dokee Brothers top this year’s list of top new Children’s albums with their new album Saddle Up.  Also included in the list are those new titles from Dr. Noize, and Miss Nina. Also on this year’s list are The Holow Trees, The Sugar Free All Stars, and The Not-Its among others.  As a reminder, Phil’s Picks lists feature the year’s Top 10 new albums plus five honorable mention titles for a total of 15 albums.  So without any further ado, here are the Phil’s Picks Top 10 New Children’s Albums.

 

1) The Okee Dokee Brothers – Saddle Up

 

2) The Not Its – Are You Listening

 

3) Dr. Noize – Phineas McBoof Crashes The Symphony

 

4) The Deedle Deedle Dees – Sing-a-Long History Volume 2

 

5) Vanessa Trien & The Jumping Monkeys – Wonderful You

 

6) The Whizpops – Ranger Rick’s Trail Mix

 

7) Sugar Free All Stars – Sugar Free All Stars

 

8) Liz De Roche – Club Called Awesome

 

9) Eric Herman & The Thunderpuppies – Bubble Wrap

 

10) Miss Nina & The Jumping Jacks – Every Day’s Your Birthday

 

11) Hulaballoo – I Chew

 

12) The Hollow Trees – Hello Friends

 

13) Recess Monkey – Novelties

 

14) Nathalia – When I Was Your Age

 

15) Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could – Press Play

 

 

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Oh My, The Ohmies’ New LP Is A Fun Family Record

Courtesy:  Ohmazing Tunes

Courtesy: Ohmazing Tunes

The world of children’s music is one of the most intriguing in the overall scheme of the music industry.  That is because of just how many truly original acts exist in the realm of children’s music today.  2013 alone has seen quite a few examples of that with new releases from the likes of Recess Monkey, Justin Roberts, and others.  Now, another children’s act by the name of The Ohmies (pronounced Oh-Meez) has broadened that field even more with its debut record, Morning Wish Garden.  The sextet’s new release is a fun and smart record that will impress listeners of every age.  The reason for that it is a multi-purpose record.  Not only does it entertain young listeners, but it also teaches healthy living.  These two factors taken into account, The Ohmies’ debut record is sure to be a hit with any parent of young children and said children.

Morning Wish Garden is another enjoyable addition to the already vast array of children’s albums that have been released so far this year.  It is so enjoyable first and foremost because of its entertainment factor.  This album is the first for the band.  It has largely come to fame via word of mouth and its live shows.  So trying to translate its live show to disc was a calculated risk.  It’s a risk that has definitely paid off.  Even listeners that are new to the group’s material will agree that somehow, its members have managed to paint a vivid picture of its show through this record.  It’s difficult to put a finger on how exactly the band managed it.  But it in fact managed it and quite well at that.  Maybe it was the energy of songs such as ‘Wag Your Tail’, ‘Shake ‘Em Off Shuffle’, and ‘Ohmies Jamboree’ that helped the translation.  Maybe it was the musical variety presented throughout the record’s ten songs.  Maybe it was both of these elements plus more.  Regardless, every moment of this record makes it no less fun with each listen.  Even more to the group’s credit, the ability of the group to translate its live show so clearly to CD, it could even encourage young audiences to want to see the group live.  To that extent, it makes this record that much more praise-worthy.

The ability of the band to translate its live show to CD and successfully so at that is a big part of the album’s enjoyment.  What the group managed to do was make a live release album on a studio record.  That is an accomplishment to say the least.  Also to the record’s credit (and the group’s credit) is that the group’s members have also crafted a record that teaches healthy living.  And they have done so without being preachy, either.  This is an obstacle that so many children’s acts face today.  That’s because kids today are underestimated in terms of their intelligence.  Kids are very smart.  The members of The Ohmies have not underestimated that intelligence.  By getting kids to dance and move like snakes, dogs, grasshoppers, and even butterflies, the band’s members have found slick ways to encourage kids to get moving.  This is extremely important especially considering the battle currently being fought against childhood obesity.  It’s one more salvo in that battle for the health of the nation’s children.  It’s one more reason that The Ohmies are deserving of commendation.  It’s one more reason that The Ohmies’ new record is sure to be a hit with listeners of any age.

The Ohmies just finished up a three-day stint at the Austin City Limits Festival in Austin, TX.  It also has a performance scheduled for Wednesday, January 8th at the West Side YMCA at New York City’s APAP Festival.  Parents can find out about The Ohmies’ latest tour dates, news and more online at http://www.facebook.com/TheOhmies and http://theohmies.com.   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.

Roberts Releases Another Fun, Family Friendly Album In Recess

Courtesy:  Carpet Square Records

Courtesy: Carpet Square Records

Singer songwriter Justin Roberts’ latest full length studio release, Recess is another enjoyable album from the beloved children’s artist.  His new album comes less than a year after the release of his most recent album, LullabyLullaby was a departure of sorts for Roberts, who is more known for his indie-pop style songs than the much softer material on that release.  That’s not to say it was a bad album by any means; quite the opposite.  Rather, it was interesting in its own right because it was such a departure for him.  Now having returned to style on this latest release, parents and children that have come to know his more standard indie-pop style songs have twelve more songs to enjoy.  And they collectively could not have come at a better time, considering that kids and parents across the country have begun counting down the days to a new school year.

Recess could not have come at a better time, as parents and children across the country have officially begun the countdown of the last month of Summer vacation once again.  The album fittingly opens with its title song, which celebrates the one thing about school that any young child loves more than anything.  And he does quite the impressive job on the song, too.  Somehow, through his interpretation of the song’s lyrics, Roberts is able to put himself into the shoes and mind of a child.  He is able to so vividly express the mix of emotions that a child feels, watching the clock and dreaming of being able to get out on the blacktop and play, expending his or her energy.  The energy that builds through different spots in the song is spot on.  It reflects the energy and anticipation that builds to that magical moment when the recess bell rings.  The song’s joyful culmination is just as wonderfully interpreted.  Listeners can so easily close their eyes and see in their minds, every single bit of what Mr. Roberts sings both here and throughout the song.  It makes for such a wonderful musical movie of the mind so to speak.  It’s just part of what parents and children will enjoy on this new release.

The title track to Justin Roberts’ new album is a fun way to open the album.  And it’s just one of so many fun songs for the whole family on this album.  Roberts does a great job of expressing the joys of childhood throughout this album, not just on its opener.  ‘Hopscotch’, ‘Check me out, I’m at the Checkout’, and ‘We got Two’ so expertly capture a child’s joy at the little things in life that adults take for granted every day.  For all of the joys of childhood expressed in this song (and others), Roberts does something interesting at one point on the album.  He takes listeners into the mind of a dog–believe it or not–in ‘Every Little Step.’  This is one of the highest of high points on this album.  Interestingly enough, it’s just as easy here to close one’s eyes and take in the song from the subject’s point of view.  One can actually see a young puppy waiting at the door for his young human friend, telling listeners of his happy thoughts of his friend.  The dog in question sings happily in this song, “I’m with you every single step of the way.”  Along the way he outlines various situations and declares his loyalty to his friend.  It’s just a happy, poppy song that again, will have both parents and children smiling and singing along.

For all of the upbeat peppiness that dominates Recess, it isn’t all high energy.  That’s not a bad thing.  It does sport a pair of more mellow pieces in ‘Looking For Trains’ and the album’s closer, ‘Red Bird.’  The placement of both of these tracks is spot on.  ‘Looking for Trains’ comes in halfway through the album, allowing listeners to catch their breath.  ‘Red Bird’ closes the album.  The string that connects the pair to the rest of the album is that while they are both far mellower than their companions, they still celebrate the simple things that any youth enjoys and that far too many adults take for granted.  Roberts reminds audiences in the prior of the joy in the simplicity of listening for the sound of a train off in the distance.  One could argue to a point that the train is used here as a central point for an allegory not about trains, but about looking for life’s positives.  This could be a stretch.  But there is some truth in this statement as he sings, “It seems like you’re always looking for trains.”  The album’s closer is written and performed with much the same sincerity and gentility. 

‘Red Bird’ is a perfect counterpoint to the album’s high energy opener.  It would be interesting to know the story behind this moving work.  Roberts sings in the song’s opening verse, “I don’t wanna cry no more/The wolves headed down to my door/I don’t wanna live like I did before/There was you.”  This single line paints something of such a bittersweet back story.  By contrast, the more calming and happier refrain of “I just wanna cry some more/Watch all these wolves run away from my door/Cause I don’t even know who I was before/There was you” presents a beautifully moving picture of someone that has overcome great pain and found happiness despite that earlier pain within the song. The gentle strains of the strings and piano together make this song such a wonderfully emotional work, as does the picture painted through Roberts’ lyrics.  His equally subtle vocal style adds even more joy to the song.  The combination of all of these elements is certain to evoke some very powerful emotions in some listeners.  It’s such a bold, yet gentle reminder that through all the bad, there is good.  And it makes for the perfect way to close out such a wonderful new release from Justin Roberts.

Recess is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered online from Justin Roberts’ official website at http://justinroberts.shop.musictoday.com/Product.aspx?cp=13368_61886&pc=6NCD12.  Fans can also go to Roberts’ official website and his official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/justinrobertsmusic4kids to keep up with all of the latest news, tour information and more from the man himself.  He will be touring the Midwest through the first half of August before taking a break and then heading to the West Coast and back up the East Coast in September.

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Justin Roberts’ New LP A Fun, Folksy Record

Courtesy: Carpet Square Records

Justin Roberts’ new children’s album, Lullaby is an album unlike any other out there right now.  His new collection of songs mixes elements of James Taylor and Bob Denver with string arrangements to make a sound that both parents and kids alike will enjoy.  The album’s opener, ‘Count Them as They Go’ is an excellent start to this release.  It’s a gentle piece that’s perfect for putting infants to sleep.  Roberts sings in this song, “Picture this/A night sky/Green field/Moon high/Soft breeze/Pure love/bare feet/Stars above/And white sheep/A picket fence/Now count them as they go/Just count them as they go1-2/Just count them as they go.”  The gentle acoustic guitar, backing strings and what seems like a piano to support make for a perfectly calming combination of sounds.  Roberts’ vocals add that extra touch that puts it over the top as one of the album’s best moments.Another of this album’s high points comes in the form of the song, ‘Polar Bear.’  This is a song that’s great both for infants and toddlers.  Roberts sings of what would seem to be a father figure singing to his child, assuring said child that he will always be there no matter what.  Again, the string arrangements add another extra layer of enjoyment.  The song is centered on eighth notes played on what is either a cello or viola.  The other members of the string quartet assembled for the record make beautiful music together as they back Roberts’ vocals.  He sings softly to the child, “I know there’ll be times/When the rains will fall/And I’ll be standing in my polar bear suit/Waiting for your call/Cause you and I/We’re two of a pair/You’re sublime/And I’m your polar bear if you’re in trouble/Please know that I’m there/And don’t forget that/I’m your polar bear.”  In an odd way, the whole song kind of hints back to Elvis’ classic song about being a teddy bear, only in a different fashion.  Coincidence or not, it’s there.  And it makes it that much more of an interesting and enjoyable song.

Roberts doesn’t leave out his female audiences on this album.  In ‘A Wild One’, Roberts sings of a young lady who is getting ready for bed and is exclaiming her excitement of her mother telling her a bedtime story.  Yet again, the folksy sound mixed with the piano backing will make it a favorite for listeners of all ages.  He sings of the child’s excitement, “Let’s get it off the shelf/It’s a wild wild wild wild one/Can we read one or two/maybe ten/then start over again.”  Sure, it’s told from the standpoint of a young girl.  But it’s something to which both young girls and boys can relate.  And parents will find their own enjoyment as it could just as easily take them back to when they, too were kids.  Again, it’s just one more of the many high points offered throughout Roberts’ new LP.

Lullaby will be available in stores and online beginning November 19th.  He is touring in support of his new album and will be at Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Lights Festival on November 17th.  Fans in North Carolina will get to see him in the New Year.  He’ll be performing at a series of dates in Charlotte, North Carolina in January.  Fans can get his full list of tour dates and all the latest news from Justin himself online at http://www.facebook.com/justinrobertsmusic4kids and http://www.justinrobertsmusic.com.

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