Thursday, September 13, 2012

Ben Rudnick Unveils His Musical Superpowers

What's the big deal about being a hippie?

No wait, that's a bad way to start a review of a children's CD.

But really, what's the big deal?

I've always had trouble with the intricate differences between "hippie" music and acoustic southern rock – some mandolins, some steel pedal guitar, harmonica... C'mon now, you'd have trouble, too.

But I'm getting ahead of myself again, although I don't think Ben Rudnick would have a problem being referred to as a "musical hippie." I mean, it's right there on his Web page and on his press release… "Affectionately nicknamed the Grateful Dead for kids." And with his 10th CD, LOVE IS A SUPERPOWER, he only reinforces that notion.

The title track flashes listeners back to the 70s with a blast of horns and the upbeat chorus:

I got love behind me
I've got a family tree
I've got love love love love love
Love is a superpower

Ben Rudnick and friends have been entertaining families in Massachusetts and surrounding states since 2000. They break little new ground on this CD, but stay true to their vision of positive songs with genial messages. "A Little Boogie" gets your feet moving, "Wheels" lists everything that locomotes and has an effect on your life, and "Chicken Soup Ballad" recounts the making of soup – from the perspective of the vegetables merrily cooking. "Scribbling" delights in the simple pleasure of putting crayon to paper, with a euphonium solo, to boot. Where else could you find an instrumental track paying homage to NBA star Ray Allen (who led the Boston Celtics to a memorable title run)?

Ben Rudnick effortlessly straddles the invisible line between southern rock and laid-back, jam band music. The songs are almost sui generis (although I'm sure Mo Phillips would have words with me if I said that). LOVE IS A SUPERPOWER and Ben Rudnick is its noble practitioner.

And you thought it was a bad thing, being called a hippie.

LOVE IS A SUPERPOWER will be released on Tuesday, September 25 through their Web site, Amazon, CDBABY,, and independent retailers.

Here's the video for "Scribbling":

And the brand new video for "Love is a Superpower":

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