Friday, March 22, 2013

Rossiter Ripe With Music Lessons

You've heard the old saying, "Those who can't, teach."

Of course that's completely backwards. Those who can, teach.

For Ethan Rossiter, teaching was a no-brainer. Just ask any of the students in his eighth grade class in Massachusetts.

But the performing bug kept gnawing at Rossiter, who finally succumbed and recorded an album of original tunes (for adults) as Ethan Rosster and the Hartwells. Not satisfied to relax on his laurels, he next turned his attention to childrens music.

His newest venture, Ethan Rossiter and the Jamberries, is so farm-fresh that its only web presence is on Facebook. The group's sound on MAGIC WATERMELON skews a bit southern, with an emphasis on acoustic guitar with a bit of harmonica here and there (check out "Cake in a Cup").

As you might expect from an English teacher, there are plenty of literary references, from "Miss Mary Mack" to "Mr. Brown" (based on the Dr. Seuss tale, "Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You"). Matthew (2 years old) immediately began following along with the animal sound commands. You also get "Brown Bear, Brown Bear," the second time in two months the song has been covered (although Miss Nina turned it into a rap).

Rossiter's lyrics take some unexpected turns. On "Blue Underwear," a boy's briefs get accidentally flushed down the toilet.

Now I could call the plumber to look inside the pipes.
Or the electrician – wait a minute, he deals with lights.
Call the contractor or the subcontractor, too.
But I'm not sure exactly what they do.

I'll get on my bike and start cruising downtown.
There's a police officer. I'll ask him if he's seen them around.
Mr. Officer, have you seen my blue underwear?
The fancy ones with the monkeys dancing everywhere?

The title is a little misleading, as the song on the CD is "Cool Watermelon" and not "Magic Watermelon." But hey, what's a little bit of misdirection? By the eighth grade, most kids learn that not everything is black and white. And Rossiter and company seem mostly interested in holding the attention of a younger set of listeners (K through 5th grade). By not spreading the sugary stuff on too thick, the Jamberries hit their target.

MAGIC WATERMELON is available through the band's Facebook page, CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.
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