Josh and the Jamtones are interested in "fun" with a capital "f."
If you're looking for lesson plans and well-intentioned meanings, go elsewhere. The band's second CD, BEAR HUNT!, has a clear message: If you set your mind on doing something, you'll feel great it you accomplish it. In the meantime, there's still plenty of time to dance (to songs like "Everybody Dance!" "Pirate's Life," and "Fill It Up."
The premise behind BEAR HUNT! is that Josh and company are going on a field trip. The expedition is to hunt a ferocious grizzly. They encounter many strange people and experiences along the way (did I mention there are skits among the 13 tracks?) and a surprise ending (no spoilers).
Like I said, if you weren't paying close enough attention, the Jamtones are not pushing an agenda of clean clothes, eating your veggies, and going to bed at a reasonable hour. If anything, the Jamtones want to keep your kids dancing until they drop. To that end, they've enlisted Father Goose (formerly with Dan Zanes) to funk up tracks like "Swing Low" and "I Love U."
If there's anything close to an ecological motif on BEAR HUNT!, it's the upbeat ballad, "Sunflower," with co-lead vocals from Josh's wife, Patience:
Sunflower sunflower grow so high
The rain helped you when it showered from the sky
Sunflower sunflower blossom bloom
I hope some friends grow around you soon.
The Jamtones came together in the late 00's as an outgrowth from Josh Shriber's Jammin' With You program for kids. The group recorded its debut CD (JUMP UP) and from there progressed on one of the most popular East Coast ensembles, spending 13 weeks as number one on SiriusXM's Kids Place Live's "13under13" countdown. In the spirit of full disclosure, I must admit that my niece is a huge fan of the group. In a twist of fate, she's also Josh's niece.
Josh and the Jamtones are making a push for wider exposure and a larger fan base. It's not an understatement to say that either thing would be undeserved. The band rocks out (for the younger set) and has plenty of time to deconstruct its future and determine if it wants a definitive "manifest destiny." Or perhaps they just want to continue having fun with a capital "f." As a popular sitcom once espoused, not that there's anything wrong with that.
BEAR HUNT! is available on Tuesday, October 1 from Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.
Here is the video for their song, JUMP UP: