Thursday, July 30, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, July 31, 2015

Jelly Beans! – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Lazy Raisins – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Nose In A Book – The Not-Its!
Race U –  Josh And The Jamtones
Right Side of the Bed – Ratboy Jr.
Thingamajig – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Turned Out – Paul McCartney

Jamtones Rocksteady, Ralph Rocks and Reads

You wouldn't think that the kindie genre leaves much room for evolution. After all, the average lifespan of your audience is 2-5 years before they "grow up" into more age-appropriate music or seek out other interests.

Two recent CD releases belie that argument. Josh and the Jamtones' ROCKSTEADY shows that you can serve two masters – the rambunctious tyrants of youth and your own unshakeable rhythmic island desires. Bandleader Josh Shriber and producer/bandmate Pat Hanlin have followed their instincts and taken the band's third family album down south for a Caribbean-flavored party mix.

The band's previous two CDs, JUMP UP! and BEAR HUNT! saw the Jamtones moving in many directions; musical Silly Putty. But ROCKSTEADY shows a maturity and certainty in creativity. Josh and company want to see kids move their "Tailfeather." Even the closing ballad "1 Of a Kind" still whistles with a reggae bop.

Guest artists include Secret Agent 23 Skidoo ("I Heart Your Face") and returning champion Father Goose, on a dubbed-up remix of BEAR HUNT's "I Love U." A highlight is a cover of Toots and the Mayall's "Monkeyman," already a concert staple for the band. If you're a Beach Boys fan (and really why shouldn't you be?), prepare to have your mind blown with the Jamtones' version of "Sloop Jon B." Adding to the chaos are request breaks and drop-ins from WJAM, the group's fictional radio station.

Parental warning: ROCKSTEADY is not bedtime music. Parental alert: ROCKSTEADY will get your kids jumping on the couch. Parental advisory: If it's a family dance party you crave, get ROCKSTEADY and build a freestyle, preschool rave.

ROCKSTEADY is available on August 21 from the Jamtones' website, CDBABY, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is a video of the band performing "Monkeyman," shot by yours truly, at a 2014 concert at New York's Symphony Space:

Meanwhile somewhere in the Chicago area, Ralph Covert is enjoying his second decade in the kindie biz with a retrospective CD comprised of his favorite songs based on his children's books, RALPH'S WORLD ROCKS AND READS.  A lifelong musician (for kids of all ages), Ralph enjoys a slot in our kids' lifetime Top Ten for many of the tunes included in this collection such as "Surfin' In My Imagination," "Sunny Day, Rainy Day, Anytime Band," (see the 2009 video below from the lamented Kindiefest) and "Happy Lemons," co-written by Ralph's daughter, Fiona.

Looking at the enclosed postcard of content from Ralph is almost humbling. In addition to 11 fun-filled CDs, there are performance DVDs, and books. And the DVD for Time Machine Guitar, Ralph's upcoming children's television venture. At this unique juncture in his life, Ralph finds himself with two older children (daughter Fiona has become a performer in her own right) and a six-year-old, which draws him closer to his source material at a time when many recording artists begin to stray from their core audience. To whit, how do you keep the mojo for the tots when your own brood "grow up" into more age-appropriate music or seek out other interests.

ROCKS AND READS demonstrates how Ralph bridged that divide…repurposing his material in a new medium (books). You get 17 tracks (three previously unreleased) as well as the story "Do the Math," featuring Tony Triangle and the Polygon Band, illustrated by Rita Roquite. It's educational, it's musical, it's amusing (the new girl is Poly Hedron, which will go over the heads of the intended audience).

It's always fascinating to watch musicians expand their repertoire. At the same time, it's frustrating when you're not prepared for them to leave you behind – as adults, we looked forward to the next Ralph's World CD and the next local concert appearance. ROCKS AND READS show how Ralph has matured and comfortably straddles different forms of children's entertainment. It's something for Josh and the Jamtones and other artists to emulate. And it's definitely something to hear and read with your kids.

RALPH'S WORLD ROCKS AND READS! is available from Ralph's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for "Sunny Day, Rainy Day, Anytime Band" from Kindiefest 2009. Hey, more than 1,300 viewers can't be wrong!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, July 30, 2015

Best Friends Forever – Hullabaloo
Coming Back For You – Maroon 5
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Free Ride Everyday  – Lori Henriques
Stay in the Pool – Jason Didner And The Jungle Gym Jam
Trondaxx Berserker – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
The Way We Gets Down – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Da Vinci – Weezer
Everything I Didn't Say – 5 Seconds of Summer
Kings & Queens – The Hipwaders
Manatee – The Whizpops!
My Own Detective – Tom Chapin
The Tale Of The Sun And The Moon – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Trapped In The Attic – Lloyd H. Miller

Monday, July 27, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Alligator Get-Together – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Baldy – Lloyd H. Miller
Closer To You – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Haircut – The Not-Its!
Mayim – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
New  – Paul McCartney
Sponges –  Ratboy Jr.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, July 27, 2015

Clouds – One Direction
Duck Ellington – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Guitar Pickin' Chicken – Ratboy Jr.
Hold On to Your Dreams – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
I Can Still Say I Love You – Keith Munslow
Pendulum – Pearl Jam
Pj Party – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, July 24, 2015

Alligator – Paul McCartney
Flannel Jammies – The Not-Its!
Follow The Drinking Gourd – Lloyd H. Miller
Ground Food – Ratboy Jr.
Mi Chamocha (Wade In The Water) – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
Show Me A Sign – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Wander 'Round the World – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ahava – Joanie Leeds & The Nightlights
Firefly – Jazzy Ash
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Mama Don't Allow – In The Nick Of Time
Runaway  – Ed Sheeran
This Little Light Of Mine – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Together We Can Fly – Danny Weinkauf

Leeds Goes Meshugana, Cookie Jar Walks Sunshine, Potty Time for Pop-Ups

The effervescent Joanie Leeds has birthed another CD for kids (her seventh). That's good news for those of us who continue to mine her previous albums (as my son does). For an added bonus, if you happen to be a "member of the tribe," Hebraically-speaking, MESHUGANA will be right down your synagogue's center aisle.

In the past, Joanie has recorded music for PJ Library, which disseminates paperbacks and CDs to Jewish children, at no cost to families. One track herein, "PJ Party," even pays tribute to the service. Her new CD features 13 tracks sprinkled with a conservative dose of terminology (a translation guide is provided, as well as a list of which songs correspond to which holiday – and when those holidays happen to fall this year).

Joanie and her band, the Nightlights (Thomas Eaton, Scott Stein, Jeff Malinowski, and drummer/husband/co-producer Dan Barman) have been playing the kindie circuit for close to a decade. A healthy portion of those appearances have been at summer camps, Jewish tot shabbats, nursery schools, and High Holy Days programs.  They are releasing MESHUGANA just in time for the palindrome Hebrew year 5775.

The CD starts with the title track, an homage to "crazy" how family life can become. No matter what, you still have "Ahava," your family, friends, and their love. A Beatles tribute "Hello Goodbye Shalom" continues the theme of home and health. The holiday portion of the album begins with the farfisa-infused "Sukkah Shakin'." A dreidel-gaming good time is promised in "Spinning." And birthday of trees is celebrated in "Tu Tu Tu B'shevat. Joanie and the Nightlights get bluesy with "Mi Chamocha (Wade in the Water)," a blending of the traditional Passover story with a gospel tune.

I'm aware of the double standard inherent in too enthusiastically promoting liturgical music. In the past, I've shied away from endorsing children's music that emphasizes a religious message in an over the top fashion. There is a clear line of differentiation between entertainment and prostelytizing. Joanie has no hesitation...this is a CD for true believers and she's happy to share the positive values of a virtuous Jewish upbringing. And there's no creepy "don't be afraid of the light" message, that I recall hearing on a past spiritual kid's CD.

Joanie is into the music for the kids. MESHUGANA is music for Jewish children of all persuasions and to help persuade Jewish kids to get more excited and take pride in their culture, language, and of course, their music. There are people who are born to perform and there are people who can't stop performing, except for short breaks to introduce a new generation. Joanie is taking a sabbatical to give birth to her first child, but promises to get back on the road in time to promote MESHUGANA.

MESHUGANA is available on September 4, but you can pre-order from Amazon. The CD will also be available through Joanie's website, CDBABY, and iTunes.

While you're waiting for Joanie (and while she's waiting to deliver an even bigger summer offering), why not drop by Zooglobble and sample the July song of the month from Mista Cookie Jar. "Sunshine Family" delivers a blast of good-time reggae with guest artist Aaron Nigel Smith. The one-world chorus dictates:

Sunshine family!
Every single one is a part of we.
Together we can help the world to see
That we should be living in harmony.

You can grab the MP3 directly from Bandcamp as well. Open your mind, be one, and be well as the hot, hazy days of summer drift on.

While we're opening our minds, something that everyone goes through is being celebrated in the latest video episode from The Pop-Ups. In an effort to make potty training fun, the Brooklyn duo demonstrate a talking toilet. Yes, potty humor. It's "Make a Puppet" time.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Dad Is Takin' a Nap – Keith Munslow
Grizzly Bear – Red Yarn
Ice Skates – Jazzy Ash
Let The Records Play – Pearl Jam
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
Poofy – Ratboy Jr.
Raise Your Hand – The Not-Its!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, July 21, 2015

All Around the Kitchen – Andy Z
All the Pretty Horses – Cat Doorman
Heebie Jeebies  – Jazzy Ash
Odd Socks – Dean Jones
The Start of Things – Alison Faith Levy
Sunshine Family (feat. Aaron Nigel Smith) – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Yawn – Gustafer Yellowgold
You Can Do This – Hullabaloo

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, July 20, 2015

Buddy – Jazzy Ash
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Deep In The Dirt – Caspar Babypants
Domino Town  – Dean Jones
Don't Fence Me In – Andy Z
Half Of M – Rihanna
Sittin On A Cloud – The Whirlygigs

Friday, July 17, 2015

Kindie Quick Hits: Peanuts for Tykes, Bazillions for Q and U

The early development years are very important, duh. We prided ourselves on selecting only the finest children's music to play for our progeny. Of course, that was the intention...until they began to crave repetitive plays of Sesame Street CDs, the Wiggles, and any assortment of other performers they heard through osmosis or the outside pernicious influence of relatives, playmates, and kindie-related social media.

It's eye-opening to watch a child cultivate their own musical tastes. I reviewed Miss Nina a few years ago and put her CD in a pile with other kid's discs. Our (then) two-year-old could not operate the CD player and was intrigued by the puppets on the cover. My wife then reported he was requesting it every day. Yes, every day. If only she had been doing appearances in Queens, he would have been in for a shock one morning.

I have a feeling he would have had similar feelings for Michal "Peanut" Karmi's second CD, CUDDLEBUG PARADE, a ukelele-charged burst of caffeinated energy. With her earnest, not cloying sincerity, Peanut delivers easily (and organically sustainable) messages on "How Are You Feeling," "Six Little Pickles," and "Chew and Swallow," the last sung in English, Spanish, and Hebrew.

Then again, there's something to be said when that early development period begins to wane, and your child's tastes become a little more sophisticated. In that way, I don't envy Peanut and her never-ending quest to renew her audiences and stay relevant. It's a noble pursuit and anyone down there in the trenches deserves support and encouragement.

CUDDLEBUG PARADE is available through Peanut's website, Amazon, CDBABY, iTunes, and Bandcamp.

Speaking of older kids' tastes, the Bazillions have released a video from their brand, spanking new CD, ON THE BRIGHT SIDE. It's an old-fashioned, singalong educational song in the style of "Schoolhouse Rock." Give it a try, it's "Q and U":

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, July 17, 2015

Brick By Brick – Recess Monkey
How Great Can This Day Be – Lori Henriques
I Love the Beach – Keith Munslow
That's Just Us (Playing Rock-n-Roll) – Hullabaloo
Together We Can Fly – Danny Weinkauf
Uh Huh – Dean Jones
Word Crimes – Weird Al Yankovic

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, July 16, 2015

DJ All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Everything I Didn't Say – 5 Seconds of Summer
Great Day – The Not-Its!
Lazy Raisins – Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke
Rainbow Tunnel – Alison Faith Levy
Right Side of the Bed – Ratboy Jr.
Stay Up Late – Dean Jones
A Who? (feat. Joanie Leeds) – Father Goose

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Animal Kingdom – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Back To The Shack – Weezer
Fill It Up – Josh And The Jamtones
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Ice Cream Man – Suzi Shelton
Look, Think, Guess, Know – Tom Chapin
Rest Easy Now – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Tacky – Weird Al Yankovic

Monday, July 13, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Groove – Lori Henriques
Hamsterdam – Ratboy Jr.
I've Had It Up To Here – Weezer
Loving Cup – Cat Doorman
NOW That's What I Call Polka! – Weird Al Yankovic
Show Me A Sign – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, July 13, 2015

Earn It – Hullabaloo
I Lived – OneRepublic
Jamaica Ska (feat. Coolie Ranx & Little Goose) – Father Goose
Lightning Bolt  – Pearl Jam
My Favorite Sneakers – In The Nick Of Time
National Hiccup Day – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Sons and Daughters  – The Bazillions

Friday, July 10, 2015

Jazzy Ash Makes a Happy Return to New Orleans

Where were you when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans 10 years ago? For me, it's bittersweet – a family vacation to Sesame Place with our (then) four-year-old son. On a selfish personal level, that was the vacation where gas prices went up 40 cents overnight and another 75 cents by the next morning. We sat in an air conditioned hotel dining area watching peoples' homes being swept away by torrential weather.

The country rallied around New Orleans. The phrase "We are New Orleans," appropriated by later devastations, was heard. And the music – marginalized by many as quaint and archaic – received a reprise, as people learned of the plight of aging area musicians. Ten years later, we are still reminded of what happened in the Big Easy. Even Dave Grohl and the Foo Fighters paid homage to the city in an episode of his documentary series, Sonic Highways.

We've played cajun, funk, and homespun music for the kid(s) going way back to Putumayo Kids' New Orleans Playground. But compilations don't compare to an individual artist or group sharing their passion. Ashli Christoval's mom grew up in New Orleans and her father hailed from Trinidad. That's one recipe for jambalaya on the boombox and sure enough, "Jazzy Ash" grew to embrace many musical cultures. Her third recording for children, BON VOYAGE, promotes her dedication to New Orleans, its traditions, and sounds. Assisted by her group, the Leaping Lizards, Ash peppers the CD with inspired novelties such as Louis Armstrong's "Heebie Jeebies" and "Hide and Seek," which brings listeners back to the 1940s in its chorus of "Never gonna find me!"

At heart, BON VOYAGE lives down on the bayou. The album follows the daily routines of New Orleans kids, including many things Ash herself enjoyed as a child while vacationing during the summers with her aunts and grandparents. "Leap Frog," "Tandem Bike," and "Buddy" celebrate the simple pleasures of childhood, with warm vocals and a jazz band that keeps your toes tapping and your head bobbing.

Grammy award-winner Jennifer Gasoi drops by to harmonize sweetly on "Ice Skates" and mirthmaker Chris "Boom" Wiser from the Sugar-Free All-Stars turns back the clock to Duke Ellington era Big Bands with "Tandem Bike." While that song nearly concludes with a crash, BON VOYAGE soars with optimism for sunny days in New Orleans in the future, for kids of all ages.

VON VOYAGE is available July 28 from Jazzy Ash's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Here is the vintage-themed video for "Heebie Jeebies":

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, July 10, 2015

Alligator Get-Together – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
Duck Ellington – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band
Favorite Book  – The Bazillions
Gettin' My Ya Ya's Out – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
It Suits You – Gustafer Yellowgold
Marsupial – Danny Weinkauf
No Control – One Direction
The Tale Of The Sun And The Moon – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, July 9, 2015

Bad Haircut – The Bazillions
Caught in the Screen – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Keep The Hate Mail Comin' – Lloyd H. Miller
Nobody's Business – Rihanna Feat. Chris Brown
Nose In A Book – The Not-Its!
Sponges – Ratboy Jr.
This Little Light Of Mine – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Backyard – Riff Rockit
I Can Still Say I Love You – Keith Munslow
Like I'm Gonna Lose You – Meghan Trainor Feat. John Legend
My Teacher's An Alien – The Bazillions
Secret Fox – Gustafer Yellowgold
Something I Need – OneRepublic
Space Kid And Banana – Ratboy Jr.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Dad Is Takin' a Nap – Keith Munslow
Germs – Joanie Leeds And The Nightlights
I Dreamed I Could Fly – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Mama Don't Allow – In The Nick Of Time
Robots From The 4th Dimension – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Super Hero Rock Band – The Bazillions
Toothloser – Gustafer Yellowgold

Learning to Love the Bazillions, Harmonica Pocket's New Video

An unexpected turn of phrase. An amusing second meaning. A lesson learned through song. If you guessed, "What are three things the Bazillions do on their new CD?" you are correct. ON THE BRIGHT SIDE gathers 12 tunes for elementary-age children and spins out literacy ("Favorite Book"), science ("Water Cycle"), and grammar ("Use a Contraction").

Five years ago, founding Bazillions Adam and Kristin Marshall (elementary school teachers) thought it would be "fun" to record a children's record. Performances, merchandise, and videos were not even a thought. Two-million-plus YouTube views, one DVD collection, shirts, and two prior CDs later, the group has lodged itself firmly into the middle school firmament of Minneapolis and the surrounding region.

First and foremost to any children's music that's going to succeed in my house are the hooks. My kids have tuned out CDs that I looked forward to hearing myself. Conversely, I won't name a number of artists they keep in rotation despite my protestations. I knew the Bazillions were a keeper when Matt (4 1/2) started to sing along during the first listening of "Q and U":

They've quickly become quite unique.
And their quirkiness adds to their mystique.
They're frequently at the aquarium
because they're quite a big fan
of Aquaman, yeah!
Hey there's Q and his best friend, U. Wherever Q goes, U goes too.

Now ask me in two or three years if Matt retains this ditty's lesson or even realizes that it contained one. In the meantime, I'll take it over another refrain of "Hot Potato." No offense, Wiggles – he'll see you in September.

The Bazillions credit a laundry list of musical influences, with nary a world music reference among the latest batch. ON THE BRIGHT SIDE harkens back to the Kinks on "My Teacher's an Alien" and you can't fault them for cribbing Beatles-esque harmonies on "Use a Contraction."  If you've been longing for Fountains of Wayne to emerge from their latest hibernation and don't mind a literal sixth-grade feel, here's your fix.

There's an institutional prerogative to foist early learning on children of all ages. Kindergarten begat pre-K. Pre-K begat Mommy and Me classes. Pre-natal education is now a growth industry. But the sweet spot is still there on a park lawn, plopped down on a stained blanket. Or sitting in a school auditorium not knowing what to expect from the act in an enforced musical assembly.  Or driving into the city for some classical thing called "Tubby the Tuba." The Marshalls (and bandmates Mike Senkovich, Matt Maccoli, and Joe Letness) reject that institutional prerogative while embracing it at the same time. We'll teach your children well, the Bazillions insist, but we'll also teach them good.

ON THE BRIGHT SIDE is available July 17 from the Bazillions' website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Here is a live performance of the Bazillions performing "Career Day":

Speaking of videos, here's a new one from Harmonica Pocket for their song, "Are You A Monster, Too"?

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Monday, July 6, 2015

Closer To You – Michael Franti & Spearhead
Everybody Out There – Paul McCartney
If I Could Fly – Riff Rockit
Mooshpie – The Whirlygigs
Motorcycle Mom – The Not-Its!
My Own Detective – Tom Chapin
Thingamajig – Lucky Diaz And The Family Jam Band

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Friday, July 3, 2015

Best Friend – In The Nick Of Time
Calling All the Kids to the Yard – Cat Doorman
Cheese World – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Flannel Jammies – The Not-Its!
I've Got Friends In New Jersey – Rocknoceros
Rest Easy Now – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Snaggletooth – Dean Jones
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, July 2, 2015

Baldy – Lloyd H. Miller
The Ballad of Ben – Danny Weinkauf
Best Friends Forever – Hullabaloo
The Bullfrog – Red Yarn
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Thinking Good Thoughts – Dog On Fleas
Yawn – Gustafer Yellowgold

Rocknoceros Starts a 50-State Kid Trek

Mom, apple pie, and children's music. The foundation that our country was built on.

For their 10th anniversary as a band, Rocknoceros returns to those traditional values with their fifth CD, PLYMOUTH ROCKERS. But wait – it gets better. The 15 tracks are state-themed. That's right, this is the first of an ambitious reclamation project to sonically boost kindie spirits across these great United States of ours. You start with "Would You Like to Visit Kansas" and traverse through "Louisiana" (not the Randy Newman version), "Minnesota," and wind up in "South Dakota."

Along their trip, Rocknoceros return to Irving Berlin for a streamlined, Virginian take on "God Bless America." It's a clear reminder of where their interest lie, in keeping parents invested in listening as well. The trio (Coach Cotton, Williebob, and Boogie Woogie Bernie) are more about authenticity than history (sorry about that, Lloyd Miller).

School is done, that was fun, and I made some friends.
But where I live, there's other kids, let's start again.
Saturday, it's time to play and they've closed the street.
Teams are formed, and they ain't warmin' up to me.
But hey I learned from the best (I've got friends in New Jersey)
References by request (I've got friends in New Jersey)
I'm right here, why second guess  (I've got friends in New Jersey)
Don't be shy, stop and say hi.

State songs is not exactly a new concept. In fact, They Might Be Giants' John Linnell called his lone solo CD STATE SONGS. But Rocknoceros commands attention for a commitment to their music (more than 2,000 shows over the past 10 years), their verve maintaining regional flair (a lilting "Aloha," for example), and what appears to be a "throw-a-dart-in-the-map" selection process. "Squeakers" is about Wisconsin. Now what's that all about? Wait – Rocknoceros has a self-explanatory song for you. "Tennessee" is practically a history lesson while "Colorado Rockies" lets the boys indulge in some reggae.

Had I learned more from music in my youth, perhaps I'd sound as happy as Rocknoceros. These PLYMOUTH ROCKERS are loading up their tour bus for songs and shows to share their lyrics and music from sea to shining sea.

PLYMOUTH ROCKERS is available on July 4 (appropriately) from Rocknoceros' website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Here is the video from their song, "Texas":