As the kindie movement rolls into its second decade, some venerable performers are reaching milestones. Hullabaloo, the team of Steve Denyes and Brendan Kremer (friends since kindergarten), finds itself approaching their 3,000th live show (slated for February 26). The date is conveniently slated as the release of the band's BEST OF HULLABALOO VOLUME TWO.
Usually children's music retains a regional sound. However the San Diego-based duo have given Hullabaloo a bluegrass/country feel. Steve's unique vocal stylings and their mastery of banjo, fiddle, mandolin, and other non-electric instruments have powered Hullabaloo to a sweet spot where few other kindie artists inhabit.
VOLUME TWO features 15 songs dating from 2009-2015. "Dog Song" frets over a lost pooch and bemoans that an ad in the paper won't help because "he can't read." The mournful "I'm Hungry" lists a litany of found food items in what must be the world's most unkempt couch. "Raise a Ruckus," the title track from their 2012 CD, is a countrified rocker that updates a Grand Ol' Opry standard.
The ode to camaraderie "Best Friends Forever" bridges the band into 2016's I CHEW, which celebrated inclusion and diversity at the same time. "I Wear Pink" is Steve's autobiographical take on growing up playing with his older sister's dolls. A host of kindie stars provided backup vocals, including Peter Alsop, Dean Jones, Laura Doherty, Papa Crow, Jim Cosgrove (Mr. Stinky Feet), the Singing Lizard, Randy Kaplan, Mista Cookie Jar, Red Yarn, and Dan Elliott (Pointed Man Band). The collection comes to a swift (35 minutes) conclusion with the ballad "You Are Loved."
Hullabaloo is what happens when two grown men decide that kid's music is just as much fun to perform as it is to hear. Steve and Brendan have stuck a pin this moment in time for them – 3,000 concerts and 13 CDs – but don't look to be slowing down any time soon. BEST OF HULLABALOO VOLUME 2 is a choice sampler of a band still figuring out what it wants to be when it grows up. Or if it's more fun to stay a kid.
BEST OF HULLABALOO VOLUME 2 is available on February 24 from Hullabaloo's website, CDBABY, and iTunes.
Here is the video for their song, "You Are Loved," which features Steve teaching American sign language for the lyrics: