View This: The Not-Its! – “Rock, Paper, Scissors”

Seattle’s gnarliest kid rockers, The Not-Its!, will be bringing a series of high-octane shows to the Bay Area on September 7 and 8 and that weekend just can’t get here soon enough! However, I will settle for a new video for “Rock, Paper, Scissors,” from their 2013 release, KidQuake!. Like previous videos, The Not-Its! deliver an energetic performance that bursts out at you. I particularly love how some of the kids on each team are holding electric guitars while cheering for their respective players. It’s little touches of character like that that reinforce the band’s ability to have fun while making music that rocks!

With lead singer Sarah Shannon at the helm, the crew gives this classic game of strategy a rock n’ roll revamp with a new dance called the Rock, Paper, Scissors dance. Wanna learn the moves? Check out the instructional video below, featuring Shannon, as she teaches you and your little rockers all the right moves.

Now, put your best rock n’ roll face on and dance it out!

You can view additional videos by The Not-It’s! here and here, as well as an album review of KidQuake! here.

Tricycle Music Fest schedule

View This: “Thingamajig” – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

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We are loving this video for “Thingamajig” by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band! It’s just about as sweet as the Hershey’s candy bar that once shared its name. The band’s first live-action video is filled with vibrancy and aptly displays the magnetic connection between the husband-wife team, Alisha Gaddis and Lucky Diaz. Both are frequently referred to as the cutest couple in the kindie world, which is true, but they also bring a level of energy and positivity to their music which is infectious. You just can’t have a bad day when you listen to this band!

Listen to and grab your copy of this song here!

“Thingamajig,” is from their upcoming album, Lishy Lou and Lucky Too, which is set for release October 1. In conjunction with the release will also be the unveiling of a children’s live-action TV show called “Lishy Lou and Lucky Too.”

Like the video for “Thingamajig,” the show will be filled with brightly colored visuals featuring the characters Lishy Lou and Lucky Too who live together in a magical treehouse and are visited by friends and guests. Each episode follows Lishy, Lucky and their myriad of friends and guests as they solve various problems that come up. They’re a bilingual household (English and Spanish) that is always filled with music and dance, encouraging movement and learning through song.

So get your dancing shoes on and get ready to jump, jive and swing as the music of Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band once again set the stage for the perfect dance party!

Downtown Los Altos (“DTLA”) Rocks featuring The Harmonica Pocket

kn_2_67Bring your babes and get ready to ring in the weekend the right way! Don’t miss The Harmonica Pocket in Los Altos this evening!

This playful, dynamic duo will be rockin’ out at the venue Outer Space in Downtown Los Altos at 5:30 pm as part of the Downtown Lost Altos (“DTLA”) Rocks Series.

Get to know lead singer Keeth Apgar in my interview with him and then check out their sweet video montage for the song “I’m Gonna Count” from their award-winning release Apple Apple and get a glimpse into what you can expect this evening!

Show Details:
FRIDAY AUGUST 23
Outer Space
359 State Street
Los Altos, CA 94022

5:30 pm

California’s Tricycle Music Fest 2013 – Back and Bigger Than Before!

Tricycle Music Fest 2013 opens on September 7 and 8 with The Not-Its!

Summer may be quickly moving into Fall but the Bay Area is about to heat up as the most supreme family music festival hits the West Coast. Taking place every weekend in September, October and early November, the 5th annual Tricycle Music Fest will peddle its way through 28 libraries for a total of 29 FREE concerts featuring 9 award-winning performers (full schedule below). Think indie music– family style– and libraries and you have the essence of Tricycle Music Fest.

This year, Tricycle Music Fest makes its debut in San Mateo County as the San Francisco Public Library and the San Mateo County Library partner up to make this the biggest version of the festival to date. Christy Estrovitz, early literacy coordinator for San Francisco Public Library, says “Music unites us all. For young children, musical experiences, including singing and dancing, are essential to build early literacy skills. It’s thrilling to work with San Mateo County Library to engage even more families through music at the library.”

Because playing is just as important as singing in early childhood learning, there will be a raffle offering one tricycle to a lucky concertgoer at each event. All the more reason to skip the nap, grab your boogie shoes and catch a show!

The Not-Its! to open Tri Fest the weekend of September 7 and 8 with 4 shows!

Remember your first rock concert? Now your kids can too as Seattle’s most rockingest band, The Not-Its!, open this year’s Tri Fest with a bang! Armed with an energetic blend of power pop and serious rock n’ roll, this fashionable quintet puts the phrase “shake your sillies out” to shame. Curious? Get to know The Not-Its! in this clever video put together by the San Francisco Library and the San Mateo Library.

For more information on Tricycle Music Fest, please visit sfpl.org/tricycle and smcl.org/tricycle.

Also, stay tuned to this site for more updates, videos and music from each of these awesome bands.

TRICYCLE MUSIC FEST SCHEDULE:

The Not-Its!

Saturday, September 7at 11 am, Mission Branch Library

Saturday, September 7at 3 pm, Portola Branch Library

Sunday, September 8 at 11 am, Mission Blue Center in Brisbane

Sunday, September 8 at 2 pm, Belmont Library

The Corner Laughers

Saturday, September 14 at 11 am, Parkside Branch Library

Saturday, September 14 at 2 pm, Portola Valley Library

Saturday, November 2 at 1 pm, San Carlos Library

The Hipwaders

Saturday, September 21 at 11 am Redwood City Fair Oaks Library

Saturday, September 21 at 3 pm, Presidio Branch Library

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

Saturday, September 28 at 11 am, Half Moon Bay Library

Saturday, September 28 at 3 pm, Portero Branch Library

Sunday, September 29 at 1:30 pm Pacifica Fog Fest

The Okee Dokee Brothers

Saturday, October 5 at 10:30 am, Foster City Library

Saturday, October 5 at 1 pm, Ortega Branch Library

Saturday, October 5 at 4 pm, Bernal Heights Library

Sunday, October 6 at 11 am, Pescadero Elementary School

Cat Doorman

Saturday, October 12 at 11 am, Excelsior Branch Library

Saturday, October 12 at 2 pm, Woodside Library

Sunday, October 13 at 3 pm, Marina Branch Library

The Pop Ups

Saturday, October 19 at 1:30 pm, Park Branch Library

Saturday, October 19 at 4 pm, Merced Branch Library

Saturday, October 19 at 10 am, Brisbane Library

Sunday, October 20 at 3 pm, Atherton Library

Alison Faith Levy

Sunday, October 20 at 3 pm, West Portal Branch Library

Aaron Nigel Smith, Finale Weekend

Saturday, October 26 at 3 pm, Western Addition Branch Library

Saturday, October 26 at 11 am, East Palo Alto Library

Sunday, October 27 at 10:30 am, Millbrae Library

Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm, Main Library, Koret Auditorium

Interview with Dean Jones

“Recording can be tricky, but I think my strength as a producer is to get the musicians together and have them PLAY. PLAY PLAY PLAY. Not work.” – Dean Jones

222157_1064956471577_9924_nThe creative process can be such a vulnerable place and as an artist it helps to have someone in your corner supporting you through your creative endeavors. Welcome Dean Jones! Musical maestro, Dean Jones, of the kindie band, Dog On Fleas, has played a major role in the production of many kindie releases over the past few years, including The Okee Dokee Brothers Can You Canoe? which won him a 2013 Grammy award for Best Children’s album.

Dean lives in the Hudson Valley, which is also the headquarters of his “lovely straw bale recording studio” called No Parking Studio. In addition to producing, Dean spends time collaborating with fellow kindie musicians, providing support and lending his talents on a variety of instruments ranging from brass (trumpet, trombone) to the keys (or “ivories” as he puts it in Joanie Leeds’ song “Bandwagon“).

Earlier this year, Dean released his third solo album titled When The World Was New, which will definitely be on our list of favorites for 2013. Its sound is an eclectic blend of funk, disco and folk and Dean’s voice has a warm quality to it that softly glides through each song.

Dean is a busy man so when he agreed to participate in an interview with me, I was very grateful. In the following interview, Dean provides insight into his philosophy as a producer, as well as some inspiring advice on how thinking can be the enemy. Read on and then read my review which also contains a sampler of free songs from the album.

Kids Can Groove: Were you a singer/musician before you started producing?

Dean Jones: Yes, I’ve been playing in bands, and making up my own bands for a long time. All kinds of bands, usually strange and hard to explain. I’ve also worked with a lot of different kinds of artists, writing and playing music for puppet shows, shadow plays, art exhibits, and some other spectacular things. I love collaborating!

KCG: What made you decide to get into producing?

DJ: Well, I had a partner in crime for many years named Warren Perrins. We bought some recording equipment and just started recording our own bands because we thought we could figure it out ourselves. It took us a long time to really figure it out, though! But, ever since then I’ve really loved the challenge of recording and producing my own music, as well as other people’s music.

KCG: Who was the first children’s artist you worked with (production wise)?

DJ: Oh, well, first I started recording my own songs and then that turned into my band called Dog on Fleas. We’ve recorded 7 CDs. And next up was my great great great uncle, Uncle Rock. Actually, we’re not related, but he is great.

KCG: How did you get into children’s music?

DJ: I have had a bunch of bands (the Falling Wallendas, Harmonica Virgins, For Sale by Owner Orchestra, to name a few) and I’ve always written music that appealed to kids, but it was never called children’s music. All my bands have been very theatrical, ridiculous, childish, and fun. Eventually, a friend of mine pointed out that I was really writing music that kids like, so why not make a CD for kids. And, Dog on Fleas was born.

KCG: What have you learned from your first collaboration/production up til now?

DJ: Oh ho ho ho. So much I can’t tell you. I think the most important thing is that music is communication. If you are feeling uptight, tired or nervous, that’s part of what will be communicated. I think it’s really good to be clear about what you want to be communicating, and to whom, and then look at the big picture!!! You want it to sound fun; You have to be having fun. Recording can be tricky, but I think my strength as a producer is to get the musicians together and have them PLAY. PLAY PLAY PLAY. Not work.

KCG: You have worked with an array of genres plus you are an artist yourself. What is your working philosophy?

DJ: Oh, I just answered that in the last bit. I can say more. I like to create a working environment (even though I said it’s not work!) that encourages experimentation. Relaxed and fun, and you can try something and maybe fail at it, but it’s not a loss. Every song can turn out a million different ways. It’s a great challenge to draw out the essence of a song.

KCG: How do you stay true to yourself as a singer/songwriter while maintaining an objective point of view as a producer?

DJ: I try not to think. Thinking is the enemy. Oh, that also answers the previous 2 questions too.

KCG: How do you find time to record your own songs?

DJ: I have to go right now, I don’t have time to answer that.

KCG: How does the process of writing and producing your own music compare to doing that for others?

DJ: Sometimes I have to tell an artist that what they’ve just written and recorded is a really great song and sometimes they doubt themselves. My job is to keep them going in the right direction and making sure they know what their strengths and weaknesses are. It’s pretty much the same producing myself. Sometimes I don’t know if what I’m doing is any good. I have to play my music for other people and trust their opinions. I really believe in trusting, trusting, trusting and not overthinking. Just doing something is better than thinking about it.

KCG: You are a multi-talented artist and bring World accents into many of the arrangements/albums you are featured on, as well as your own, using a broad range of instruments and even incorporating a foreign (French) language. It makes for some really interesting, eclectic sounds. Are you self-taught or have you taken lessons?

DJ: I did take piano lessons when I was 8 years old for about 6 years, I think. I have always been a ravenous collector of instruments, sounds and music from around the world. I have tons and tons of instruments. And records. And sticks and rocks and pringles cans, and anything you could blow into or bang on. The area I live in, near Woodstock NY, is full of amazing musicians from all over the world. In the 70s and 80s there was a school called the Creative Music Studio here that Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Dave Holland, and so many other great jazz musicians, and I guess, World musicians taught. A lot of people came here to study jazz, but there was so much emphasis on just improvising with whomever you were with, and a lot of exploration of music styles from around the world. Many of the students of that school stayed here and hence there’s much more awareness of music from different parts of the world. I play with a lot of those folks in various bands.

KCG: How did the theme for When the World Was New come up for you?

DJ: I was in my backyard thinking about recording a new album OUTSIDE, just in my yard with an acoustic guitar and whatever else I could have out there. And then one of my neighbors started using a really loud leaf blower. IN THE SPRING!! That’s absurd!!!!! So I changed directions and wrote the song “Absurd” about how absurd we humans are. And then it got me on a new path, thinking about evolution, where we are and how we got there. It’s somewhat serious, but also silly. I think people are pretty ridiculous, so there’s lots to write about. I know I’m kind of ridiculous.

KCG: It has some complex concepts which I think are fascinating for a children’s album. Did you think about how your audience would receive it?

DJ: Yes, at times I wondered if it was going to be a children’s album. I had to ask for help on that. I give kids a lot of credit for being smart and open-minded. Most of the songs on this record are asking questions, not providing answers. I like sparking thoughts and feelings.

KCG: So you are a dad, producer, singer-songwriter and a member of Dog on Fleas. How do you manage to balance it all?

DJ: It’s hard. I love it. But I always have projects hanging over my head. I mostly have to take my kids out in the woods or away from home so I don’t get sucked in to the business end of the music business. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that I’m terrible at Facebook and all that. I just can’t do everything. I’m always writing new songs for new albums when I should be promoting the album that’s just released.

KCG: If you weren’t involved with music, what would you be doing?

DJ: Maybe being a forest ranger. Or millionaire philanthropist.

KCG: What is your favorite way to spend time with family?

DJ: Hiking, climbing, picking wild blueberries, and singing.

Do/Have any books influence(d) you or your music/songwriting?

DJ: Little Fur Family by Margaret Wise Brown. I like the little world she created in that book. I like to create little worlds in song. It’s hard to talk about art and music for me. I like Paul Klee’s paintings. They are not so tied to this world, but evoking something. %&** I guess I am influenced by lots of things. Just feeling tiny sparks of energy wherever they show up.

Check this Out: When the World Was New – Dean Jones

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Kids have so many questions and one of the things that I love  is getting asked a question that makes me go “hmmmm….” and then talking through the possible answers to that question. I am fascinated by the way our mind works and watching my daughter take in and process the world around her is a bit like magic. I tend to forget that so much of what I see and experience on a daily basis is something that she is experiencing for the first time. Music is one of the main mediums that provoke these questions which is why I am so pleased to talk about Dean Jones‘ new album, When the World was New.

When the World Was New, is a unique album which explores evolution, mother nature, the absurdity of human nature, community and of course, music. Jones illustrates how these elements coincide as he pensively wanders (and wonders) over topics such as how life was at the beginning of time in the title track, “When the World Was New.” I particularly love the lyrics “Well they always had music/ and they drew with sticks/ there was time for leisure/ and they could get their kicks without the tick tock tick of time.” “A Sparrow’s Soul,” a song that explores the circle of life and poses the lovely question “Does a caterpillar have a heart/ Does it quietly sing?” These questions spawned a long conversation between my bug loving 4 1/2 year old who once brought home about 10 caterpillars from the playground. Editor’s note: all 10 of the caterpillars safely made it through metamorphosis and we even discovered that one of them was a butterfly!

Other songs Emily and I enjoy grooving to are “Prehensile Grip,” a fancy phrase which gives meaning to why we can grip things like a pencil or scissors. It’s also a great companion should you find yourself rationalizing with a tot about why using a fork for those greasy buttered noodles is a really good idea (Ahem).  Jones brings the funk in “Snail Mail,” a groovy tune that reinforces the beauty of a handwritten letter. And “Outshining Nomads” never fails to get repeated plays. It’s a wacky tune about a traveling band of jolly circus performers. I particularly love the song for a couple of nerdy reasons. First, the composition is made up of all kinds of layered harmonies, whether it’s an added distortion during the melody or a haunting echo during the chorus. Second, I love how the catchy chorus “fifteen men on the dead men’s chest/ yo ho ho and a bottle of rum” was integrated into the song. It fits perfectly despite it actually being part of a fictional sea-song that was originally featured in the famous novel, Treasure Island.

While most of the songs are exploratory in nature, there are songs that send a message in support of peace. “Peace in the Valley” speaks about standing up for a particular cause against those who might disrupt peace in our world and our future (“…tyrants and despots/ get ready for a great big fall“) while one of my favorites, “Stand With Me,” featuring Shamsi Rhue’s gorgeous vocals, touches upon the idea that the future is uncertain but we can remain strong by comforting, respecting and supporting one another.

When the World Was New is an enriching piece of art for the whole family. Jones is a skillful musician who deftly creates an environment that fosters a child’s sense of curiosity and imagination. It is a rare gem in the world of children’s music and one that shines more brightly with every listen. Highly recommended for ages 4 – 8.

Clips from the album can be sampled via the SoundCloud widget below. Digital copies of the album can be purchased through CDBaby or our affiliate Amazon.

Win a trip to NYC! It’s a No Kidding? Just Kidding! Sweepstakes with SiriusXM Kids Place Live!


It’s a No Kidding? Just Kidding! Sweepstakes with SiriusXM Kids Place Live! 

One Lucky Family Will Win a Trip to NYC and Meet ‘The Story Pirates.’
Enter to win and have your child’s story acted out by The Story Pirates!
PLUS all entrants receive a FREE DOWNLOAD filled with excellent music from some of today’s hottest kindie musicians!

The giveaway will run from August 7 through August 21. Just Kidding sweepstakes details are posted at http://www.symphonyspace.org/nokidding

Have you heard of The Story Pirates? If not, then you need to! They are frequently featured on satellite radio (Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live – Ch 78) where they perform sketches written by kids. The Story Pirates are a talented team of actors and teaching artists. They regularly enrich children’s lives by inspiring creativity and essentially performing magic as they bring childrens’ stories to life. And, they just happen to be naturally hilarious! Interested in seeing their work? Enter to win and then scroll down to view a video featuring The Story Pirates in action at a school in New York.

The Story Pirates will be opening the 2013-2014 season at one of my favorite New York City performing arts centers, Symphony Space! Beginning today, Symphony Space and SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Kids Place Live will launch a nationwide sweepstakes offering a family weekend getaway trip to New York City, plus other great prizes. And one lucky family will win a trip to NYC and meet ‘The Story Pirates.’ Plus, if you are a Grand Prize winner, The Story Pirates will actually perform a sketch created from your child’s story! Read below for more details and make sure you enter to win.  The giveaway will run from August 7 through August 21. Just Kidding sweepstakes details are posted at http://www.symphonyspace.org/nokidding.

But, that’s not all….

Everybody wins! Get a Just Kidding song mix just for entering!

All entrants who opt-in to receive emails from Just Kidding can download a set of free songs from this season’s Just Kidding performers including Elizabeth Mitchell, Justin Roberts, Gustafer Yellowgold, the Okee Dokee Brothers, Dog on Fleas, Joanie Leeds, the Sugar Free Allstars, Billy Kelly, Lunch Money, Mister G, Asheba, Charlie Hope, Recess Monkey, Ratboy Jr, Josh & the Jamtones, Billy Kelly & the Blah Blah Blahs, and Astrograss.

Entries in the No Kidding? Just Kidding sweepstakes must be received by August 21, 2013 at 9 pm EST. The sweepstakes will be open to anyone in the continental United States, except where prohibited. Other restrictions may apply. The Grand Prize winner must be able to travel to New York City over the weekend of October 4 to 6, 2013, and attend the 2 pm Story Pirates performance at Symphony Space on October 5, 2013. The grand prize offer is not valid for any other dates. Grand and second prize winners will be announced on August 30, 2013.

Breakdown of prizes are as follows:

· Grand Prize: A family weekend getaway in New York City, October 4 to 6. One lucky family will win the following prize package, valued at approximately $3,500: air transportation for four from anywhere in the continental United States, two nights at the Hotel Newton on Manhattan’s Upper Westside, four tickets and backstage passes for Symphony Space’s debut event of the Just Kidding season, with The Story Pirates, plus other goodies. The winning family will also get to meet Absolutely Mindy from SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live. Meals at Big Daddy’s, Two Boots Pizza and the Thalia Café are also included. PLUS: The Story Pirates will perform a story written by the winning family’s children.

· Five Second Prize winners will each receive a library of CDs from every musical artist performing at Just Kidding this season, plus new children’s books from Symphony Space’s Thalia Kids’ Book Club and a Just Kidding t-shirt.

About the Just Kidding Series

Presenting everything from break dancing to ballet, along with planet-hopping puppetry, electroluminescent dinosaurs, and new tunes from the nation’s hottest kindie rock artists, Symphony Space announces an adventurous mix of live performance for its critically acclaimed Just Kidding series. The 2013-14 season launches on October 5th with a kid-driven sketch comedy performance by The Story Pirates, and runs most Saturdays and some Sundays through April 2014. Details are at http://www.symphonyspace.org/justkidding.

Each weekend, Just Kidding attracts hundreds of kids and their grownups for one of the most reliable, exciting and value-driven performing arts options available anywhere in the nation. Time Out New York Kids calls Just Kidding “the best concert series for kids” with “a jam-packed bill of family programming.” The Boston Globe commends it as “an affordable way to introduce children to live entertainment in a safe, inviting, and family-friendly environment.” And the Parents’ Choice Foundation advises, “For kid and family friendly entertainment in the city, look no further.”

[Video courtesy of Story Pirates via YouTube]

So, whadda  ya waitin’ for? Git on over to http://www.symphonyspace.org/nokidding and become a winner today!