Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Kid's Grammy nods are in!

OK, so I’m a bit late in acknowledging the Grammy nominations for the Best Musical Album for Children for 2008. There are some fabulous entries this year. And although my Upside Down album was on the ballot, it didn’t make it. So it goes.

First of all, I’m thrilled that there were no puppets or cartoon characters nominated this year – only humans. That’s progress. And only one big label nomination!

The nominees are:

Beethoven’s Wig for “Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies.”

Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could for "Here Come Brady Rymer and The Little Band That Could."

They Might be Giants for “Here Come the 123s.”

Trout Fishing in America for “Big Round World.”

Gerard Schwarz conducting the Seattle Symphony for “The Shoe Bird.”

Without going into great depth, here are my two cents…

Beethoven’s Wig 4: Dance Along Symphonies: About the cleverest lyrics you’re going to find anywhere, paired with, well, some of the best classical music ever written. It’s a great shtick and well-executed. The compositions have great adult appeal because of the classical connection, and we get the overall wittiness. However, most of that is lost on the kids, and, at least in our van, it becomes tiresome pretty quickly for their young ears. Give them a couple of years and they’ll dig it.

Here come Brady Rymer and The Little band That Could: Hands down one of the best albums of the year (duh, it got nominated) in our house. Excellent song writing and bright compositions make for a winning combo. Even after about 86 spins in our player, this upbeat music never grows tiring for the adults or the kids. Brady’s got a pleasing earthy voice that reminds me of Arlo Guthrie on a good day. (I’m not sure if that’s translates well). All around an awesome entry!

Here Come the 123s: It’s zany and kooky – what more could we expect from the Giants? They were in Kansas City this year for the Jiggle Jam and they rocked the place. Great musicianship and funky lyrics are perfect for kids who are used to that kind of stuff from 80's-influenced parents. I like the quirkiness of it, but a little goes a long way. And some of it is just plain weird. We all know weird sells.

Big Round World: We love Trout in our house! And you won’t find two nicer dudes (other than me) in kid’s music. The consensus here is that it's a hit, even though it's not our favorite TFA album -- yet. Keith and Ezra are stellar musicians and seasoned song-writers who rarely, if ever, miss. And there are some songs on here that came from their student song writing workshops. An all-around fun album that gets plenty of air time on our road trips.

The Shoe Bird: This is a gorgeous reading of Eudora Welty’s fanciful children’s story about how a flock of bird buddies went from winging about to walking about – in shoes! It’s artfully narrated by Jim Dale who does the Harry Potter audio books and backed by the Seattle Symphony and a stellar children’s chorus. Whereas this is a beautiful piece of art, it really belongs in the Spoken Word category and not the Musical Album category, but, hey, I’m not on the selection committee. Great for kids who dig great storytelling.

So, for me and my girls, it’s a toss between Brady Rymer and Trout Fishing – both of whom will be at Jiggle Jam 2009 over Memorial Day weekend!

Brady and his crew, being the newcomers, might not be given much benefit, thus giving an edge to the seasoned Trout duo who have been generating clever, fun music for families for more than 30 years. I’ve never been too lucky on selecting winning horses, so I’ll leave it at that. Either way, we win!!

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