Made in LA Performed by Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

The newest album from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band,¬†Made in LA, is a joyous celebration of their home base, Los Angeles. Joined by fellow children’s artists Mista Cookie Jar, Andrew and Polly and Frances England, Diaz and his wife Lishy Lou (Alisha Gaddis) create a great mix of songs specific to LA as well as those that are easily relatable to children no matter where they live.

A delightful picture of LA is painted with songs such as the airy “Silver Lake Stairs,” the ethereal “Echo Park,” and the kindie rock “Fiesta De La Brea.” The title track “Made in LA” includes shout outs to all of the people and things that make LA, L.A. and contains uplifting lyrics such as, “Hey-ey we are made in LA. We come from different places but come together as one.” And then there is “Paletero Man,” a catchy tune about the Mexican ice cream man selling frozen treats from his push cart. Check out this article from Billboard about this bilingual immigrant anthem and take a look at the video below.

The tracks “Traffic” (which there is a LOT of in LA) and “When It Rained” (which happens so seldom, it’s mythical) really resonated with me after having visited LA for the first time this past February. Coming from the depths of a Chicago winter, I was really looking forward to the warmth of California. In my vacation state of mind, I wondered, how bad could traffic in LA be? And then we landed.

Welcome to sunny California! Enjoy the 2.5 hour, rainy drive to your hotel. (Don’t worry LA, I shall return some day! ūüôā )

Along with all of the love for LA, there is lots of general fun to be had on this album as well. The earworm “L+A,” the story of the 12th letter and the first letter of the alphabet pairing up, will have you singing the chorus all day long. And with hard driving beats that accompany lyrics like, “I got the peanut butter, so don’t be jelly, jelly,” it’s impossible to not sing along to the Lucky/Mista Cookie Jar collaboration, “Jelly.”

No matter where you live, this album will be in high demand from every member of the family!

World Premiere – “Eh La Bas” performed by Jazzy Ash

Debuting on Friday, July 21,¬†Swing Set is the follow-up to Jazzy Ash’s fantastic album,¬†Bon Voyage¬†(2015). Each track on¬†Swing Set¬†is at least 90 years old and found a place on the album after years of research by Jazzy Ash regarding early recordings and songbooks of African-American music. With her new arrangements for a modern generation, the songs and rhymes on this album will be enjoyed by children of all ages.

 

 

In the studio

Premiering today is “Eh La Bas,” the debut single from¬†Swing Set.¬†A traditional New¬†Orleans song that was originally sung in Creole, it was later translated into French, and is performed here with additional verses in English. The video is shot in the recording studio which gives a fun mini-behind-the-scenes look at how a song is recorded, while capturing all the joy of Jazzy Ash and the musicians as they perform the tune. A choir of children is also in the studio and provides a depth to the call and response chorus.¬†Beware, “Eh La Bas” is infectious and may cause spontaneous sing-a-longs to occur. A great kick-off to a fantastic album! Enjoy!!

 

 

Bubbles performed by The Salamanders

The Salamanders are back with the follow-up to their 2015 self-titled debut album,¬†The Salamanders.¬†This positive-thinking, Missoula-based quartet (Matthew Nord, Cowboy Andy, Russ Gay, and Antonio Alvarez) use their veritable skills as performers to once again offer up an album of songs that are enjoyable and empowering. Cowboy Andy, who wears two hats in the group, is responsible for the clever lyrics and original melodies in this collection that is billed as rock ‘n’ roll, but often has hints at other genres like the touch of Cajun in “Poppy” and the smooth jazz trumpet in “The Cat.” Parents will appreciate the messages of tracks like “Let’s Sing a Song” which celebrates everyone’s sameness and talks about the fact that even though we may look different,¬†“We all like snacks and cuddles, we all like playing games/We all like to be hugged and loved, tucked in our bed at night.”¬†The title track, “Bubbles,” is a soft, gentle song that addresses the issue of not everything in life lasting forever, that many things are temporary…like bubbles. While there are important lessons to be learned on this album, there is also plenty of fun to be had. The song “Golly G. Gus” is a great tune to sing along to, while silliness abounds on a pirate ship at Christmastime in “Pirate Santa” and in the cautionary tale about a brush with fame in “Matt Damon Magnetized Me.” Share this one with the families at your library who are looking for something new.