Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New releases and upcoming interviews...

So this seems to be the season for new kids' music CD releases... Several of my favorite artists who I've already covered here have recently released new albums, or are about to release their new CDs. (I'm glad I'm not releasing my new album right now... Whew!)

I've been listening to a lot of these CDs on the road recently, and I hope to be able to cover each of them at some point, at least in capsule reviews if not something more in depth... But for now I'm going to just list them below and let you check them out from the links. Also, there are several other new CDs that I've received and will have to add to my ever-growing "hope to cover here at some point" list, including Brady Rymer, Gunnar Madsen, Mr. Eric, Recess Monkey and others.

Also, I have some cool interviews coming up with some people I've met up with on my recent travels, including Frances England, Gunnar Madsen, Tito of the Hipwaders and Gwendolyn and Brandon from Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang. I'll begin transcribing our conversations in May and will post those as soon as possible.

New CDs recently or soon-to-be released...

Randy Kaplan - Loquat Rooftop

Daddy a Go Go - Rock of All Ages

Ralph's World - The Rhyming Circus

Eric Ode - When You Smile

Justin Roberts - Pop Fly

Mr. Billy - Six Leg Songs

Frances England - Family Tree

They Might Be Giants - Here Come the 123s

Also, Ginger Hendrix had a major new release recently... a baby girl.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I've never really used my MySpace page for anything... the interface is very difficult to work with and it's not really the most "kid safe" environment. So I put up some very basic info there and kind of left it at that for a while. To my dismay at times, people tried to contact me through there and I didn't get the message for several months because I just never logged in very often. Whoops!

But I was looking for somewhere to post a little travelogue for my family's travels for this tour I'm doing... I like how Monty Harper posts a little about each of his shows on his blog, and I realized it would be nice to be able to better remember some details about the different places we go and where I perform. So rather than start some new thing on LiveJournal or wherever, or taking up too much space on this blog when what I'm posting doesn't always relate to kids' music, I figured, eh, I might as well use the blog on the MySpace site I have. So if you'd like to see what I'm up to, go to my main MySpace page and click the link in the middle right of the page that says "View All Blog Entries", or click the individual entry links if you'd like.

Edit 4/29/08: I've now mirrored the travelblogue over at this Blogger address: http://ericherman.blogspot.com for those of you who don't want to deal with MySpace. Also, Blogger allows video posting, so I'll probably add some video clips to those posts now and then.

Monday, April 07, 2008

David Tobocman

If David Tobocman's I Count to Ten and other Very Helpful Songs album included the song, "Home", and several tracks of 80's hair-band B-sides performed by the TAO (Tuscalusah Armpit Orchestra), I would still have wanted to feature it here. "Home" is an incredibly touching song that makes me want to immediately run over and kiss my wife, hug my kids, pet my cat, not yell quite so much at my fish, and otherwise be extra grateful for the home and love that I feel blessed to have in my life. A piano ballad sounding something like Fastball singing "Desperado", the song alone is so heartwarming that it's almost heartburning, and the beautiful video created for it, with pictures by Valerie Walsh (see below), just takes it over the top into heartmelting territory. When listening to this song and watching the video, you may need to wear some protective shielding to prevent irreperable heat damage to your heart.

Thankfully, the rest of David's album is really great, too. I'm not sure that any of the other tracks are quite as earth-shatteringly awesome as "Home", but then again, the Stones never had a hit quite as big as "Satisfaction" and they still had a halfway decent career for a little while after that point, eh?

The album begins with "I Count to Ten", which sounds like a cross between "Stepping Out With My Baby" and "Hit the Road, Jack" and has a nice message about taking a break when you're feeling angry before acting out. "Jammies Song" is a folky pop song a la Jimmy Buffet, with some nice chord breaks. "Brush Your Teeth" is a funky soft shoe jazz with some slithery piano. "My Rainbow" is another beautiful ballad, more upbeat than "Home". The voice on "Favorite Son (Every Day)" doesn't quite match the music as I was hearing it... something more like Barry White or Marvin Gaye might have fit better for me... but it's pretty nice, regardless, and David does an admirable job rapping for a white guy with a beard. "Buttons and Bows" is a hilarious ditty directed at nudist toddlers who don't understand the importance of wearing clothes in public. "Gigi, My Pet Giraffe" has some sweet melody and reminds me a little of the phrasing choices that Ralph of Ralph's World sometimes uses. "Dreamin' the Dream" is a finger-snappin' jazz tune (there is no actual finger-snappin' on the recording, but you'll want to do that when listening... and maybe throw in some jazz hands, as well). The album closes with an exquisite acoustic guitar ballad called "To Love You", which provides more hugs for my girls, kisses for my wife and pets for my cat...

David has a pretty extensive list of credits of contributing music for TV shows (including That 70's Show, 3rd Rock from the Sun and Family Law), performing and engineering on a number of albums by artists including Adam Sandler, Liza Minelli, LL Cool J and Cher, and doing session work for the likes of Lou Reed, Diane Warren, the Beastie Boys, k.d. Lang and Luther Vandross. I Count to Ten is his first foray into creating music for children, but I hope he produces more kids' CDs because the world can always use more great music for kids and my wife and kids can always use more hugs and kisses. Not that I'm a slouch in that regard, by any means, as I'm sure they would attest to, but more is always better. :o)

David Tobocman's Very Helpful Songs website

For samples of all of the songs on I Count to Ten, go to this page on David's website.