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A Curious Children's Album

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Neufutur Review

John Wakefield – A Curious Children’s Album (CD)

Posted by James McQuiston on August 4th, 2012

 

iDrool opens up A Curious Children’s Album, and it immediately shows listeners that childrens’ music can actually be well-written and performed. The track swells and morphs into something considerably greater than its constituent parts. Of particular note during iDrool has to be the absolutely sizzling horns, which are played with an intensity that is a constant presence during the album. Don’t Forget has a solid two-part harmony that further varies the sounds crafted on this album. I feel the complexity that marks tracks like Get Nothin’ Done and Just Wait showcases that the tracks created ostensibly for children have a much larger fan base than one would expect.

You Light Up My World is a hard-rocking track, tying bits and pieces of Dire Straits and Boston to strong female vocals. The track blasts past the five-minute mark, but the vigor and momentum brought by the aforementioned vocals and instrumentation will have listeners clamoring for more. This continues nicely during You Make My Heart Sing, which is a track that showcases a decidedly different facet to Wakefield.
The album stands up through repeat listens, meaning that cuts like You Make My Heart Sing and It’s My Time can be enjoyed no matter how many times a child wishes to hear them.

Here’s to hoping that Wakefield is able to craft further expansions to his sound. I would personally like to hear Wakefield try his hand at classic childrens’ songs or go further out and do tracks for the adult et. Regardless, A Curious Children’s Album is one of the best childrens’ albums that we have heard this year; we strongly recommend it to any parent of children from 1-8.

Top Tracks: You Light Up My World, Here Comes Chubby

Rating: 8.7/10

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John Wakefield – A Curious Children’s Album (CD) / 2012 Self / 12 Tracks / curiouschildrensalbum.com/?page_id=104

 

 

Read more: http://neufutur.com/john-wakefield-a-curious-childrens-album-cd/#ixzz2DN4NUicZ

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Hot Indie News Review

John Wakefield: A Curious Children’s Album – Music Review

August 1, 2012

 

By Keith Chachkes

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Children’s albums are an interesting enterprise these days. Much like most programming for the thumb sucking crowd, it is challenging to gear the entertainment value of it toward adults while being enjoyable and digestible mentally for a child. Often times what you get is deceptively clever like the Yo Gabba Gabba TV show or or the Kindie Rock music of LAURIE BERKNER. JOHN WAKEFILED tries to hurdle this challenge with is laid back and enjoyable A Curious Children’s Album release.

On his website John discusses how the project came to be with the arrival of his new son Vann several years back. Having a third child enter the family picture after many years inspired him to put together this collection of tracks. Using friends and sessions musicians from both Los Angeles and Nashville give the sprawling tracks a rich sound with styles occasionally far flung from typical children’s albums. Folk, Pop, Zydeco, Reggae, Funk, New Orleans Jazz rave ups, Rock and a few lullaby’s all contribute the musical flavors.

There is a sense of humor you expect permeating all the tracks. Songs like the opener “iDrool”, “Here Comes Chubby”, “I’m Just Waking Up” and “Gravity” are amusing and addicting for children and adults a like. However, none of the songs are strictly for kids and will be a great way to introduce children to other styles of music. If my besties could get their twin girls to love OZZY OSBORNE and MÖTLEY CRÜE, anything is possible.

John has a fine voice, but it’s the collection of great players and good singers like Savannah Van’s lead vocals on “You Light Up My World” that really add to the blend of sounds. Songs like “You Make My Heart Sing” and “It’s My Time” will recall early CHICAGO albums with soulful horns and loving vocal melody lines.

Some of the other solid tracks on the album include “Hard Head” and “Still New to This”. Owing to the word curious in the title, this is definitely not the children’s album you are used to, but it is one you should buy.

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Suite101.c0m Review

CD Review: John Wakefield ‘A Curious Children’s Album’ Gets A++

Kids of all ages will laugh, dance and sing-along in this exceptionally fun 12-track CD.

 

ByMelissa Kucirek

on Jul 29, 2012

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John Wakefield has a new fan. This writer/listener is so used to trying to interpret music and find value in the time it takes to listen to several tracks, that the idea that music at its core can sometimes make one feel like a kid again never registered. The album A Curious Children’s Album certainly does.

In the opening track “iDrool” has this incredibly horn parade worthy of New Orleans Bourbon Street. This song just engulfs the listener into this fun-world and welcoming laughs. Believe it or not, when the track first started, Feist’s “1234″ came to mind! And, fans of Three Dog Night’s “Black and White” might dig this tune.

Track two “Hard Head” features a female vocalist and may be a bit (sorry for the pun) over the heads of some toddlers. It is a rather soulful song and has this remarkable cascading piano key stretch. “Don’t Forget” (track three) is a cute tune, and has these grin-worthy parental moments. This writer/listener’s favorite part of “Don’t Forget” had to be the fabulous horn section making a re-appearance. They nail it!

“Gravity” track four has this stunning introduction that features a classical-style string arrangement. It is gorgeous. The song moves into this cheery toe-tapping piano. The song really moves into this New Orleans-style piece. Listen and learn on this one!

Randy Newman Fans Get Ready

In “Get Nothin’ Done” the listener gets a 30s or 40s type of sound. The track feels has this scratchy record sound before it transitions into the thud of the tuba. What can be said about this track except that the listener should be prepared to have fun! Randy Newman fans will like this one and throw out the to do list for the day and listen to this song!

“I’m Just Wakin’ Up” (track six) has these quirky guitar riffs that are funky. In “Just Wait” and “Here Comes Chubby” the percussion and horn section are a wave of goodness. “Here Comes Chubby” is outrageously fun. The final four tracks “You Light Up My World,” “You Make My Heart Sing,” “Still New To This” and “It’s My Time” are exceptional and cross over into even more southern rock at times.

Overall CD Review A++

Well, this writer/listener has already noted twice that John Wakefield’s A Curious Children’s Album gets an A ++ review. This is such a wonderful collection for any age and one does not even have to have kids to enjoy these New Orleans-flavored tracks. Musically the orchestrations are tight and sharp. Lyrically they are engaging and roaring with fun. Well done, Mr. Wakefield and company. Bravo.

Copyright Melissa Kucirek

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Skope Review at skopemag.com

John Wakefield, A Curious Child’s Album

July 26, 2012 | by Skope

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Inspiration, at times, is a strange muse. Sometimes ideas flow from the deepest inner well. Other times, it is some thing seemingly unrelated to creativity. And sometimes it is “creation” itself that prompts us. In the case of John Wakefield, it was “procreation” that ushered forth A Curious Child’s Album, after his wife told him they were expecting their third child. Wakefield has delivered a 12-track album rife with New Orleans style horn Jazz, big band waltz facets and mainly, humor, all in homage to “a day in the life of a parent.”

www.cdbaby.com/cd/johnwakefield

The album opens to “iDrool” with horn honks, tinkling piano and slight brush snare. Lyrically, the humor is at the forefront with namesake crooning about (literally) a baby’s coming to grips with learning to keep saliva in their mouths. “Everybody listen/ when my chin begins to glisten/ and a drip upon my lip begins to pool. When my shirt feels like its been in the rain/ and these teeth are driving me insane/ wish I were the exception to the rule/ iDrool.” “Don’t Forget” is a prototypical New Orleans style Jazz with staccato percussion timekeeping and intermittent brass fills. This toe-tapper continues the album ethos with lyrical matter regarding diaper bags and minivans. “I’m Just Wakin’ Up” opens to “mouth trombone” with bent-note blues electric. The down tempo “feel” of the song coupled with the lyrical matter of an attention-needing baby waking in the middle of the night fits well as the hazy, lazy track plods along, all the while feeling “sleepy.” Serving as the closest thing to an instrumental track is the boppy “Here Comes Chubby.” This tuba-, trombone- and snare-led song actually conjures the image of a clumsy, crawling baby as it is spiked with the lower octave occasional chorus of the namesake. Again, the musicality completely matches the mental image conveyed by the track.

 

I must admit, I approached this album with much trepidation. First, with no children of my own I was afraid I would fail to appreciate the “trials of being the parent of a newborn” ethos of the album. Secondly, I was afraid there would be no way to pull off the album without the kitsch. Wakefield allayed all those fears by pulling off a “clever without the cheese” children/adult album hybrid. Again, the musicality is uncannily matched to the song message in tempo, feel and choice of instrumentation and the myriad of genres is wide in breadth. Good, good music laced with a lighthearted, tongue-in-cheek humor about what is usually a very, very stressful period of time in the life of parents—well done, sir.

www.curiouschildrensalbum.com

 

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Musesmuse.com CD REVIEW: John Wakefield – A Curious Children’s Album 

By Cyrus Rhodes – 07/25/2012 – 01:26 PM EDT

 

Artist: John Wakefield
Album: A Curious Children’s Album
Label: Independent Artist
Website: http://curiouschildrensalbum.com/?page_id=104
Genre: R&B
Sounds Like: Randy Newman, Lyle Lovitt, Dr. John
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 9/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
Best Songs: Hard Head, Get Nothin’ Done, Just Wait
Weakness: A few Winded Songs
CD Review:

LA Based Percussionist, Producer, Singer-Songwritter John Wakefield with the team of some amazing artists, singers and musicians from the LA area release A Curious Children’s Album in 2012. According to Wakefiled “If Randy Newman and Tom Lehrer were raising a baby, ‘A Curious Children’s Album’ is what they’d make!” Wakefield had been cultivating his songwriting behind the scenes while working over the years in numerous orchestras backing such artists as Michael Crawford, GarthBrooks, Delaney Bramlett, Andrea Bocelli, Dianne Reeves, Liz Story and Arkenstone. This should be a real treat.

 

The CD kicks things off with “iDrool” an upbeat intro piece that serves up classic Americana vibe that delivers slamming horn solos, driving rhythm and rich harmonies and hooky melody from Wakefield. Track 2 “Hard Head” keeps things moving with its smooth flowing rhythm, heartfelt vocals painted against classic R&B groove. Track 3 shifts gears up a notch with “Don’t Forget” a  slamming groove with smooth as silk rhythm section and passionate vocals that flows and ebbs it’s way through to emotional fruition. This CD makes a solid first impression dishing out 3 solid tracks in arrow. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic acts like Randy Newman, Lyle Lovitt and even Dr. John and John Prine. The music itself is an amazing blend of modern acoustic folk, with Americana roots with an unmistakable R&B vibe. The musicianship of all the players involved is equally as impressive. Wakefiled brings a slew of impressive session players to the table. You will notice lush layers of instrumentation layered everywhere, from impressive solo guitar licks, well placed harmonies, impressive percussive accents, harmonica, horn section, piano, impressive harmonies all built upon a think as a brick rhythm section. But the most impressive thing about A Curious Children’s Album is the impressive songwriting and vocal persona from Wakefiled. From clever “Gravity” to grooving “Get Notihin’ Done” and “I’m Just Waking Up” to rocking “Just Wait” to “You Light up My World” to jumping “Here Comes Chubby” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 12 It’s My Turn” the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.

All songs over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line.

From start to finish A Curios Children’s Album by John Wakefield is one impressive catalog of music. The music is consistent, uplifting and extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really a weak piece on this entire catalog. The writing and playing abilities of Wakefield and company are rock solid. The lyrics are catchy and the melodies are well crafted and hooky. Last but not least the songwriting and vocal presence from front John Wakefield an company are world-class. At the end of the day  A Curious Children’s Album proves no matter how old you are – we’re all still kids deep down inside. What and amazing and brilliant concept to write an album from.

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Online Interview w PensEyeView.com

 

John Wakefield

Posted on October 13, 2012

To call Maryland and DC native John Wakefield an intriguing fellow is an understatement – the natural talent drove a Chevy van named “Buck”, is a master of sarcasm and writes children’s albums that aren’t meant for kids (more on that later). Before we talk about that album, we need to tell you a bit more about John’s credentials: The University of Maryland grad has been making music for decades, playing some of the biggest venues in California with the likes of the LA Philharmonic, the LA Opera, the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, the LA Chamber Orchestra…the list seriously goes on and on. He’s collaborated with Michael Crawford, Garth Brooks, Andrea Bocelli, Diane Reeves, and again; the list goes on and on.

 

 

Wakefield does indeed have a new children’s record out that isn’t meant for the ears of kids – he says “It’s different from other children’s albums because I didn’t write it for kids; I wrote it about them…with language and humor that’s for their parents.” Ahhhhh. Now we get it – the appropriately named A Curious Children’s Album has a lot for us adults to enjoy – Wakefield says it contains “some throw back, lyric based music that is performed very well…the sound is ‘live’…real horns, real strings, a rhythm section with opposable thumbs.” If your interest isn’t piqued, I’m not sure you understand the meaning of fun. Check out A Curious Children’s Album (at http://curiouschildrensalbum.com/) and read on. There’s much more to get into in the answers to the XXQ’s.

XXQs: John Wakefield

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what makes you different from others your genre?

John Wakefield (JW): I guess I’d describe the sound as “live”…real horns, real strings, a rhythm section with opposable thumbs. I like to give musicians the freedom to do their thing in the studio. I think it’s different from other children’s albums because I didn’t write it for kids, I wrote it about them…in language and humor it’s for their parents.

PEV: Hailing from Maryland, born in Washington, DC and growing up in Carroltown, what kind of music where you into growing up? Do you remember your first concert?

JW: I loved the local music scene in and around DC. Back in the 70′s and 80′s it was a big R&B/Soul and Jazz town. My Dad was a music teacher, director of bands at the University of Maryland for 40 yrs, and he always had classical music on at the house, so the influences ran the spectrum…EWF, Stevie Wonder, Maze(featuring Frankie Beverly) and Mahler, Strauss, and Beethoven. Oh and of course being a percussionist, I was drawn to DC’s own Go-Go music…EU, Trouble Funk, Chuck Brown and the Soul Searchers…great stuff!

PEV: What was it like trying to break into the music scene when you first started? What was your first show like?

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JW: I guess I was sort of in two music scenes. When I came to LA I started playing with some of the local orchestras. The Hollywood Bowl Orchestra was just being formed and I played with them for a few seasons. My first “band” was a Chili-Peppers knock-off named Groovestone. Playing with those guys was fun because I got to experience the iconic Sunset Strip clubs…The Whisky, The Roxy, Club Central(now Viper Room), Club Lingerie(gone), Coconut Teaser(gone)…loading congas into those places really sucked though.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live John Wakefield show?

JW: This album wasn’t really put together with any live show intention.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage to perform?

JW: Where’s the audience!? No, I really appreciate every time I get to step on stage…it’s a special thing and I don’t let it get routine.

PEV: What is the best part about being on stage in front of an audience?

JW: The anticipation…from both perspectives.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music?

JW: Humor and Joy…parenting can be tough but if you can laugh about it, you’re good to go.

PEV: Thinking back to when you first started out do you ever look back at your career and think about your earlier days and how you’ve arrived

where you are today?

JW: I usually only think about WHY I arrived where I am today. Sorry, sarcasm doesn’t always translate to print. I do look back from time to time and chuckle…I mean you have such plans when you’re younger…there have been some unexpected turns. I wouldn’t change a thing though.

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PEV: What¹s one thing we¹d be surprised to hear about you?

JW: Along with a friend of mine who’s a boxing trainer, I’m developing a fitness class that combines drumming and boxing techniques. We’ve been using some in the training of an up and coming light heavyweight fighter and he loves it.

PEV: What happens when you hit a brick wall when writing? What are you methods to get over it?

JW: I usually hit a wall when I’m forcing something…trying to make a song something that it isn’t. At that point I just walk away, the song tells me when to come back.

PEV: How do you think the industry has changed over the years, since you started out or at got involved in just enjoying your music?

JW: I think production is King right now and everything else is secondary. That’s a rather recent phenomenon. No judgement there, just an observation.

PEV: What can fans expect from your latest release, “A Curious Children’s Album”?

JW: They can expect some throw back, lyric based music that is performed very well. I think they’ll have fun listening…nothing profound…just fun.

PEV: With all your traveling is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

JW: The South…I’ve never been to New Orleans…I want to tour and eat my way through the South.

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career?

JW: I’m not sure they know I have one….they’ve been very supportive.

PEV: What can we you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

JW: With three kids, one being two, there isn’t much spare time. I still squeeze in the occasional pick-up basketball game and can be found haunting my friends boxing gym.

PEV: Name one present and past artist or group that would be your dream collaboration? Why?

JW: I don’t know, maybe Dylan, Van Morrison or Joni Mitchell…someone who I have great respect for as a songwriter…but then again I’d probably just get self-conscious and wimp out.

PEV: Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

JW: Savannah Van…The Savannah Van Band. She sang “You Light Up My World” on my album and the girl flat out rocks. Great band backing her up too…I hope they get a fair shot.

PEV: If playing music wasn’t your life (or life’s goal) what would be your career?

JW: Vagabond…or politician.

PEV: So, what is next for John Wakefield ?

JW: Dinner…there’s a great Cuban place in Encino.

This entry was posted in Featured Artist by Richie Frieman.

 

 

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Copyright John Wakefield, All Rights Reserved, 2011