Monday, December 20, 2010

Year End Review

It has been a busy and a trying holiday season here in Miami. It should come as no surprise that, in the lead up to the several Christmas concerts I am in charge of each year, I was sidelined with a horrible cold turned stomach flu. It is something of a yearly tradition and I have started to wonder if I am slightly allergic to Christmas.

Anyway, my blog writing has fallen by the wayside as I attend to my health and the various rehearsals that prepared my preschoolers to the limelight. I felt I would be remiss if I didn't get in one final post before Tracey, Lucy and I head up to Atlanta for Christmas and then Utah for New Years.

I did a top ten song list for our 2 year anniversary this summer, and I thought it might be nice to close out 2010 with a Viral Video Edition of Singing in the Bathtub. This has been a year of many funny YouTube offerings that I think the whole family might enjoy. Let's start the ball rolling with a classic ear worm that can bring a smile to my face no matter what the world throws at me:

Next I'd like to offer this parody of an Old Spice ad done by Grover:

If you type the word "Ukulele" into a YouTube search you get two videos at the top of the list. One is of Jake Shimabukuro (arguably the greatest Uke player of all time) playing "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." The second is this kid playing "I'm Yours" by Jason Mraz. Yes, he may not know all the words, but this kid owns it!

The next viral video is from a band that has both youth and talent on their side:

Ladle Fight from Jennifer M. Noll on Vimeo.

This video was featured on post a while back. Proving once again that Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" video is a classic!

Okay, so this classic video won $10,000 on America's Funniest Home Video (yep, the show is still on the air), but it's my favorite smile coaxer on a tough day!

Kid Quote of the Day: She walked into the classroom and anounced, "My cholesterol hurts!" ~Jazmine (age: 4)
I think she may have seen too many Cheerios commercials!

Friday, December 3, 2010

You are getting sleepy, very, very sleepy

Today I have a unique offering for my dear readers. The album is called Cantilena (night songs from around the world) by guitarist Hilary Field and vocalist Patrice O'Neill.

This is a lush and beautiful album of nighttime music. The orchestral arrangements and the sweet and, at times, haunting vocals featured on this CD set a calming and peaceful tone. Hilary Field's skillful classical guitar work are the perfect compliment to Patrice O'Neill's emotive performances. I appreciated the collage style artwork that is very reminiscent of picture book art by illustrators such as Lois Ehlert or Ellen Stoll Walsh. I am thankful that children's music is still a genre where physical CD's and liner artwork can compete with digital downloads.

As a collection of music from around the world the list of languages featured on the album is long, French, Swedish, Gaelic, Spanish, Romanian, Italian, Japanese, Ladino and in most songs sections of English translation. The classical guitar foundation and characteristic tone of O'Neill's voice are the threads that tie these disparate elements together. I can't speak from experience, but O'Neill's delivery seems effortless switching language to language with ease. As musicians, I think there is a strong connection with language and dialects. She pulls it off with grace.

I don't know if I would go so far as to call this an album of lullabies. There is a peaceful quality to much of the music, but there are certain moments of expressiveness that caught my ear and kept my imagination working and my mind active.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: I have come across a few albums of kids' music that incorporate classical elements. There is always a level of musicianship and production value that can't be matched with the more poppy stuff. I know it's not for everyone, and I don't want to scare listeners off. To say this is a "classical" album would be selling it short. You won't hear electrified instruments, but you will hear some of the sweet music that helps kids around the globe have a pleasant night of sleep. I highly recommend this one!

Kid's Quote of the Day: "I saw the REAL Santa and he was really funny. He is a boy, but he had a really funny voice like a girl. And his beard came down from his face, and I said how can somebody's beard come down." ~Lucia (age: 6)

Winter in South Florida

Just a little holiday treat for friends of the Bathtub:

Kid's Quote of the Day: "You remember how to say 'Merry Christmas' en espanol?" I asked my class. "Elise blah di blah!" ~Hallie (age: 4)

Friday, November 19, 2010


On this lovely Friday afternoon, I have a review of Meredith Wright's debut album Sweetbeatz (Soulful Songs for City Kids). Hailing from New York City, with a background in theater, Wright has created a collection of 13 songs that span many genres (funk, rock, swing, and spoken chants) with a rhythmic foundation that ties it all together.

Despite the subtitle (Soulful Songs for City Kids), I bet you'll love this one even if you live out in the country. It could be the theatrical background, or the funky vibe on this album that reminds me (musically) of the soundtrack to Hair. Bassist Jerome Harris can lay down an impressive groove with his slap-bass style (like on the songs Hairdo and Boots), but there are also quiet, sweet moments on the CD (Goodbye, Lucky and All Day Long).

The songs on Sweetbeatz tend to be longer than the typical 2 min. kids' tune. Songs like Neighborhood develop and evolve, taking the listener on a musical journey. With songs like Cookies, All Day Long, My Dancing Feet and Playdate, Wright plays with the traditional, spoken chants that I recall from preschool. Young listeners will certainly respond to the rhythmic recitations and parents may just find themselves chanting "Pick the time, pick the day, holler out you wanna play," even when there are no kids around.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: As I mentioned before, you don't have to live in the city to enjoy Sweetbeatz. Meredith Wright's lovely voice and sweet harmonies put a smile on my face. The lyrics and imagery are perfect for the young Pre-K crowd, but the music is skillfully composed and well produced. There's a mix of the simple chants that inspire the wee ones to chant along, and the more complex songwriting from the theatrical and jazz traditions. That, plus a bunch of great dancing music, is what Sweetbeatz is all about. Give it a listen and I know you'll be singing along.

Kid Quote of the Day: "What will you eat for Thanksgiving?" I asked the students in my music class one at a time. "Shushi!" ~Luca (age: 3)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lazy Sunday

I didn't want to let a week go by without a post, but it's been another two gig weekend and it looks like the reviews will have to wait until next time.

For today I thought I would share a classic video gem that I've been watching a lot lately. I was asked to perform this REM/Sesame Street classic at a party today. It was a lot of fun (so much so that the 2 year old boy of honor requested it twice).

Kid Quote of the Day: The class listened to a sample of a clarinet playing "twinkle twinkle little star." It stopped after four bars when one student spoke up, "What about the 'ahpah bahpah world so high' part?" she asked. ~Lucia (age: 5)

Friday, November 5, 2010

Isn't it Grand?

Today, for your listening pleasure, I have a review of The Baby Grands' sophomore album entitled "II." This duo from Georgia has a unique style that I can only describe as inspired by the "Nashville Sound."

Though they cover a lot of musical ground on this album (from funky tunes like "Hey!" to acoustic ballads like "Goodbye" or straight ahead rock tunes like "Brain Freeze"), there is an unmistakable new-country vibe that reminds me of groups like Lady Antibellum, Sugarland, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban or The Jayhawks. Thankfully there isn't too much "country-twang" to the vocals (for me at least), but the liberal use of slide guitar and harmonica on "Pounding Heart," and "Paper Airplane," conjure up images of the heartland. On "Palindrome Express," there is a classic rock-a-billy sound that fits well with the sound of an 18-wheeler rolling down the road.
Though "II" is a musical slice of Americana, there is an international/multi-cultural theme to the first two tracks.

I love both the title of this album (very Led Zeppelin), and the name of the band, but I want to warn my readers not to let the "Baby" in their name fool you. The lyrics and imagery are definitely for an older crowd. This is more of a kindergarten/elementary school album than for the infant/toddler age range (though I am sure the lush arrangements and finely crafted tunes will get them moving).

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: By now I have reviewed music from all around the country. Each time I think I have a grasp on the kids' music scene, a new group comes along and expands my definition of what kids' music is these days. We as artists, are straddling two worlds, trying to please kids and parents alike. As an adult, you can take your pick of styles and genres that you enjoy and there will likely be a family act to fit the bill. With The Baby Grands offering a bit of southern rock and country, there is a whole new genre to recommend to my readers. A strong duo with great harmony, clever and educational lyrics, and a clear style, The Baby Grands have a lot to be proud of with "II."

Kid Quote of the Day: At the end of a guitar lesson my student and I met his mother and brother downstairs. I noted that the younger boy had on two different shoes. My student pointed out the crocodile printed on one and the dog printed on the other, "See Mr. Nick, Santo has a Sally Croc and a Lucy Croc [referring to the songs "Alligator Sally" and "I've got a little Dog"]." ~Jiam (age: 6)

Talk about your superfans! I've been immortalized in shoe form.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Fun!

Greetings all! I am excited to have a "video" for my brand-new Halloween song to offer my faithful readers today:

Kid Quote of the Day: "What are you going to dress up as for Halloween?" I asked. "Vampire Hannah Montana!" ~Sidney (age: 5)

(the idea of an undead Hannah Montana is one of the scariest things I can think of)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Trout Fishing in Miami

I was very excited to read several months back that Trout Fishing in America would be the Halloween performance for UM's Festival Miami 2010. Each year Festival Miami hosts a family act (along with the organization Sunday Musicals for Children). Having reviewed their album Big Round World, and their picture book I Am Chicken Joe, I was very excited to see this duo in person.

I worked my UM alumnus status to sneak in a brief interview with Keith and Ezra after the show. For those who have never heard or seen Trout Fishing in America, they are a study in polar opposites. Keith stands 5'5" tall and has a high, sharp voice. Ezra is a staggering 6'9" and has a deep, low voice. As Keith said, "I was the good kid in school," fixing his collar and lifting his chin, "I was the one who always got straight A's. Ezra," he whispered, covering his mouth with his hand, "he was the bad kid in school!" Their stage act plays on this opposition, and my favorite part of their show was the witty banter.

I asked Keith about how Trout Fishing first got it's start with kids' music. "A teacher," he said. "Were you and Ezra teachers?" I asked. "No, I knew a teacher who wanted to show her students that music comes from people. So, I brought my string bass, Ezra brought his acoustic guitar. We didn't know a single kids' song, so we did a lot of Beatles. We did the blues, some folk, but we didn't know what we were doing." In the decades since this modest beginning the two have developed a fabulous collection of CD's and a great, age appropriate stage show.

I was also curious about their song writing, being that the are a duo where both sing and write. "It's a total partnership. Ezra is more of the music guy. I start with lyrics." "Do you write the lyrics without a melody?" I asked. "Most of the time, If I do have a melody in mind I won't tell him [Ezra] because he'll come up with something better." I also asked them about writing specifically for kids. "You can't play down to them," Keith asserts. "They're really smart. Kids these days are really smart. If you're not being honest. If you lie to them, they know it" (he snaps his fingers). "That's why the educational side of our music isn't overt. It's just around the corner. Like when we were singing in roman numerals [during the song 18 Wheels on a Big Rig]. You can't stand up there and say, 'Listen kids now we're going to count in roman numerals.' You've gotta use humor."

Finally I asked them about working and playing as a duet. "I can't imagine playing as a solo act," Ezra said. "If I'm ever having a tough gig, I can always look over at Keith and it's all good." Keith agreed, "Just to have someone smiling back at you helps keep you going." All in all it was a fabulous show, a wonderful chance to chat with some veteran kids' musicians and hopefully the start of a good friendship with two of the nicest and most talented performers in the industry.

Kids' Musician Quote of the Day:

Funny side note: notice that Keith is on the stage, and Ezra is standing on the ground.

Friday, October 22, 2010


Halloween has always been one of my favorite times of year. I was the kind of kid who had his costume planned on Nov. 1st for the following year. As a music teacher, it means the start of a busy time learning first Halloween, then Thanksgiving, and finally Christmas music back to back to back. Even so, I enjoy it just the same.

This year I've been thinking a lot about the joys of saying (shouting), "Boo!" Kids can't seem to get enough of it. From the smallest toddler to the coolest elementary school kid, startling an adult or catching a fright by shouting, "Boo!" is an experience that needs to be repeated again and again. Most of the songs I have been singing this month have some part where the kids get to do their best ghost imitation.

There is a big difference between the sense of surprise and excitement that comes with a healthy, "Boo," and the fear and panic that can come with more frightening images, sounds, movies and TV shows that come with this season. I fear that too often adults aren't sure where to draw the line. It's a tough task, and I am constantly surprised by what frightens certain children.

For me, as a two year old, sounds (like the jingling keys in the intro to E.T.) would get my heart racing and the tears flowing. For other students I have had, spooky imagery in songs that we sings might trigger anxiety. Costumes with masks are often a source of upset during preschool Halloween parties.

Often a child's response to a brush with the scary is a strange fascination. I recall a boy who would ritually draw swirling dark patterns, labeling them "Voldemort" (this was even before the Harry Potter movies). His imagination couldn't let this image go. It took this particular boy a while to move past his fear and start drawing robots and dinosaurs again.

As a lover of everything Halloween, I really enjoy sharing this excitement with my students. I always endeavor to keep my Halloween activities and songs spooky but not scary. It can be a fine line, but it's important for a child's sense of safety.

Kid Quote of the Day: I have come across some funny and clever Sesame Street clips on YouTube lately. Parodies of Madmen and Old Spice commercials show that Sesame Street hasn't lost it's edge in the 40+ years it's been on the air. Here's my recent favorite:

~Willow Smith a la Sesame Street (age: 9)

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Softer Side of Kids' Music

On the eve of John Lennon's B-day, it seems fitting to review some music by an artist who kicks off his new CD with the Beatles' classic Hello, Goodbye (though I guess Paul is officially responsible for writing this one).

David Tobocman's latest release is entitled Lemonade School and features 10 originals plus the previously mentioned Beatles tune and the Mr. Rogers classic, It's You I Like. It's a bold move to open your album with a cover song from (arguably) the greatest music group of the 20th century. I think Tobocman does an admirable job. I enjoy the ukulele foundation, accordion and slide guitar accompaniment. I do miss the "Hey la, Hey-ay lo-a" coda though. As for the Mr. Rogers song, it has a nice James Taylor-esque vibe which is both pleasant and soothing. I still prefer Mr. Rogers simple, piano-only delivery. Sadly, he's been pulled off the air, but watching his interaction with Jeff Erlanger on the original show still brings a tear to my eye.

As a friend of Mrs. Rogers, who is the loveliest and most supportive woman, I am sure that she would be tickled to hear Fred's music re-imagined this way.

Now, on to the rest of the album... I called this post "The Softer Side of Kids' Music" because Lemonade School has a smooth, sometimes jazzy sound that to me is reminiscent of the soft-rock radio classics I remember from the 70's and 80's. With a backbone of skillfully played piano, this album features dense textures and great harmonies. Even songs with titles like "Mom is a Rockstar" or "Soul of a Rebel" have more of a Steely Dan and Doobie Brothers feel than AC/DC or Pixies vibe (like the Not-Its! or the Jimmies).

Tobocman's voice is crisp and he has an enunciated delivery that makes each word clear. With a hint of country twang, there's an honesty in his voice that I respond to. Fans of the, younger, Livingston Taylor will feel right at home. My favorites on the album are "No Time Like The Present" which is an easy swing standard of sorts, and Yeasayers which features Tobocman's flair for old-school rap.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: By now I feel like I can safely say that I see certain trends in kids' music. There are many groups out there trying to give a bit of a harder edge to the Barney's and Wiggles of the world. I think that Lemonade School bucks this trend, and creates some memorable tunes in the process. As a multi-instrumentalist and self-producer, I have great respect for what David Tobocman presents. The arrangements are dense and pleasing, the songs are tuneful and sweet. If we in the kids' music market are trying to entice the parents as much as the kids, I think Tobocman has a good angle. I hear strains of a lot of the music I enjoyed growing up in the age of "Yacht Rock." It's a testament to this industry that artists are producing music that fits into so many genres. Parents, take your pick!

Kid Quote of the Day: As we finished our class, and the children were filing out of the choir room, one small girl lingered behind. "Mr. Nick, are your going to stay here?" she asked. "Yes, I have another class coming in just a minute or so," I replied. "Are you going to sleep here?" she said with curiosity. "No, I sleep at my home," I answered. "Oh, I have a home too!" ~Sara (age: 3)

(guess that's why kids are so shocked to see me at the grocery store... In their mind I don't exist outside of the classroom).

Friday, October 1, 2010

Parrot or Pirate

Yesterday things got a little deep. It's Friday, time for some fun.

Thanks Flannery Bros!

Kid Quote of the Day: "What is your name?" I sang, pausing to point to the next child in the class. "I can't really talk right now, my voice doesn't work." ~Miguela (age: 4)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Local Hero

The greatest myth in the kids' music world is the worn-out adage... "Finally, a kids' musicians that makes music that parents enjoy too!" This was my mission ten years ago when I started bringing my guitar into my first classroom. I thought I was special, and I thought that what I was creating was rare. A decade later, and two years of reviewing fabulous music in almost every genre imaginable, I realized that the pond I was swimming in may be small, but there are hundreds of little fish just like me making an impact on families with their music.

I guess what fooled me into thinking that I had stumbled upon something unique is the responses from parents I have received from the moment I release my first album in 2002. "I can't tell you how happy I am to have your CD. I am sick of listening to Barney (the Wiggles, Elmo, you name the Disney/PBS sensation)." "I listen to your music in the car when the kids aren't with me!" "My son slept with your CD cover on his pillow last night."

When I started out, I was as ignorant of the many, many people making fabulous kids' music around the country as the families at my school. Over the past decade there have been a great deal of advances in promoting, distributing, and learning about "Kindie" artists. Shows like, Jack's Big Music Show or Yo Gaba Gaba have shed a spotlight on some up and comers. Mainstream artists like Jack Johnson, Bare Naked Ladies, Lisa Leob and They Might Be Giants have made "slumming it" in the kids' scene cool. Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, iTunes and Amazon have helped my music reach the UK, Australia and Japan. Still, each week I will inevitably hear from parents that are shocked to hear a song like "Punk Rock Vowels" and even more shocked when they hear their kids singing every word.

The sad news for the independent kids' musician is that we are competing with the likes of Disney and Nickelodeon. Their model for kids' music skips from toddlers to "High School Musical" with no stops inbetween. Shows like "Fresh Beats" and "The Imagination Movers" that have a bit more substance than "The Wiggles" still present "bands" where instruments are more like props and the sounds that accompany these groups are largely synthesized. Even "Sesame Street" (the originators of kids' music that adults enjoy) is being eclipsed by "Elmo's World" where actual sets are replaced by virtual backgrounds and digital music.

This fall has ushered in a new phase for In The Nick of Time. After a VERY slow summer, I am finding myself booked solid with new calls coming in each week. I am catching glimpses of what a successful career in this industry could look like. Yet, I still get discouraged now and then knowing that great music that I have reviewed here at Singing In The Bathtub is still being outsold a thousandfold by what I consider to be lousy mainstream kids' music. When close friends will spend $15 on a Wiggles DVD when many of the albums or DVD's reviewed here are better and cost less!

Whenever I have those moments of self doubt, I will inevitably have an experience when a parent will stop me in the parking lot of school and say, "My son/daughter comes home every day that she/he has music and talks about Mr. Nick. You are her/his favorite part of school." Would I love to have a TV show? Would I love to see my name in lights? You're darn tootin'! Would I trade that for those one-on-one moments where I inspire and invigorate young children? I'm not sure. For now I'm happy to be the local hero!

Kid Quote of the Day: As we sang the "Rainbow Song," I stopped to ask one young boy which color and object he would like to sing about in our song. "An Orange," he replied. "And what color will your orange be?" I asked. "Green!" I guess every orange starts out green! ~Quinn (age: 4)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Time Out To Rock

Today's album review is for The Not-Its' latest CD Time Out To Rock. This is a group that I have heard of but not heard until today. I am glad that in the kids' music industry physical CD's still sell pretty well. This gives me the chance to enjoy the albums' liner art. I really like the visual style of Time Out To Rock there is a sixties pop art feel that illustrates the various songs held within.

The music as well evokes an earlier time, though not sixties pop, but 70's and 80's punk and what would later be called alternative. There's a stripped-down, bare-bones approach to the mixes with a healthy dose of fuzzy guitars. I hear hints of early Talking Heads, Patty Smith, maybe even a bit of the B-52's and R.E.M. There are a couple of more down tempo numbers on Time Out To To Rock (towards the end), tunes like Only Kids Can See and Hollow tree have some acoustic sweetness. Lead singer Sarah Shannon has a clear unadorned delivery. Bordering on wavery at times, the simple, honest delivery matches the stripped down production. You can listen to this album and imagine exactly what the Not Its sound like live (not that I have had the pleasure... yet).

The Mike Brady Wrap-up:
The Not Its were a new find for me, but the sound is nostalgic for me. It's not surprising to read that the Not Its have roots in Seattle's famous sub-pop label. I think fans of the "Seattle Sound" will feel the same pang for a time when music was simpler, maybe a bit rough around the edges but no auto-tune necessary. The title on this one says it all. If you are looking for a little "Time Out To Rock," look no further!

My Oprah Moment:
I am pleased to announce the winner today of Singing in the Bathtub's first CD giveaway. The lesson I learned was that I made this whole business needlessly complicated. Long story short, I numbered the entries as they came in, and using a random number generator Jenni was chosen! I will contact the winner directly... but wait there is more!

Many of the submissions I received asked about MY music and not Brian Vogan who so kindly offered his CD for this contest. So here is my Oprah moment. I am going to give a free copy of People, Places and Things to everyone who entered! "You get a CD, and you get a CD, and you get a CD!" It's not a car, or a ride to Australia on John Travolta's jet, but I hope all my loyal readers enjoy! I'll follow up with all the contestants to find shipping addresses etc. Thanks for entering!

Kid Quote of the Day: "How'd you do that?" Garrett asked as I started putting stamps on my students' hands. "Well, I open my ink pad, I put ink on my stamp, and I stamp it down, voila!" I replied as I put a red apple stamp on his hand. "How'd you do that?" ~Garrett (age: 3)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Going off the List

Today I have an unsolicited review of a book/CD that I stumbled upon while playing for a class of Toddlers at my home base of Plymouth Preschool. It's a common occurrence that I catch the tail end of circle time as I travel from room to room singing for the wee ones. This week, I happened to be visiting a particularly tearful crew of toddlers, but as I entered the room I was amazed to see and hear them completely engaged in listening to a story, and the funky beat coming from the CD player got me bopping into the room.

The Book is called Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. Both the illustrator and the author/singer who created this picture book are new to me. The author/composer is Eric Litwin and the illustrator is James Dean (I'm sure he's heard all kinds of foolish comments about his famous namesake so I'll spare you).

As I mentioned before the music that accompanies this tale of a cat and his shoes is funky and fun. Litwin's voice has a bit of the scratchy, easy delivery of Dan Zanes which was my first guess, but with a decidedly more 70's soul vibe. There is an simple, predictable pattern to the story and a repeating refrain that is easy for even the youngest to grab onto (the toddlers weren't singing along but given a month or too). The story is reminiscent of Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh, but with a bit more whimsy and a cat as the hero not the antagonist. Again, I didn't know of Eric Litwin before hearing this book, but I can only imagine that his other kids' music is great. He has performances around NY (including Lincoln center) and impressive education credentials. This NY Times Best Seller is a feather in his cap to boot.

As for the illustrations, James Dean captures the whimsy and humor of Litwin's music. I have to make comparisons with one of my favorite illustrators, Chris Raschka who also has a thing for cats. There is the same simplicity balanced by expressiveness that I love. I also get hints of George Rodrigue, but that's what happens when you paint an animal blue.

the Mike Brady Wrap-up: I guess this marks Singing in the Bathtub's first official book review. I couldn't have anticipated writing about this book, but I couldn't pass up this opportunity to share this great book with my faithful readers (my stack of CD submissions will have to wait another week).

This book incorporates so many elements that I search for when I am planning curriculum for preschoolers, a strong central concept (colors), an enticing lead character (the sly shoe-wearing cat), rhythmic and predictable language, and great music to boot! If you don't have it in your library, you should.

Kid Quote of the Day: I was in the choir room about to start singing The Dinosaur Song. I had passed out my paper dinosaur puppets, and I had taught the kids when to shout "Oh!" I started the song when I heard this comment from the Peanut Gallery, "That's the song the man sings on my D-D-D (CD)." ~Gabby (age: 4) my only response was... "Yeah, I think I know that guy!"

CD Giveaway Update: Last week I posted a free CD giveaway of Brian Vogan's latest album Sing a Little Song. I spelled out the parameters for entering the contest and waited for the submissions to roll it... Wah, wah, waaaaah. ZERO people entered! Each time I visit my blog I am blown away by reading the traffic feeder I see visitors from across the country and around the globe from Zimbabwe to Australia. I haven't had a harder time giving away free stuff since my last garage sale. If I didn't state it clearly enough before I really love this CD, you will two! I am officially amending my rules for entry into the contest and extending the deadline to enter:

Please send an email with the answer to ONE of the following questions to:

1) From what city does Brian Vogan hail?
2) How many CD's has he recorded and what are they called?
3) What was his most recent Facebook update?

If no one enters before next week, I am giving it to my sister's family nepotism be damned!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Sing a Little Song

I was looking through my list of yet-to-be-reviewed CD's which always makes my head spin a bit. I wasn't sure what I'd pick up to pop in and play, but then I remembered that I received not one but two copies of Brian Vogan's latest release Sing a Little Song with a kindly note that read "Free Giveaway CD!! :)" This made me excited since this will be a first for Singing in the Bathtub. Details on the giveaway will be at the end of this post....

I was immediately drawn to this CD's Eric Carle-esqe cut-out style illustrations. Upon listening to it, I was pleased to hear that the music captures a similar cheerful mood. At it's core this album has a solid folk-rock sound. It ranges from more traditional acoustic songs like "How to Fly" to tunes like "Wash Your Hands" with a harder edge, and even some Elvis-inspired, blues ("One Tiny Little Frog") for good measure.

Vogan's voice is deep and dry and whether harmonizing with himself or with his "Good Buddies" (as he calls his back up band) this CD features some great vocal performances. "Tow Truck" is entirely a cappella but you won't miss the instruments! For my money, "Cross The Street" is the best tune on the album, it has a nice, almost hypnotic, groove and some tasty vintage keyboards and chiming guitars. There are even some street sound effects to get those little imaginations churning.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: Both Tracey and I were trying to figure out how to describe Brian Vogan, or whom his music reminded us of. I hear hints of alt-rock groups like Magnetic Fields or Wilco. Every now and then, his voice reminds me of They Might Be Giants. A lot of care and thought went into the production of this album. Each song has it's own vibe and the arrangements are dense, but not overwhelming. The imagery and lyrics are perfect for the preschool/elementary crowd and leave you with a smile. All around, it's been a nice way to spend an early Friday evening listening to Sing a Little Song!

On to the good stuff...
As I mentioned this is Singing in the Bathtub's inaugural CD giveaway. I have participated in giveaways from the other end, so I will try and learn from other blogs who have raffled off my music. In order to be entered into the drawing please send an email to:

Your email should include your name and address and the answer to the following questions (which can be found on Brian Vogan's website):

1) In what city does Brian Vogan live?
2) How many albums has he released and what are they called?
3) What was written in his latest Facebook
update? (you can "Like" him too)

Again, this is the first time we've done a giveaway so I'll have to see how many entries I receive. I will post the winner and describe the selection process in my next post. Stay tuned!

Kid Quote of the Day: "How come your chin hair is golden Mr. Nick?" ~Brady (age: 4) "I guess that's just how it grows," I replied.

Friday, September 3, 2010

...and we're back!

Well, the leisurely summer evaporated into that busy, new-school-year time. The dust is settling, my various school schedules are falling to place, my fall concert season is filling up, so it's time to get back to some good ole fashioned BLOGGING!

Since my last post Singing in the Bathtub has celebrated it's two year birthday! Looking back on the many exciting stories, album reviews and adventures that these two years have brought, I feel proud of this little blog that could. My shelves are stocked with so much great music, and my view of the world of kids' music has changed forever. Hopefully my readers are enriched with great new music as well, and the artists featured here are reaping the rewards.

One of my first posts was a top ten list of kids' music albums. Much of the music I featured in this list was from my own childhood (a good place to start). Have, since, discovered so many new artists and groups that I think it is time to do an updated top ten:

Singing in the Bathtub Top Ten Kids' Song 2008-2010

10) Where's the Music? ~Medeski, Martin and Wood
this album made it to my last top ten, but this song has become a staple in my classroom.

9) Educated Kid ~The Hipwaders
Seeing Tito and the Hipwaders perform this live at Kindiefest, and hearing the inspiration behind it gave me a new love for this tune.

8) This Is Your Body ~Baze and His Silly Friends
Raunchy blues/rock and sweet harmonies are what put this track on my list.

7) Time Goes ~King Pajama
Certain songs make my arm hair stand up. Jason's sweet piano playing and Nina's soulful voice get me everytime.

6) See You On The Moon ~Great Lake Swimmers
This is a cross-over hit from these Canadian alt-rockers. It was featured in a Honda commercial.

5) Walk Tall ~Ziggy Marley (feat. Paul Simon)
I feel like there's not much more to say than Paul Simon AND Ziggy Marley... c'mon!

4) New Shoes ~Recess Monkey
Anyone who knows me well knows my obsession with shoes. I recall sleeping with my brand new Air Jordans when I was 13. This song hits a sweet spot with yours truly.

3) Cool To Be Uncool ~The Jimmies
Another track from the original top ten. I love this song even if I only get to break out my jackets and sweaters 1-2 weeks out of the year here in SoFLo.

2) Superhero ~Tim and the Space Cadets
This song has a bit of an unfair advantage. The thing that really sold me on this one is the amazing video that Tim and the Space Cadets created on the streets of Brooklyn.

1) Let's Start Dancing ~The Flannery Brothers
This was a tough choice. It was between this one and The Flannery Bro's "The Wake-Up Song." I wasn't able to find a link to the latter so please enjoy!

Well that's the list folks. Please follow the links, sample the tunes and download them liberally. For just about $10 you could have an amazing mix of all these great tunes.

Kid Quote of the Day: "Mr. Nick why aren't you wearing the same clothes you were last time?" Arianna asked as we played with snap blocks in her classroom. "Well, it's a new day and I am wearing new clothes," I replied. "Okay friends, It's time to go to our music class," Mrs. Howell announced. "You better go get on your music clothes Mr. Nick!" ~Arianna (age: 4)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Compilation Nation

Today I have two compilation CD's up for review. Unless you're brand new to the world of kids' music the names Laurie Berkner and Putumayo should ring a bell (if not make you start singing "Pig on your head" or start dancing the tango). Let's start off with "The First Ever Greatest Hits CD to Hit the Kindie Music Scene."

The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band: It is an encouraging sign when a heavy hitter in the kids' music industry like Laurie Berkner has the fans, the material and the gumption to make a greatest hits album. Over the past 13 years Laurie and her band have been steadily making music and gaining national acclaim for her songs. That's more than enough time for her core audience to "graduate" onto more mature musical selections (High School Musical, Justin Beiber?). That is why this "best of" collection is such a birlliant idea. Reintroduce the up and coming toddlers and preschoolers to music that was recorded before they were born.

I was mildly amused to see this CD billed on Laurie's website as "The First Ever Greatest Hits CD to Hit the Kindie Music Scene." It is kind of like the Kindie myth of the "Kids' musician who FINALLY makes music that both kids and parents enjoy." I think that Raffi and Sesame Street might have planted their flag first (in the early 80's), but for the young families of today I'll give it to her. Fans of Laurie will not be disappointed. All of her classic hits are included ("Bumble Bee (Buzz Buzz)," "Rocketship Run," "Pig on her Head," and my favorite "We are the Dinosaurs")
. Newbies to the Laurie Berkner Band will have all her hits in one easy CD.

Putumayo- Rock & Roll Playground: Whether you are eight months old, or 80, there is something in the Putumayo collection for you. Putumayo's main focus is creating great compilations of world music with a different genre for each CD. They have adult compilations as well as "playground" CD's specifically for the younger crowd.

If you have ever said, "I really love Latin music, but I wouldn't know what CD to buy," there is a Putumayo CD for you. This particular collection gathers some of the biggest names in kids' music these days and puts them together in a rocking collection of fun songs that the whole family will enjoy. Fans of the Bathtub will recognize Dan Zanes, Bill Harley, Roger Day and Rhythm Child. It's a who's who of kids' music stars.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: The compilation CD is going the way of the dodo in the iPod age. Once an easy way for record labels to profit on music they already own, the compilation CD is a useful way for a listener to be exposed to a lot of new music without buying CD after CD. These days it's easy to buy music a song at a time, but if you're hoping to expand your collection of kids' music these two CD's will fit the bill.
Laurie Berkner has been rocking the Kindie scene for over a decade. Having a greatest hits CD seems like the cherry ontop of her musical sundae. Putumayo has lots of compilations for listeners to enjoy. Rock and Roll Party is close to my heart because it features so many great artists in the kids' scene these days (many that have been featured here). If you're looking to mix things up a bit, and enjoy some great music, give 'em a spin.

Kid's Quote of the Day: "The accent mark goes on the top of the bottom" Henry (age: 5)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Tiny Cool

Today's album up for review is Princess Katie and Racer Steve's latest CD, "Tiny Cool." The genre name "Kindie" is getting more traction these days. My dad sent me an article on the local CBS station's website up in Boston using the term. I bring this up because, Princess Katie and Racer Steve might have the "Kid" part down, but there is nothing "Indie" about this album.

They have their personas down, the music is slickly produced, and the artwork for this CD and their website reminds me of a lot of the newer cartoons on Nickelodeon. Is it only a matter of time?

Racer Steve is billed as the "Eddie Van Halen of Kids' Music" I don't hear it personally, but I do feel that fans of the Go-Go's would really get into these two. I was playing the "who does she sound like?" game with Princess Katie's voice and it was my lovely wife who brought up Belinda Carlisle. That's it!

This album runs the gambit musically. There is a decidedly Latin influence on tunes like "Clelia's Party" and "The Rock Bossa." They dip their toe in the funk hot tub a bit in the title track. My favorite part of this album are the horns. They are expertly played and arranged. Two words: Bari Sax! They throw in a skit here and there which I always like.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: In the article my dad sent to me, they reported that sales of kids' music was up 40% from 2007 to 2008! Just in the blog alone, I have highlighted loads of artists trying to make the scene. In the case of Princess Katie and Racer Steve, here are two folks that are bringing a bit of Hollywood glitz and glamour to a traditionally grass-roots musical genre.

Kid's Quote of the Day:
"I have a lots of mojito bites" ~anonymous (age: 4) quoted from Facebook (thanks Charmaine!)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

A Mother's Day Post (On The Heels of Father's Day)

Faithful readers of Singing in the Bathtub might begin to notice that I have one fan who out shines them all with her faithful devotion and thoughtful comments. An album review or a random musing is not complete until it is christened by my dear mother, Anne.

My singing voice, my love of music, my career in the field of early childhood education and many of my lesson plans can be attributed to her influence (also, some may say, my good looks!).

When I was just knee-high to a grasshopper, I attended the Congregational Church Nursery School in Westborough, MA. At the time my mother worked as an assistant teacher to defray the tuition, but by the time my younger sister and I were in elementary school she went on to be the director of the school.

(Here is the class of '83, can you pick me out?)

Sadly, this year the church decided to close the school down, and my Mother, for the first time in almost 30 years, will no longer be passing her wisdom and love onto a new crop of preschoolers come the fall. Though all good things must come to an end, I feel grateful that I can pick up this mantel and continue the work that we both feel so passionate about. And with each new post that I add to this blog, I will keep watching and waiting to see my comment counter read "1 comment."

Kid Quote of the Day: "Nicholas, do you want to say the Pledge of Allegiance?" Anne asked her two year old son. As they came to the end of her prompting him to recite each line she said, "One nation under God..." "No, Jesus!" ~The Wee Nick (age: 2 transcribed from an audio cassette)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What does it take to make YOU shake?

Every now and then I come across a kids' song that is so simple, so elegant, so perfect that I have to say, "Why didn't I think of that?" This happened when I popped in The Flannery Brothers latest CD, Love Songs for Silly Things:

This album kicks off with "Let's Start Dancing" which asks the seminal question, "What does it take to make you shake?" A bit like the classic Sly and Family Stone song, "Dance to the Music," each of the instruments is introduced and as the beat grows so did my smile.

This album features the classic keyboard sounds of Dan Flannery, the acoustic guitar strumming of his brother Mike, and the sweet harmonies that come when family members band together. They capture the child-like humor and point of view on songs like "Broccoli Yet," "Best Pillow In The World," and "One Wasn't Enough." The music is light-hearted and funky, simple and unadorned and features some great Doo-Wop-esque vocals (one of the brothers has a nice deep bass voice). The liner is full of funny images, like the band paddling a canoe with their instruments. I'm glad to see them encouraging safety with their life jackets on, but those poor instruments will never be the same. Somewhere there is a picture of me and my brother flying like superman just like Mike and Dan on the cover!

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: Funny, funky and full of vegetable references, Love Songs for Silly Things is a great collection of songs. There is an effortless quality to both the song writing and the production of this album that makes it feel like you're hanging out with Mike and Dan while they jam in the living room. If you're ready to "Jump Up and Down," while you eat your veggies, I highly recommend Love Songs for Silly Things!

Kid Quote of the Day: "Nicolas was my boyfriend, but now we broke up," Alanna said with a small pout. "What does that mean?" I asked. "When I asked if he wanted to play Sleeping Beauty, he stuck out his tongue and ran away." ~Alanna (age: 4)

Friday, June 11, 2010

I'm bwasting off into psace!

Let me start off by explaining the title of this post. My second year teaching I met a boy with a most unusual speech impediment. The "W" substitution for an "L" is pretty common at 4 years old, but he also inverted "S" and "P" whenever they were put together. I'd be playing on the rug with several students when I would hear a gravely little voice shout, "I'm bwasting off into psace!" and see him dart across the room. I think about it to this day when I see/hear/read anything about space. Tracey and I affect this impediment every now and then. It's fun. You should try it!

What does this have to do with kids' music you might ask? Well, today for your consideration I have a review of Recess Monkey's latest album: The Final Funktier

It's a bit hard to tell online, but this album has a snazzy foil embossing for the disco ball and title. Pretty cool! Recess Monkey is a Seattle based trio of elementary school teachers. Those who read my review of their last album Field Trip, will know that these guys love a concept album. This CD takes that concept into the stratosphere (puns intended). Funky beats and spacey references abound on this CD.

Like every good rocket ship ride, this album starts with a countdown in the song Liftoff which leads into the funkiest track on the album, Moon Boots. There are lots of sound effects and scratchy radio voices to get those little imaginations going. Recess Monkey has a knack for coming up with great hooks with easy words (lots of ba ba ba's, do do do's and sha na na's). Be prepared to get some of the songs stuck in your head and find yourself humming them in the grocery store (maybe that's just me).

When I played The Final Funktier in my classroom there was a whole lot of shakin' goin' on. The kids really liked Ukulalien since they are familiar with my Ukulele. I really liked the humuhumunukunukuapua'a reference (look it up). Jet Pack was also a big hit. The radio drama-esque Space Elevator Music is a funny intermission featuring effortlessly funny Jack Foreman conversing with the "band manager" Mayor Monkey, or MayMo for short.

I am fortunate to have some footage of RM playing Moon Boots featuring kids' music guru Tor Hyams:

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: It's no secret that I love Recess Monkey. Their music is great, the fact that they are teachers shows that they have their thumb on the pulse of what's going on in your average elementary school kid's mind, and they are genuinely nice guys who put on a great show. I'm sure if you give The Final Funktier a listen, you'll agree. RM really outdid themselves on the production, concept and design of this album. A lot of care went into this one and it shows.

Kid Quote of the Day: You guessed it: "I'm bwasting off into psace!" ~Alexander (age: 4)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Razoo! is Candian for Dance Party

School is winding down, the "armpit" weather has settled in over SoFlo and it's about time I started tackling the pile of CD's that followed me home from Kindiefest. I'm going to kick things off with a review of Splash n' Boots' new CD, Razoo!

I met this husband and wife team on my first day at Kindiefest. From the great white north, these two are making a splash (pun intended) as "Canada's Children's Music Group of the Year!"

Razoo! is a fun and tuneful collection of songs. Nick and Taes harmonize well together, and Nick's acoustic guitar lays the foundation for the rich arrangements on the CD (including everything from accordion to vibroslap).

I popped the CD in on the ride home from the airport and Tracey's first comment while listening to the song "Nature Sings" was, "This sounds like Rent." There is a theatrical quality to Splash n' Boots' music, and a beautiful choir backing them up. I am partial to some of their more rollicking songs like "Morning," "Razoo!" and "Barnyard Hardcore." This is music that puts a bounce in your step and makes you want to dance.

Okay... now for my obligatory Canadian jokes. Nick and Taes prove the old addage that Canadians are like Americans but more polite. It's fitting that in their "Superhero" song he is "generous and polite." It also made me smile to read in their liner notes, "We can't thank you enough... well one more wouldn't hurt- Thank You!!!!!!"

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: I played Razoo! for my after school class and it was a big hit. Sadly with this young crowd, it's hard to illicit comments beyond "I like it," or "It is good." I miss the elementary aged reviewers from the Arts Academy. I did however manage to have the kids sit down and draw some pictures based on the music they heard. This particular drawing was from a 5 year old girl who loved the song "Nature Sings." She took the time to learn how to write both Nick and Taes's names which is high praise from a 5 year old!

It was nice to meet Splash n' Boots and to listen to Razoo! On a rainy summer day, when it's too wet to play outside you and your family might wanna join the Razoo, which I think is Canadian for "Dance Party."

Kid Quote of the Day: "Here you go Henry. This is the sound we're after," I said as I played through Henry's piano piece. "You mean you are chasing a sound?" ~Henry (age: 5)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trust me, Kids do say "The Darndest Things"

We here in the Bathtub are saddened to learn of the passing of Art Linkletter. His iconic television program, "Kids Say the Darndest Things," pioneered the concept that children have a unique and humorous point of view at a time when children were expected to be seen and not heard. Faithful readers will recall the Ernie Ford video I posted a month ago. His nose-pinching disapproval of his young, scene-stealing friend is in stark contrast to Art's genuine interest in what "Art's Kids" had to say (I'll even forgive him for the backwards "S" which, as a teacher, makes my spine tingle). There would be no "Kid Quote of the Day" without Art. He will be missed!

Kid Quotes of the Day:

Thursday, May 20, 2010

I Don't Think Einstein Was That Great of a Musician

I have never really been a fan of the name "Baby Einstein." Shouldn't it be something more like "Baby Beethoven?" I guess the Einstein reference is a veiled suggestion that it will make your baby smart. Recent research showing the negative effects of TV on infants also sort of negates the "Baby" part as well. What I do like about Baby Einstein is that it exposes young children (of appropriate age) to classical music. I've had many surprising moments in lessons where a child will pull out a bit of musical knowledge cited from Baby Einstein.

Classical music is fading from our culture. It is challenging, and often expensive to stage, but sadly misunderstood by many and not valued as it should be. That is why I am happy to review a new CD from the guitar and flute duo Keith Torgan and Barbara Siesel.

Green Golly & Her Golden Flute
performing as "Flute Sweet and Tickletoon" Green Golly and Her Golden Flute is part fairy tale part classical concert. The first half is the beautifully told/performed tale of Green Golly and her golden flute. The tale is loosely based on Rapunzel, and both Torgan and Siesel have a delightful and dramatic delivery. The various classical melodies that are woven through the story are sweet compliment to the dialog.

As for the second half, the CD also contains ten tracks of wonderfully performed classical selections adding Jessica Krash on the piano. It's a varied and engaging selection of pieces. Siesel's flute playing is sweet, but this is not a CD of lullabies. Tunes like "Flight of the Bumblebee," and "Habanera" add a bit of excitement and showcase some fleet fingering from both Krash and Siesel.

The Mike Brady Wrap-up: Studies may show that infants watching DVD's like "Baby Einstein" has a negative effect on brain development, but it is never too early to expose your children to the joys of classical music. It might be going overboard to put earphones up to a pregnant belly, but playing a lovely album like "Green Golly and Her Golden Flute" for your little ones is a great idea. The selections range from the well known to the more obscure, but they are all enjoyable. Even if you are not knowledgeable about classical music, this CD is an easy choice.

Kid Quote of the Day: "Why do I have to learn cursive when I'll never use it after 5th grade?" ~Luka (age: 8) to be honest I had no good response!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Five Short Articles about Kindiefest

It's taken me a week, but I am finally sitting down to write about Kindiefest. For the uninitiated, Kindiefest is a festival/conference for the Kids' Music industry. Kindiefest kicked off last Friday in Brooklyn NY. I flew in from Florida and stayed with my good friend Jess just a few long blocks away. From the perspective of a review blog author, I was excited to meet many of the people I have reviewed over the past 2 years. Recess Monkey, King Pajama, Bari Koral, Bill Harley were notable attendees who I was able to strike up conversation with. From the perspective of an upstart performer and fan, I was in heaven soaking it all in. I can sum up my impressions of the event in Five Short Articles about Kindiefest:

Not Kindlefest, not even Kidneyfest... it's Kindiefest!
The first time I made mention of going to Kindiefest online (probably on Facebook), someone responded asking "What's Kindle-fest" which conjured up images of people huddled together to read ebooks. I often have to explain the Kid-Indie music origins of the festival's title. Justin Roberts' band had a similarily humorous take:

The general concensus between other artists at Kindiefest was that there is no good term for the type of music we make. Kids' Music, Children's Music, Family Music or heaven forbid, Kiddie Music! None seem to quite fit. Which brings us to article 2...

Adult Music... Bowm Chicka Wow Wow!
As is the case with most kids' music artists, I try to make non kids' music as often as possible. At an event like Kindiefest there were time when the topic shifted to "adult" music which always brought some sort of joke reference to porno music (cue the wah wah guitar). If there is no perfect term for kids' music, there certainly is no good way to talk about the opposite. "Grown-up" music sounds even creepier, or like something on the Windham Hill Sampler. It made for some humorous moments during the conference.

A High School Dance With a Bar
The conferences were a great resource to budding artists, but I was really there to meet people, so the first evening's mixer was great. Dan Zanes encouraged people to butt into conversations and meet everyone. This was a trick as the lobo solo in the crowd. I felt a bit like I was at a high school dance and everyone grouped up like old friends. Thankfully, unlike a high school dance, there was a bar and that was the best place to meet people. Nothing to do but wait and chat. By the end of the night doing the "Dan Zanes Butt-in" was easier to do.

Summer Camp Friends
As a long time camper/counselor, I am familiar with the phenominon of summer camp friends. You show up to camp with a blank slate, you meet new people and make tight bonds and then get packed up and head home for the fall. Thankfully, there is Facebook so I don't have to send them a chain letter, but I met a lot of great friends in the industry. Next time I attend Kindiefest, I'll be hoping to see my good ol' summer camp friends like Splash n' Boots, King Pajama, Stacey Peasley, and Tim (and the Space Cadets)

Kids' Music for Adults
Originally, I had hoped to get In The Nick of Time on the roster for the Saturday showcase. It wasn't in the cards this year, but perhaps in the future. It was a funny sort of thing though. I was excited to see folks like the Hipwaders, Rhythm Child and Justin Roberts, but is was a kids' music show for adults, and not only adults, but industry folks. Nerve racking as it must have been. It was a great show. I was especially fond of Mr. Leebot whom I had not heard of before (from Austin TX). Sunday's festival performances were also great, but I missed some so I could get on a plane and fly back to my dear wife and sweet little dog (plus all the school chidren expecting to see me bright and early the next day).

Kid Quote of the Day: I am as hot as a burned up, rotten green bean ~Henry (age: 4)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Off to New York with a Feather in my Cap!

The primary mission of Singing in the Bathtub is to promote and discuss quality kids' music. I don't typically use this forum to promote my own music (I have a newly updated website to do that), but I wanted to share some great news that involves yours truly as well as other "Friends of the Bathtub" like Roger Day, Joannie Leeds, Milkshake, Rebecca Frezza, Marc Bazerman and Shira Klein.

The 2010 Parents Choice Awards were announced a week, and I was awarded Gold along with the aforementioned Day, Leeds and Milkshake! For me this is a big deal. We share the golden pedestal with heavy hitter such as Dan Zanes and the ubiquitous Puto Mayo. Baze and his Silly Friends received a blue Recommendation Award, and Frezza and Klein both received a red Approval stamp from the Parents Choice Foundation.

It is an exciting time because I am currently packing to head up to NYC for the 2010 Kindiefest conference and showcase. This is my first year attending, and I'm planning to make the most of it. I am probably most excited about meeting so many of the groups/artist featured in The Bathtub.
The secondary mission of Singing in the Bathtub is to help build a strong community of children's musicians.

Kid Video of the Day: