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Somewhere in the confluence of Shel Silverstein, Frank Zappa, Jerry Garcia, Jack Black, and Mr. Rogers … rocks multi-award-winning family musician Eric Herman. Eric’s first new album in six years, Magic Beans, will be released on March 18, 2022.
A showcase of clever lyrics with lots of attitude, Magic Beans delivers a wide variety of styles and influences not often heard in the kindie genre. The hip listener will hear flashes of Bowie and Pink Floyd alongside The Police, Kate Bush, and Sparks. Slightly subversive and more than a little trippy, the songs work their magic on multiple levels, with subtexts, self-reflection, and social commentary presented through characters and situations. Indeed, Magic Beans is music for the adventurous of mind and ear: think Dark Side of the Moon or Sgt. Pepper’s for eight-year-olds.
“The title came from a joke about paying my band members with magic beans,” says Eric Herman. “But I loved the idea of something that seems small and insignificant becoming something unexpected and enormous. That could be a tree or a person or a song or a universe.” According to Herman, the concept informed a lot of the album. “It felt like painting or even gardening, but with music and words and ideas. Songs became little worlds of their own, growing out of a simple musical phrase or lyric.”
Magic Beans kicks off with the fun, catchy “Googly Eyes,” in which the irrepressible protagonist expresses his artistry by placing googly eyes onto increasingly bigger and more daring canvases. The Paul Simon-esque “Merry-Go-Round” celebrates the cycles of life and nature as they go round and round into infinity, allowing Eric Herman to employ a melodic style that’s tinged with a bit of melancholy. Reminiscent of some of Weird Al’s original ballads, “Stinker,” in the guise of an elegant lullaby, is a cheeky bit of brotherly farce.
Other highlights include “Side Scroller,” a number that contemplates simulation theory through a video game metaphor, culminating in Kevin Laws’ wailing sax solo that blows through the roof of the metaverse itself. “Remember,” a bittersweet acoustic ballad about a kid whose grandma has dementia, features Brady Rymer as the kid’s voice in flashbacks. “Mushroom Pizza,” done in vintage jazz style, is an epic story-song, in which Puppy Dogs members Dave Pettey and Ben Macy use wry humor to teach bandmate Eric Herman a lesson in tolerance and acceptance.
ABOUT ERIC HERMAN
In 2003, when Eric Herman transitioned from playing in Buffalo, NY area alt-rock bands and performing in live theater productions to writing songs for kids, he was just another among a burgeoning field of independent kids’ music artists, a genre soon to be dubbed “kindie.” But armed with a steady batch of clever and catchy tunes that owed more of an influence to Sondheim and The Beatles than Raffi and The Wiggles, and music videos that drew on the feel and depth of ‘70s classics like Schoolhouse Rock and The Point, Eric quickly became a notable name in the genre. And in 2007, when a relatively new site called YouTube featured his homemade “Elephant Song” video, that really set his star rising, ultimately leading to over 100 million worldwide views online for Eric’s videos.
The years that followed saw Eric Herman’s songs and videos featured nationally on PBS Kids, SiriusXM radio, Fox & Friends, The Today Show, and in the Warner Brothers film, Life As We Know It. A version of “The Elephant Song” was covered for a multi-platinum release by Brazilian superstar Xuxa, and Eric became one of the only children’s music acts (along with The Wiggles) to sign with BMG.
Previous releases by Eric Herman include The Eric Herman Strikes Back (DVD, 2017), Bubble Wrap (2016), The Incredibly Spaced Out Adventures of Jupiter Jackson (2014, Parents’ Choice Award), Party Animal (2014, NAPPA Award), What a Ride! (2009, Parents’ Choice Award, NAPPA Award), Snail’s Pace (2007, Pearl Award), Snow Day! (2006), Monkey Business (2005), and The Kid in the Mirror (2003).
Magic Beans will be available starting March 18, 2022 at major digital retailers.
Categories: Music Talk Stuff