Welcome to the Music Thursdays segment! Each week here on Geek Alabama, Music Thursdays will feature music related content. Music Thursdays will feature an artist or band and their latest song and / or music video. People love music, and we here at Geek Alabama love featuring artists and bands!
With an outrageous sense of fun and an irrepressibly buoyant energy, Cleveland’s beloved family musician and “professional goofball,” Jesse Jukebox (a.k.a. Jesse Friedberg), is set to release his fourth kids’ album, Just A Minute, on September 2, 2022.
Every musical gem on Just A Minute clocks in at just about a minute in length. Challenged and excited by how much artistic punch could be packed into only 60 seconds, Jesse Jukebox says, “I have always wanted to make an album full of one-minute songs. At first, I was daunted by the limitations of writing fully fleshed out songs while keeping them small and digestible. I reminded myself that limitations and finding ways to work around them inspire creativity. Every track was a new opportunity to problem solve.”
Jesse continues, “Just A Minute is a completely silly, and weird album, and I thrive on that. The weirdest thing about ‘weird’ is the stigma occasionally attached to it. Weird makes you unique! That’s why I have a song on the album called ‘Weird,” which I placed after a slew of goofy songs. It’s to remind kids that being ‘weird’ is not a negative; it’s a worthy attribute. The song wraps up with the observation, ‘it’s also ok to be normal, but what’s normal, anyway?’”
With influences ranging from Wilco and The Who to Daniel Johnson and Fountains of Wayne, Jesse Jukebox says listeners will understand his music if they think of all those performers getting together to form a kids’ band and then bringing on Weird Al Yankovic and Jack Black. Jesse is also quick to point out the enormous contributions made to both Just A Minute and his 2020 release, Awesome!, by Grammy-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Dean Jones.
Equal parts rowdy and gentle, and replete with quirky, tongue-in-cheek humor, parodies, and head-banging jokes, Just A Minute is performed with an expertise that showcases Jesse Jukebox as a thoroughly trained musician and all-around educated and thoughtful human being who simply revels in having a blast.
The rocking, grungy “One Minute Song” kicks off the album by explaining the whole idea of the “one minute” song, in, you guessed it, just one minute. Tunes like “Monster Robot!” (where a misunderstood, monstrous robot tries to do everyday things like shopping for organic veggies and big and tall clothes) are what this album is about: super wacky fun! Just A Minute is packed to the gills with bits of absurdity in songs like “Groovy Kangaroo,” “Pizza Party!,” “Pierogi Polka,” “What’s Your Dance” (in four parts, each with a different dance style), and a well-crafted story-song trilogy relating the dramatic adventures of Jesse’s dog, Olive.
The same wry, artful humor is employed in tracks like “It’s OK To Not Be OK,” which assures kids that feelings like grief, anger, embarrassment, and anxiety are meaningful and, in fact, should sometimes be welcomed, and “Library,” which celebrates libraries as founts of awesomeness, providing endless hours of activities absolutely free of charge.
An album highlight, the catchy, Wilco-inspired “Help Our World Go ‘Round,” is an existential call for planetary survival, emphasizing that everything in our world, both natural and man-made, helps the planet exist.
ABOUT JESSE JUKEBOX:
Jesse Jukebox (a.k.a. Jesse Friedberg) is on a mission to inspire children and their parents to be creative, compassionate, free-thinking, and a bit smarter than he is (which is pretty darn smart). These days, Jesse goes about accomplishing this mission by writing and recording original children’s music. He also brings his music to children and adults alike through his amusing, thrilling, and interactive live shows.
Jesse began taking piano lessons at age 7 and picked up the guitar when he was 14. At 16, he acquired his first electric guitar, a Fender Telecaster, and instantly became a huge fan of The Who. “I wanted to be just like Pete Townshend,” says Jesse. “I taught myself to play all Who songs. It was quite an epiphany when I realized that Pete wrote all the songs himself, so, naturally, I started writing my own songs. From that point on, I was completely obsessed with music.”
After graduating from Berklee College of Music with a major in songwriting, Jesse opted to, instead of mastering the art of jazz or shredding guitars, dedicate his time to writing, recording, and performing fun and catchy music for kids and families.
In 2012, Jesse recorded a children’s album titled Jesse’s Jukebox with multi-platinum-award-winning producer Michael Seifert. In 2017 he released a follow up: Jesse’s Jukebox: There’s Music Everywhere. 2020 saw the release of Jesse’s third album, Awesome!, recorded with Grammy-winning producer Dean Jones, who also produced this year’s Just A Minute.
A supreme passion for working with children led Jesse to further study, and he received his master’s degree in early childhood education from Ursuline College. His experiences, both academic and performing, come together in his high-energy, interactive, early childhood music classes.
Jesse is driven by all things awesome, including, but not limited to, rock and roll, the blues, Batman, electric guitars, silliness, funky bass lines, pizza, corny jokes, loud drums, banjos, outer space, and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
Just A Minute will be available to purchase digitally via Bandcamp and available to stream on all streaming platforms.
Categories: Music Talk Stuff