21 July 2009

Eric Herman - What a Ride CD Review

Eric Herman's latest starts with a "Come Play!" request often lobbed at me too early in the morning, when the world looks blurry and my bones are still creaky, and ends with a tune perfect for falling asleep with your kids tucked beneath your arms after a day of swing sets, sprinklers and fort building.

The best songs for kids tend to be sung from a kid's perspective. Justin Roberts is a master of storytelling and songwriting from the POV of a toddler and school age kiddo. Herman writes songs in a similar vein, climbing inside his inner child and succinctly explaining the world through the thoughts and words of a young child.

It's an amazing talent to have and Eric Herman's got it, in spades.
He's also got a lot of friends and they show up all over "What a Ride!" The aforementioned opening track features Gwendolyn Sanford of Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang, Chris Wiser of the Sugar Free All Stars lends his organ skills, Tito from the Hipwaders has a cameo, as does Scribblemonster Jim and OWTK favorite David Tobocman. In this way, it's kinda like a hip hop record, what with all the guest stars and the collaborative spirit.

There are some terrific songs on "What a Ride".
"Heartbeat" reminds us that a Stethoscope is the kiddie version of duct tape - able to fix anything and everything! The time bending "Time Machine" features the best lyrical hook on the record in the form of "What time is it you ask / It's that time again". Herman spins a fantastic tale on "How to Move a Monster", scoring bonus points for making the hero a heroine. "How Big" is a gorgeous, thought provoking tune that ponders just how expansive the world is through the eyes of Earth's tiniest creatures.

Eric Herman moves with ease between full blown danceable guitar rock and sweet power ballads (not the cheesy 80's kind), all while making sure that the listener is smiling and singing along. "What a Ride" reminds me of the best music Blues Traveler ever released - groovy, fun and extremely easy on the ears.

Maybe you've seen his You Tube clip for " The Elephant Song" (over 6 million already have - yowzers!) now check out Eric Herman's website for games, MP3s, videos and an iPhone App - Herman's got it all!
While you're there, pick up a copy of "What a Ride".


Anonymous said...

Yep! I've got to agree! I'm in Australia and my 3 year old twins love his work!

Eric Herman said...

Jeff, many thanks for the kind words. I hadn't thought of it before, but I think Blues Traveler is probably a pretty big influence of mine. I must have listened to their debut album a hundred times back in the day, and still put it on once in a while. I suppose songs like "How Big" and "Extraordinary" are sort of in the general vein of something like "100 Years". Anyway, I really appreciate the plug for the disc!