A playful kid rocker with veteran songwriter/arranger roots, Brady Rymer has created a good-times musical celebration that rocks out in undiluted fun for all generations. The songs in this Parents' Choice Silver Award-winning CD are as empowering to kids as they are entertaining; as in his four previous offerings, Brady's powerful love and respect for children shines throughout. Presenting big ideas about family, love of community and shared experiences while honoring children's natural ebullience and creativity, the dozen contrasting grooves on "Every Day Is A Birthday" represent a Brady Rymer who has come into his own as an artist. First-class vocals, shimmering, layered guitar work, and smooth, tasty harmonic progressions support honest, unpretentious lyrics that sparkle with insight in every line. The title tune encourages every child to celebrate their unique spirit; "Keep Up With You" and "Mama Don't Allow" are rollicking riffs on family life; the infectious grooves of "Rock 'n' Roll Mother Goose" and "Dilly Dally Daisy" get the whole family groovin', singin' along, and feelin' good down deep in their bones! Also included is an irresistible zydeco-tinged version of Woody Guthrie's "Little Sacka Sugar." Listen carefully: a special bonus is a collection of brain-teasing musical activities at the end of the album. Children are encouraged to match snippets of music with the correct songs, giving them a glimpse into how songs are built, and the roles the instruments play. And no child's birthday will be complete without a Karaoke birthday party "sing-along" to tunes from the CD, included at the end. "Every Day Is A Birthday" follows Brady Rymer's multi-award winning 2004 release, "I Found It!"
Less manic than Ralph's World, more rockin' than Laurie Berkner, and right in time with the new breed of hipsterish kids' musicians is Brady Rymer, Long Island's own antidote to the parent-torturing Bop invasion (Kidz or Doodles, take your pick). Unlike a herd of other Dan Zanes acolytes, Rymer rides a crest of credibility conferred by his former jam-bander status; before he started making kids' music in 2000, he was the leader of From Good Homes, a rock quintet that opened for Dave Matthews, Bob Weir and a bunch of notable others. Instead of leaving the guitar-heavy, keep-it-coming sensibility behind, then, he works it deep into his discs the same way a preschooler might work stray Cheerios into her Play-Doh sculpture. The latest evidence is Every Day is a Birthday,
a full-on family stomper. There it is, artfully and definitively incorporated into "Keep Up with You," a lighthearted rant about grownups' saving graces (coffee, red wine), and there it is again on "Diggin' up a Dinosaur," an exploratory ode to finding oneself, be it through "reading a comic book or baiting a fishing hook." The title track serves up cake and one-for-every-year spankings with a soft touch, but it's the disc-ending extras that'll snare 2- to 10-year-olds like so many cereal-box surprises: "Snippets" plays name that tune with the songs that came before it, and "Happy Birthday Around the World" sends out celebratory hollers in languages both exotic (Lithuanian) and ridiculous (Scooby Doo). What makes this disc such a keeper, and so thoroughly Rymer-esque, is they all make you want to join the party. --Tammy La Gorce