Track #1. Farmer’s Market Good: I am a huge fan of local markets that become a “farm once a week in your neighborhood.” Yup, they’re “good for your breakfast, good for your lunch, good for your dinner too. Good for the farmer, good for the family, best of all good for you.” ~ ragtime romp on 6 string banjo, with band and male voices.
Track #2. Don’t Try It On Me: Knowing how hard it often is for kids to be adventurous at the dinner table, Michael Mark and I wrote this sly talking blues in the style of Big Bill Broonzy, told from the point of view of a young picky-eater ~ ragtime blues acoustic guitar, piano and bass.
Track #3. Chain Of Food: What started as a little word game, John Forster and I smiling about the “Chain Of Fools/Chain Of Foods” connection, grew into a Motown/Southern rock-inflected tune explaining just how “sunlight from our star can turn up at the salad bar - and out there where the wild things are” ~ electric guitar and band, with Chapin Sisters Abigail and Lily providing hot chick-singer background vocals.
Track #4. Grow Your Own: Michael and I started with the title, laughed and quickly rejected ‘60’s drug references, and eventually realized that we cultivate different gardens at different stages of our lives, starting with a seed and a little paper cup from a first grade teacher to “a little old lady with a watering can.” ~ mid-tempo folk with guitar, banjo, piano and Irish whistle.
Track #5. Beans Talk: In which a proud bean sings about life in the White House garden. John and I found it fun to imagine a “beanstalk in Michelle Obama’s garden” with a Marine haircut, posture and attitude ~ with military piano and Sousa-like percussion.
Track #6. Locally Grown: One of the first songs John and I wrote for this project, “locally grown and locally eaten is globally good, good, good for us all.” I previewed this song at P. S. 29 in Brooklyn a couple of years ago, during their Harvest Week, they learned it, and that’s how we connected with their Children’s Chorus who sings on this CD (though not on this track). ~ up-tempo folk with flat-picked guitar, banjo, mandolin and jaws harp.
Give PEAS A Chance
Whole Grain Music for Free-Range Earthlings
Track #7. The Ultimate Lunchroom: John and I were inspired by the seminal book, Free For All: Fixing School Food in America written by fellow WhyHunger Board member Jan Poppendieck. From her we learned what a school lunchroom could and should be like, in happy 6/8 Mexican Huapango style ~ with trumpets, guitars, accordion and Latin percussion.
Track #8. Every Body: John Forster wrote this terrific 12/8 sing-along about body image, and how “health and strength and beauty come in every shape and size” ~ with 5 string banjo, accordion, guitar, whistle, kids and adult chorus.
Track #9. The Honeybee Waggle: John and Michael and I had great fun working on this song showing that forager honey bees “dance you directions,” and how the “Honeybee Waggle feeds the hive,” while pollinating and “keeping the whole wide world alive” - a celebration of that hardworking and amazing insect ~ with guitar, piano, banjo and lots of buzzing kazoos.
Track #10. Rappa Dappa Doodle: This is a young, silly word game about rotten apples, couch potatoes and other foods “that I can live without” ~ up-tempo folk with guitar, banjo, band, happy kids voices.
Track #11. Life Grows On: Kind of an earth anthem, this is Michael and my paean to the magic growing cycle of seasons ~ with 12 string guitar, Irish whistle, banjo, many voices.
Track #12. The Junk Food Pyramid: Here’s a funny, cautionary tale told in Sam The Sham style, over-the-top Rock’n’Roll ~ electric guitar and band, Farfisa organ, silly sound-effects.
Track #13. Slow Food: I grew up in a family that had dinner together almost every night, and we still do. Eating together can be so important as a conduit for connection – food, family, fellowship. It’s time to slow down, eat well, and “cook up the kind’a meal that time forgot” ~ rippling acoustic finger-picked guitar, with sweet electric slide guitar.
Track #14. Enough For Everyone: There is enough food to feed the world, right now - inspired by the good works of WhyHunger, the hunger organization founded by Harry Chapin 35 years ago. I have been an active Board member since the beginning ~ Jay Ungar’s unmistakably sweet Fiddle graces this folk anthem in 5/4, with solo piano, kid’s and adult voices, and a majestic instrumental ride-out.