Jamming for the Next Generation …
‘LIVE IN LEXINGTON: UNDER THE COPPER BEECH’
BEN RUDNICK & FRIENDS
BRINGS LIVE CONCERT EXPERIENCE TO FAMILIES ON NEW CD
“The words catchy and irrepressible just begin to describe the string-band music uncorked by a quintet of gifted instrumentalists.” – DownBeat
“Sophisticated melodies, precise instrumentation and witty lyrics that delight the entire family."
– The Washington Post
"Little Deadheads! The tracks from the Grateful Dead-influenced kiddie jam band are groovy.”
– Parenting magazine
BOSTON, MA (July 20, 2011) – With legions of devoted fans throughout the country, five Parents’ Choice® Awards in their hip pocket, and a tsunami of critical praise, Ben Rudnick & Friends stand in the front row of the best of today’s family music performers. With yards of acclaim for their studio recordings, it’s easy to forget that Ben Rudnick & Friends is first and foremost a live band! In the spirit of sharing a Ben Rudnick & Friends live concert of historical significance, Ben Rudnick announces the August 30 release of his ninth album, Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech. (Bartlett Ave. Records, $14.99, for all ages, run time 78 minutes).
Affectionately nicknamed “the Grateful Dead for kids,” Ben Rudnick & Friends create a jam band dynamic that transforms their concerts into events. The band’s stratospheric level of adventurous musicianship brilliantly beams across a spectrum of bluegrass, light folk, calypso, country, second-line New Orleans jazz, and the many flavors of rock. The result: kids and grownups dance together, older folks happily recognize many songs, and a sense of community fun dominates the scene.
On July 11, 2008, Ben Rudnick & Friends set up at one of their favorite venues, the Town Green in Lexington, Massachusetts, site of their very first gig, where they’d played every summer since 2001. Flying high from a string of summertime shows, poignantly saying goodbye to Mark Yacovone, the band’s accordion player who moved to Mississippi the next day, and joined by Rob “It’s Saturday Night” Lee on saxophone, the band turned in an unforgettable performance. Happily, for music loving families everywhere, this musical slice of family apple pie was recorded. The result is Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech.
Notes Ben Rudnick, “The Lexington Friday Night Concert Series has been going on for quite awhile, and we are by far the biggest draw. When we play, there are upwards of 2,000 people on the historic Green with chairs and blankets and food and kids and balloons, and it's just a great atmosphere. We like to say it’s ‘America at its best on a Friday night.’ If you can picture a sort of hip Norman Rockwell image with a little tie-dye thrown in for good measure, that's Lexington when we play. With 2,000 people out there and everyone in a good mood, it transports the band to another zone, and we feel great ourselves, which comes through in the music.”
Ben continues, “Thinking back to our 2008 Lexington show, when you combine the nostalgia of a band saying goodbye to a really good friend, the excitement of playing for such a large audience, the homegrown nature of the event, the familiarity of the crowd with the band and vice versa, and the fact that this was a summer show which meant we'd been playing a lot leading up to it, it was a really good idea to record the performance! The event was a true celebration, and good energy just poured out of the music.”
Ben Rudnick & Friends take great pleasure in introducing kids and families to music that is an important part of America’s cultural fabric. Rather than playing down to kids, Rudnick assumes that children enjoy listening to a variety of music, much of which would not necessarily be labeled as “kids’ music.” When performing for children in a family audience setting, Ben Rudnick & Friends do so in a thoroughly honest way, bringing in music from many sources: folk tunes, cowboy songs, bluegrass melodies, and songs made popular by great singers of the 1950s like Hank Williams and Buddy Holly, in addition to Ben Rudnick originals.
Putting a live concert ambiance behind repertoire heard on Ben Rudnick & Friends’ first six recordings and mixing in some of the band’s favorite cover songs, Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech fills every available second of its CD with good-time tunes as only Ben Rudnick & Friends can deliver. Highlights include “I Like Silver, I Like Gold,” which incorporates clave rhythms of South America in much the same way as did the great Bo Diddley, a lively treatment of the traditional “Skip to My Lou,” Hank Williams favorites “Hey, Good Lookin’” and “Jambalaya,” Buddy Holly’s “Oh Boy!,” a joyful instrumental rendition of “Hava Nagila,” Dire Straits’ “Walk of Life,” “When the Saints Go Marching In,” and many more.
Ben Rudnick & Friends have been laying down the sound track of families having fun together since 2000. The band’s previous albums include It's Santa Claus! (2010), A Frog Named Sam (2009), The Challenger Baseball Song and Other Hits (2007), Grace's Bell (2007), Live at the Playground: WERS 88.9 FM Boston (2005), Blast Off! (2004), Fun and Games (2002), and Emily Songs (2000).
On the road since their inception, Ben Rudnick & Friends have played extensively in their native New England, with frequent outings along the eastern seaboard, and across the country.
Live in Lexington: Under the Copper Beech will be available at benrudnick.com, amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and independent retailers nationwide.
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LIVE IN LEXINGTON: UNDER THE COPPER BEECH TRACK LIST:
Notations in parentheses indicate the Ben Rudnick & Friends studio recording on which the song is included or the name of the original recording artist.
I Like Silver, I Like Gold (Emily Songs); Skip To My Lou (Emily Songs); Twisting Low (Fun and Games); Hava Nagila (Grace's Bell); My Name is Burt (Blast Off); Sally Salamander (Fun and Games); Juicy Black Fly (Blast Off); Mama Don't ‘Low (Grace's Bell); Big River (Johnny Cash); Rainy Day (Emily Songs); Cowgirl Song (Emily Songs and Grace's Bell); Jambalaya (Hank Williams); Hey Good Lookin' (Hank Williams): Walk of Life (Dire Straits); Monkey and the Engineer (Emily Songs); Countdown; Rocket Ship Man (Blast Off); I Got A New Friend (Blast Off); Spin (Fun and Games); Band Introductions; Macaroni & Cheese (Fun and Games); Oh Boy! (Buddy Holly); I Need A Hand (Emily Songs and A Frog Named Sam); Thanks; When the Saints Go Marching In (Grace's Bell).
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BEN RUDNICK & FRIENDS– SUMMER/FALL 2011 CONCERT HIGHLIGHTS
September 24 & 25 Life is Good Festival Canton, MA
October 29 Symphony Space New York, NY
November 12 World Café Live Philadelphia, PA