"If you're looking for a feel-good, comfortable album to share with your family, this one is perfect. Listening to Mr. Gabe sing is like hearing an old friend telling stories on the front porch swing." -- Parents' Choice Awards.
Welcome to “Play Date.” When I started performing for children a few years ago, I assumed that original songs would make up a large portion of my repertoire. I soon found out that few things stop a performance in its tracks more effectively than playing a song none of the kids has ever heard before. It makes sense, of course. When you or I attend a concert by our favorite band, we’re not there to hear something new; we want to hear the hits! Kids are the same way.
I decided to save the originals for my first CD. I figured this was a much better way to introduce new music. Sitting in the back of the car while mom or dad was driving them around, that’s when my young listeners would be most receptive to hearing new sounds. Pretty soon, I imagined, they’d start asking: “Can you please put in the Mr. Gabe CD?”
Recording this CD allowed me to stretch musically and to expand my sound. When I perform, it’s usually just me and my acoustic guitar, but many of the songs on “Play Date” seemed to demand fuller arrangements. With the help of some very talented friends, I added bass, drums, piano, some electric guitar, and vocal harmonies. Creating a band sound was exciting; however, I tried not to overdo it. This is first and foremost a children’s CD, and while I hope that grown-ups will enjoy this music, the album was recorded, mixed, and mastered with little ears in mind. The more upbeat, rocking numbers generally alternate with quieter, folky ones. And even in places where they are most prominent, bass and drums are not as loud as they might be on a contemporary pop music album.
As for the songs themselves, they were inspired by my experiences as a stay-at-home dad in Takoma Park, Maryland, a small town located just outside Washington, DC. I hope that those of you living elsewhere will relate to them as well.