My kids and I have been listening to Lisa Loeb's new children's album and book, Lisa Loeb's Silly Sing-Along: The Disappointing Pancake and Other Zany Songs, in the car for the last week and we have it fully memorized. I am a huge fan of children's albums that are accompanied by books. It is the best way I know to teach a child to weave singular words into sentences.
My youngest daughter is just crossing that bridge, where words on the page have begun to come out of her mouth in streams, not in single disjointed pops. We love Lisa Loeb's book and CD. The stories are paced with wit, the melodies are contagious. There are songs on here you can take with you for the rest of your life, and your children will teach their children. There are hypnotic sounds and creative arrangements. Some are familiar tunes and others Loeb has penned herself with friends Dan Petty and Michelle Lewis.
I think the child's voice has always peeked through in Lisa Loeb's material. This latest project naturally connects and it is seamless. A good funny song you can share with your children can get you from here to there without a hitch, and make the mundane feel marvelous. These are great songs to listen, read, learn and pass on.
RG: There are fantastic instrumental sounds on this record. What was it like building the arrangements in the studio?
LL: It was wonderful working with Dan and Michelle and our team of musicians and kid singers. Everyone involved really took the approach that it was a record, not a kids' record, which is always a good idea. We had world class musicians who just played the songs after we came up with arrangements that highlighted the lyrics, and the natural feel of people playing together makes it easy to listen to over and over. Also, we kept some arrangements super simple when the songs called for that: especially the songs that came from my summer camp experience.
RG: How did you create the language for "A Co Di By Doze?" Has that been with you forever or did you make it up with the idea for the song?
LL: Dan and Michelle and I tossed around a lot of ideas after discussing the telephone game, in which a little phrase or word is passed around in a circle from one person to another, like a secret, and in the end it's funny to hear what the simple word or phrase becomes through a series of misunderstandings. I might be remembering it incorrectly, since I was pregnant at the time, but I think Dan suggested the idea of how funny a person with a cold sounds and how it's kind of a funny game trying to figure out what that person with the stuffed up nose sounds like.
RG: What's your favorite song on the album to sing live?
LL: I love singing "The Disappointing Pancake," if I can remember all the words. I think that's part of the fun for kids and all people too: memorizing the story and the words. I love rooting for the pancake who turns out not to be so disappointing after all. It's also fun to sing the sing-a-long part that everyone can sing whether or not they know the song or not, the "rolls and it rolls and it rolls and it rolls" part.
RG: How did you connect with Ryan O'Rourke for the illustrations of Silly Sing-Along? The pictures capture the songs, arrangements and voices on the album so well. It's as if he's part of the band.
LL: My publishing company, Sterling Publishing, actually connected me with Ryan. For the most part, they were communicating directly with Ryan, and I didn't get to meet him in person until the book was printed and I was playing a concert near his hometown in Connecticut. I did a mockup of the book to give the publisher an idea of the extent to which the songs needed to be illustrated, but Ryan's illustrations far out-perform my little drawings.
RG: We love Opposite Day. And it's something we've been doing in our house for many years (my publishing company is "cookiesforbreakfast.") Did you grow up with Opposite Day or was it something you decided on as an adult?
I have to say that I'm a person who grew up honoring the rules. It was very admirable to follow the rules to a T when I was young, but as a grownup, I take liberties, especially when it's not a rule that's not going to hurt someone else if I break it. We wanted to make a song where you could imagine all kinds of crazy things happening, and I love the idea of mixing up foods you'd expect at certain meals and serving them at other meals.
RG: Will you be touring this album?
I'll be playing some events and concerts around the United States, and you can always find out about it on LisaLoeb.com. I'm not playing as much as I used to since I had a baby. She's one and a half now, so I try to stay in town with her as much as possible. If you sign up on my mailing list online, you'll receive updates and even sometimes some recipes! We'd love to make some videos and that should be the next step.