Second!, a collection of 20 tracks threading together a storyline with 10 pop-rock songs, features Gary, lead singer and guitar player; Billy, the bass player; Penny on piano; and Davy on drums. The band performs catchy songs that will keep young listeners, as well as their adult counterparts, humming and tapping their toes throughout the day, with the inevitable "Play it again, please!" as each song ends.
Featuring music written and performed by a cast of top-rated musicians and produced by veteran Nashville recording engineer Jason Gantt, Second! aims to provide kids with fun, and sometimes educational, songs, without making parents groan when their kids ask to hear the music, says Gantt, who uses his 19-month-old daughter, Abbey, and wife, Amy Gantt, as a key test audience.
Melding high-level musicianship with kid-friendly lyrics, the songs on Second! keep themes simple, with an underlying cleverness adults are sure to appreciate. "The W Song" begs an answer to the question, "Why does the letter 'W' get three syllables, when the other letters get only one?"
The CD features 10 songs, including "Share," a song based on the concept difficult for many youngsters to learn, yet extolling the benefits of sharing, because "the world is full of wonderful toys I might never have known without loans"; "Good Things" reminds every one of the joy of jumping on the bed, waterfalls and having friends over to play and encourages all to fill their heads with thoughts of good things, like splashing around in the stream from a water hose and the dentist saying "no cavities" and "Plenty of Space'" introduces kids to asteroids, telescopes, rockets and reminds the listener "there's plenty of space in space."
The continuing storyline between each song features The Earbuds spending the day together, showing up for an interview and performance at a radio station, and having a sleep over.
The creation of The Earbuds and the debut CD, First!, began when Gantt was asked to write songs for a friend who was creating a library of children's music. He called up a few of his friends to co-write and the songwriters quickly discovered the joys of revisiting childhood through songwriting. While the friend's project never came to fruition, Gantt found that he had 20 songs that seemed to naturally fit into two collections, hence First! and, now, Second!, he says.
Developing The Earbuds as the band to deliver the songs was an idea Gantt had to make the projects more kid-friendly. To help bring the characters to life, he recruited his family and friends, several who are also musicians.
"The original concept was for adults to enjoy the music, although the lyrics were for kids," Gantt says. "I wanted to reach out specifically to children, and having a band of friendly instruments seemed like a great way to do that. However, I definitely wanted to make sure there was something there for adults to enjoy too. That's the real test."
Feedback from First! and early reviews for Second! indicate Gantt has succeeded.
"It's fun kids songs that still have the 'cool' factor musically for grownups," says Victoria Shaw, award-winning singer/songwriter (Garth Brooks' "The River," John Michael Montgomery's "I Love The Way You Love Me"). "It won't drive you crazy playing it over and over."
"As an early childhood educator of at risk children I am always looking
for fun ways to inspire healthy choices. The Earbuds music gets us
moving and learning. I like to use the songs as a stepping stone for
important conversations about listening to your body or brushing your
teeth," says Rebecca Spitzer, Early Childhood educator and Great Start Readiness Program teacher in Lansing, Mich. "Anyone who has ever spent the day in an early childhood classroom knows how much children love music. I love teaching and I love music, but sometimes the thought of listening to another cheesy version of
the alphabet song makes me want to scream! I love playing The Earbuds
in my classroom because the music is so refreshing for me and fun for
"The Earbuds are what my husband and I call 'baby magic' on long car trips," says Jessica Lunte of Orlanda, Fla. "All we have to do is push Play on First! and our 8-month-old, who hates being in the car, is happy and calm once again! Thanks Earbuds!"
"Catchy tunes and great lyrics! It's educational and fun at the same time," says Jennifer Pryor of Lexington, S.C. "Having the instruments as characters is clever, memorable and a great way for kids to identify with them. You know it's a great album when it appeals to both kids and parents! The Earbuds have a great blog too. Again, very educational as you can learn about instruments, how songs are written, how albums are made and promoted and much more!"
To learn more about Gantt, The Earbuds and Second!, visit theearbudsband.com. Second! can be purchased online at iTunes and theearbudsband.com.