Quick Hits: Jon Samson Examines Differences, Drowsy Tunes from Monika Ryan

The day is drawing near when children’s music will become a thing of the past. It’s mostly falling on the shoulders of my older child who still enjoys the genre. His younger brother is beginning to request pop music more often. But his brother – with his teenage years dwindling – is happiest engaging with musicians, and nobody has been more appreciative than children’s performers.

“Ageless” from Jon Samson

One of the first live musicians we saw was Brooklyn’s Jon Samson, a music therapist who knows how to connect with special needs kids. His latest collection, Ageless, addresses the question: “How do we maintain our childlike spirit through the challenges, problems, and predicaments we face in the world and within ourselves?”

Ageless tackles ADD, frustration with everyday life, and how speaking to other people can be overwhelming. “Videogame,” featuring youthful guest singers, talks about how life is like a game, with endless levels after levels. “Predicament” shows that it’s okay to safely trigger emotions for healing purposes. You may think “Bye, Polar Bear” is about extinction, but it’s really about differences between people:

So the penguin in me greets the polar bear in you

As we melt our polarities and make something new

Ageless focuses on gentle messages for young minds, with “Love Is Not a Race” being at the forefront. It’s part of the curriculum for his CoCreative music program. But it’s also a lesson where everyone could use a refresher.

AGELESS is available August 30 from Jon Samson’s website and Spotify.

Here is the world premiere video for Jon’s song, “Predicament”:

Musician Monika Ryan

Think lullaby and you conjure “Twinkle Twinkle” and babies snuggled warmly into their beds. Jazz vocalist Monika Ryan decided to give them a twist – her new Lullabies collection features vocals and ukulele. It’s a stripped-down home studio batch of lovingly crafted sincere sentiments, for children as well as their (non-drowsy) parents.

“Lullabies” from Monika Ryan

Not technically a children’s CD, Monika definitely sings for them, as on “Life Is a Mess”:

Life is a mess, a great big hot mess, a dirty wet mess, if you’re doing it right

Life is unkempt untangled and unfurled

Life is unmade unbridled, mixed up, and swirled

Designed as a tonic to reassure, recharge, and replenish, Lullabies gives Monika a showcase for her lilting vocals, with only occasional strumming on the uke to change the key and move the tunes along. The CD is designed to refuel people burned out at the end of the day, when they are home and surrounded by their loved ones. Music gives us mental nutrients to reactivate and re-engage us with our families. And for everyone, music provides the potential for a good night.

LULLABIES is available from Monika Ryan’s websiteAmazon, and Apple Music.

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This post was last modified on August 28, 2019 3:18 pm

Jeffrey Cohen: @https://twitter.com/MrJeff2000 Born and raised in New York (with a brief sojourn in New Jersey during his preteen years), Jeffrey Cohen lives in New York with his two sons. He has reviewed children's music for the past nine years on his own blog. Jeff's podcast, "MrJeff2000 Explains It All" is available through iTunes.