National Association of Parent Publications Gold Award Winner 2009

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Featured on Putumayo World Music Tour

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The Story of Eat A Bowl Of Cherries

A ground-breaking offering from Award winning songwriter Norman Jones & his band Rhythm Child, gives little-ones a hefty taste of soul and a big dose of positive vibes. Featuring 10 high-energy songs with uplifting messages for kids, Eat a Bowl of Cherries is a must for families that like to get up and move.

The Story Behind The Music

Originally this project was supposed to be a live acoustic recording that accompanied the In the Studio DVD, but after we finished the filming I felt that the songs deserved more production than just drum, guitar & vocals.

Most of the songs have been developed and fine-tuned during our live shows where Duane' and I improvise through different arrangements of chords & lyrics that come to mind while on stage. "Riding on the Bus" is a prime example of that because it came about while performing one of my original songs at a concert and I needed a little something extra to extend the song and engage with the kids. Everyone knows the lyrics to "Wheels on the Bus" so it was easy to get them to sing and dance along to something they knew even though it was not the traditional version.

The approach that I took for this record was inspired by artists like Otis Redding and Sam Cooke who treated the studio session the same as a live performance. I wanted to capture the magic of the music as it was being created. On the first Rhythm Child CD Drum Circle Sing-A-Long I started with the melody of the song and then built layers around it. It was truly about the interaction of drum & voice. We added other elements like loops and guitars to give it flavor, but the overall sound was very raw. With Eat a Bowl of Cherries I was able to let the music completely drive the song. In fact, there were some songs that had to be re-worked after we recorded all of the tracks because the music took on a life of its own.

The universal appeal of the title track "Bowl of Cherries" is really my catalyst for the whole project. There is an old work song that sings about picking cotton and it has the catchiest hook ever. I have no reason to sing about working in the fields as a slave, so one day in a random moment of silliness on stage I sang about cherries. It became a fan favorite right away and everyone wanted to hear more of it. The need to record that song led to the rest of the album. The same week that I finished recording "Bowl of Cherries" I got a call from the folks at Putumayo World Music asking if I had any songs about food. I gave them the song and now it's on their award- winning Putumayo Kids compilation Picnic Playground and being played daily on Sirius/XM Kids Radio.

A recording like "Shaker Song" is a throwback to the '50s & '60s when kids used to have dances and everyone knew all of the moves because it was part of the song. This one has the dancers mimic the playing of musical instruments in the band. We had so much fun making this music, and I hope you can hear the smile on my face in each and every song.

I grew up in the suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio where there was not much music specifically geared toward children. I listened to what my family listened to and I absorbed the different textures of each. Listening to music was an active experience. It held an important meaning. I really wanted this album to be like the ones that I listened to as a kid. I wanted this record to have a special sound and feeling that was totally accessible from beginning to end.

There are four songs on Eat a Bowl of Cherries that were created from completed tracks of an un-released album that I did back in the late '90s. The vibe of the music worked well with the existing songs, and I joyfully took on the task of writing new words that fit the soulful theme of my children's record. These songs are noticeably more lyrical and have messages with more depth and meaning. "Misunderstandings" is one of my favorites simply because I think that messed up communication is universal among all ages.

The songs that feature Bailey on lead vocals are especially pleasing to me because it is something that he truly instigated. In the same way that he expressed interest in having solo spots in the live show, he felt that he could go in and perform his parts in the studio. He handled the pressure and endured a long session (although he really only took a couple of hours to do his part) and performed like a true professional. I was very proud of him, and it was a memorable experience for me as a father to see someone so young have such confidence and focus. His verse on the song from Mary Poppins is pure joy. It's a kid having fun singing. The song is so driving and soulful that his voice comes in to remind everyone that it really is supposed to be silly. To me, this is the future of Rhythm Child; to find and showcase inspiring young talent and their individual forms of expression.

Our hope with a release like Eat a Bowl of Cherries is that we can enhance the imagination and awareness of young children while fully entertaining and satisfying everyone else around them.