A Rhythm Child One Love Jam Down!
Featuring Carlos Jones & The PLUS Band
Rhythm Child Mother Goose Party Slideshow
How did the idea for this record come about?
This project originally started as collaboration between my brother and I. It was going to represent the perfect blend of high-level Roots Reggae with engaging Children’s Music & Education. It’s been a few years in the making, but I’m really stoked that the end result is finally here.
The idea was that I was going to take some instrumental tracks from his latest album and re-interpret the music to write some new songs for kids. The first real indication that it was going to work was when Rhythm Child was invited to perform at The White House Easter Egg Roll in 2011. I immediately called my brother to see if he would come play the gig with me and pulled up one of those tracks for inspiration. The theme of the event was Get Up & Go so I wrote about healthy living and exercise. We both loved hearing the new version of the music come to life and the seed was planted. Carlos Jones & the PLUS Band meets Rhythm Child.
Well this particular type of music has been an important part of my personal growth since I was a teenager in the late 70’s. There is so much deep culture and lessons about life included in the music so I looked at this project as an introduction to the real story of where Reggae comes from. It’s kind of like a Reggae School. The music will definitely satisfy the adults while the lyrics talk about unity & family love.
The album is not strictly Reggae however. Musically we touch upon Calypso, Soul, Soca, Rhythm & Blues, African and Folk as well. The musicianship is top-notch and the performances are exciting.
What was the writing process?
Since I knew the original songs from the PLUS record really well, I had to remove myself from them and just listen to the instrumentals. Eventually I was able to hear how the music could stand on it’s own.
Melody was the first inspiration that hit … because I had free reign to interpret the music any way I liked, I began to hear melodies from within the interaction of the instruments. The guitars and horns would outline the structure while the keys and percussion provided little pieces of rhythm. Little words or phrases would pop into my head following some of those melodies and they became the beginning of what ultimately became the lyrics of the song.
Arrangement came next, which meant knowing where to cut up the original tracks to fit the new melody. It was mostly recognizing the length and placement of verses, choruses, and the bridge. There was so much great material to work with I never got stuck needing a part. The hidden pieces of the puzzle revealed themselves through the music.
Finally, the most fun aspect of the project was creating the lyrics. I would take long walks with the tracks running over and over. I’d try out different things and play around with various themes … I’m sure quite a few people were more than curious about my air drumming or rhythmic walking steps as I orchestrated the songs in my head during those meandering writing sessions.
Who is performing with you on the record?
Most of the music came from my brother’s band back in Cleveland, Ohio. The core unit is Carlos Jones on rhythm guitar, Peter Platten on keys, Will Douglas on drums & “Cholly O” on bass. Another important musician on the album is Steve McCormick, who produced & played guitar, bass & keys on All You Need Is Love. Daniel Krieger, who performs with me live and played guitar on Music Time, also produced & engineered all of the new parts for the PLUS tracks.
As usual, I sang lead on all of the songs, but I thought it would be fun to have everyone in the family take part as well. Bailey (13) has worked with me on an album before so he stepped in with confidence. Andre (8) made his studio debut on this record and he handled it like a pro. Heather also made her album debut this time around and rocked the mic big time.
What kind of feedback has the project received?
I wrote these songs alone so no one heard them until the 1st day in the studio when it was time to record the vocals. Up until the final moment of singing I was still formulating lyrics in my mind. Even I was unsure what the songs would sound like and if the new parts would actually blend with the music. My family didn’t know a single lyric until I sang it that day. After listening back, Heather gave me some great constructive criticism and I began dissecting each song until I felt satisfied that all of those issues had been addressed. Throughout my career she has consistently been the most honest sounding board. I trust her opinion over anyone.
Are you happy with the project now that it’s done?
It has been a long time since I actually felt like I had something relevant to say to the world. I interact with different kids & teachers every day and that work has given me a certain perspective on the next generation. I feel like this music will do its part to give spirit & hope to that future.
I can honestly say that this album represents me 100%. My intentions were to express ideas that can benefit & entertain families of every culture for years to come. Reggae Music has a universal language and it allows positive vibrations to resonate in a person’s soul. It has been that way with me for over 30 years and I would love to share those feelings with children.
Norm Jones (Vocals, Percussion, Drums)
Carlos Jones (Rhythm Guitar, Percussion, Nyabinghi Drums)
Bailey Jones (Vocals)
Andre Jones (Vocals)
Heather Jones (Vocals)
Peter Platten (Keyboards)
Dan Shramo (Lead Guitar)
Darren “Cholly O” Evans (Bass)
Will Douglas (Drum Kit)
Roy Isaacs (Percussion)
Curt Johnson (Percussion)
Bob Caruso (Percussion)
Kris “Skinny K” Morron (Trombone)
Brian Kleve (Trumpet)
Dan Wenninger (Saxaphone)
Steve McCormick (Guitars, Bass, Keyboards on “All you need is love”)
Daniel Krieger (Guitar on “Music time”)
Gillian Ritchey (Backing Vocals)
Quentin Derac (Backing Vocals)
Karen Ritchey (Hand Claps)
Lupe Mendoza (Hand Claps)
All Songs Written By Norm Jones & Carlos Jones
©2014 Music NV/Cross Track II (ASCAP)
Administered by Cross Track II
#4 Written & Arranged By Norm Jones & Daniel Krieger
#9 Written By Norm Jones
#1 Written By John Lennon & Paul McCartney
Sony/ATV Tunes (Northern Songs Catalog)
Used By Permission
Vocals Recorded & Mixed by Daniel Krieger @ Koncious Studios
P.L.U.S. Band Tracks Recorded & Mixed by Jacob Fader @ ODC Studios
#1 Recorded & Mixed by Steve McCormick @ McCormick Audio
#1 Mastered by Ron Boustead
#4 & #9 Recorded & Mixed by Daniel Krieger
Art & Layout By Ngoko Designs
Photo By Classic Kids Photography