Kid Pan Alley
Like Nimbit, Kid Pan Alley is all about empowering people through music. But unlike Nimbit, Kid Pan Alley is quite an analog affair, and targeted to a suitably younger demographic evocative of the outfit’s name. KPA was founded some 14 years ago by Paul Reisler. His vision is to instill musical creativity, teamwork, and confidence in folks by getting them rolling early—while they’re still impressionable youngsters.
It’s working—and it’s not just kids who are taking notice. To date, the organization has fostered 2,500 original songs that have been performed by over 35,000 children. Some KPA projects have included world-renouned artists including Delbert McClinton, Sissy Spacek, Cracker, Amy Grant, Kix Brooks, Raul Malo, Suzy Bogguss, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra—and the organization sports recognition in the way of Parents’ Choice and NAPPA Gold awards, 6 ASCAP Foundation awards and a Grammy nom.
This recognition and growth is due in no small part to the key element that that separates Kid Pan Alley from a lot of other youth music programs: the children are writing their own songs. Paul finds that kids are better collaborators than most adults—perhaps because they’ve yet to “develop” the sort of ego and self-importance we associate with a lot of adults; creatively, kids’ malleable brains are not yet bound by the rules-based blinders of adulthood. These children are encouraged to produce in an off-the-cuff, fun spirit—and even quieter kids are seen to light up like Christmas trees at the opportunity to contribute to a song.
KPA’s Nimbit store offers collected works from no less than 13 region-specific Kid Pan Alley residencies, as well as four collections, including the Grammy-nominated Kid Pan Alley Nashville, and the perhaps misleadingly-titled Unreleased Favorites.
Kid Pan Alley is Kids’ music, by and for kids—and once you’ve heard it, you may begin to feel that there’s something a little sideways about the notion of children’s music being written by adults.
Interested in getting Kid Pan Alley rolling in your neighborhood? Click here.
Adam Ezra Group
It’s been a good couple years for Boston’s Adam Ezra Group. They’ve successfully engineered a brand of country rock that is simultaneously rootsy and forward-thinking. The formula is paying off, as the band were the worthy recipients of the 2013 New England Music Awards “Band of the year,” and also earned “Album of the Year” and “Song of the Year” from the same committee in 2012.
Ezra and his six-piece Group are the kind of guys who are more than just pro musicians. They’re the sort of rare-blood all-or-nothing types who truly believe in music as a force for change. That’s well in-line with what we’re about here at PreSonus and Nimbit—so, hats off, guys. When not touring and recording, all of the guys are activists and community leaders, whose efforts include volunteering for relief effort in Kosovo and practicing environmental geography in South Africa.
While they’ve demonstrated a reliable and consistent recording output—ten full-length albums since 2000—at the end of the day, Adam Ezra Group is all about the live experience. Their impassioned performances have drawn deserved comparison to guys like Bruce Springsteen, and have found them touring in quite good company: Rusted Root, Jason Mraz, Goo Goo Dolls, Blues Traveler, Los Lobos, and Dwight Yoakam, to name a handful.
AEG is currently touring with a StudioLive 24.4.2 and recording their live shows for release, so when you see them live be sure to scream real loud so that you can hear yourself when the recordings are released!
From a marketing perspective, Adam Ezra Group’s Nimbit store is full of good stuff—their offering includes four full-length releases and a couple singles. But they really shine in the merch department, including nearly a full wardrobe of Ramble-themed apparel. One notable non-wearable offering: custom purple beer coozies! In terms of non-Ramble Adam Ezra merch, there are no fewer than nine custom t-shirt choices available, stickers, and my personal favorite—AEG temporary tattoos! Furthermore, they’ve got their concert calendar kept completely up-to-date, so give it a gander and see when you can catch Adam Ezra Group when they roll through your town—looks like they’ve got a handful of east coast shows booked at the time of this writing.
Bim Skala Bim
Ska is one of those musical forms that, like surf rock, relies heavily on a fairly strict set of rules. It’s difficult to stray to far from the established formula and still sound like a ska band. Get too far off, and it’s not ska anymore. Play it safe, and you sound just like everybody else. I tell ya, it’s hard out here for a rude boy.
But Bim Skala Bim, formed in Boston in 1983, has managed to avoid either pitfall entirely, by adding a modicum of rock ‘n’ roll and—perhaps surprisingly, calypso—to their two-tone infrastructure. The result? I dunno. Call it four-tone, maybe. But whatever it is, the guys must really love it, as they’ve been at it for 31 years. In that time they’ve toured with homies The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Dropkick Murphys, and dropped nine full-length albums, most of which are available on Nimbit.
Oh, and it’s not just the band that loves what they do. Bim Skala Bim was a major force in launching third wave ska in the first place—or was it the third place—and about million bands followed their lead well into the 1990s. Furthermore, hometown pride is strong in The City of Champions, and they’ve decorated BSB liberally with no fewer than 10 Boston Music Awards and eight Boston Phoenix Reader’s Poll awards, and they’ve been recognized by Boston Magazine’s “Best of Boston” twice. In March of 2013, Boston Business Journal rated Bim Skala Bim’s Bones as album #19 in their “Boston Top 40 Albums of All Time” list.
Their Nimbit store is full to the brim of albums dating back to their early days, and also includes a rarities compilation and a few singles. Perhaps most notable is 2013’s Chet’s Last Call, featuring the band’s original lineup revisiting the roots that got the band—and a lot of fans–skanking in the first place.