I have a four year old daughter. A daughter approaching adolescence far faster than I'd like! Soon enough, she's going to start expressing her own taste in music. And I have to say I'm not wild about the music that is out there for her age group. Music with cursing, music with with sexual under (and over!) tones. So I was tickled to receive this CD from a group called Groovy Ruby.
Who is Groovy Ruby? An all original rock band made up of 5 tween girls (currently ranging in age from 11-13). Their motto? "Early Beatles meet the Go Gos....but in middle school." And their songs are about friendship, perseverance, making good choices and liking yourself (you can see all their lyrics on their website). Sweet!
I have listened to this CD all week now and I absolutely love it. Let me tell you, I had to sit through an adolescent karaoke "talent show" recently that made my head hurt. This CD is nothing like that - while their voices are not trained, they ARE fresh, fun and talented. My favorite song is Track #3 - "You" - the beat is just so uplifting I even added it to my workout list on my iPod! I can't wait to see what the next few years holds for this exciting new group.
This all original band sings up on your feet, hooky, catchy, feel good tunes that get kids up and dancing. Led by five tween girls, the band's songs contain messages of friendship, perseverance, and encouragement, amongst other positive themes.
Fresh out of the studio finishing up their sophomore CD- Strong, Lovin', and Fun, the group plays regularly throughout the New York and New Jersey Metropolitan area.
The group was put together in 2005 by teacher/songwriter Dean Laterra. "I was teaching some songs I had written to a second grade class, and one kid really stood out. It was like everyone had a kazoo, and she had a trumpet. It occurred to me then that perhaps kids could sing these tunes that I had been stock piling. How many other talented kids were out there?" Laterra began writing more and decided to produce a CD of his tunes.
"There are so many good bands out there that disqualify kids as a listening group. I love Green Day, but when you listen to their music, be prepared, the words aren't always pretty. But musically, I love the style...and the Ramones, Beatles, Rolling Stones and a host of others. I made a decision to keep the lyrics "positive" (or at least safe) so that I could share with anyone. I didn't want to raise any eyebrows with parents, or disqualify my music from a great group of listeners."
Laterra began 'recruiting ' other singers, who along with their parents were on board with the idea, and over the course of a year (on Saturdays after soccer games), Groovy Ruby- Cool Like That was recorded at his home studio.
"It was a good first effort. None of us really knew what we were doing, but we just had to get the ball rolling. It's not perfect but it was a lot of fun to do and it definitely set the stage for things to come." Cool like That contains 14 breezy numbers with a bluesy twang. Hooky melodies and bouncy rhythms give the tunes stickiness. The singers (then ages 8-10) are remarkable for their age. You can tell that at this young age these kids have it.
Since the release of Cool Like That in 2006 the group has been playing regularly throughout Northern New Jersey. "We finished the CD and were still having fun so we thought, 'let's play a show' That was the start of a whole new element- The Live Show.
"The live show is what really started building the buzz. People got a kick out of seeing these kids up there and totally taking control of a crowd. We did a bunch of libraries and schools to get experience and then before long we started to get booking requests. It may be the most fun to see how the girls are growing and developing as performers. It's a whole other skill set as compared to just singing tunes. There's something impressive about seeing an eleven year old take control of a large crowd....and have them hang on every word. It's an art in and of itself."
Three years from the beginning, the group has now released their second CD. Strong, Lovin', and Fun. "It's on a whole new level. The songs, the vocals, the recording...everything! We've all grown so much since then, not to mention that this one is being done in a professional recording studio. We've taken the step from amateur to pro."
The group has evolved in other ways too. "We've expanded our focus to talk more about the song themes and message a bit. Now in middle school, the singers bring a slew of meaningful and relevant experience to the table. At any level, these kids are good role models in that they are just regular kids, who go to regular school, who happen to be well mannered, respectful, smart, polite, friendly, strong, fun, and all of those other things that parents want their kids to be. These are kids that have learned to make good decisions in life, and that is more important today than ever.
As for Groovy Ruby's future? "I'm excited and encouraged. We have a great group of singers and musicians and it's still a ton of fun. We're definitely looking towards bigger things, and the interest is there. Kids keep things fresh. It's one of life's little secrets...to maintain that kid like outlook and enthusiasm on things. Being surrounded by such great company, it's easy to be optimistic."
5 fun and talented pre-teen girl vocalists accompanied by full rhythm section.
Groovy Ruby- Cool Like That
Released August 2006
Groovy Ruby- Strong, Lovin', and Fun
Released August 2008
Groovy Ruby on MySpace
**WIN IT! Dean has graciously provided an extra copy of the CD for one lucky reader! To win, head over to Groovy Ruby, listen to a few songs, and come back here and tell me the name of YOUR favorite! Be sure to leave your email address if you do not have a blog or if it is not easily found on your blog. This giveaway is open until 11:59 p.m. EST, Thursday, October 23, 2008. Good Luck!**
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