Rockness Music’s Michael Napolitano Recommended Listening

February 12, 2015

“Music music music, music all day, music all night. Music makes me dance, sing and feel alright.”

In my home music is playing all day long.  We wake with classical, we dine with Jazz, we dance to all of it.  Recently some tiny friends and their adult counterparts asked me about my taste in music. “What do you listen to Michael?” – “What children’s artists do you like?”

Hmmmm…..good question. So I went digging. Music is my life. I consider myself the first Rocker. My father’s drum kit was my television, my uncle’s hammond organ was my playground. Anyone who knows me, knows it and I would have it no other way.

Below I’ve listed my favorite musical artists. Not only for their music releases but for their dedication to music, children and the furthering of the arts.

Renee and Jeremy – It’s a big world!

When my first daughter was born my friend bought me this CD which she cherished with her firstborn.

This is an acoustic male/female duet. The songs are gentle, touching and beautifully recorded. The melodies and harmonies of these songs are sung with such natural ease. It’s perhaps one of the most soothing records I’ve ever heard. Moreover, we still listen to it, and we still love it over seven years later.  The lyrics on some of these tracks are so genuine you will find that you are living them. Warning: Some songs may inspire a gentle tear or two.

Josh and the Jamtones!

Late in the game I discovered Josh and the Jamtones. There is something specific I like about this group. I like their ability to latch onto, and retain their own style.

Josh, the mastermind, keeps me laughing and smiling in his videos. The collective group he surrounds himself with are a gift basket bringing clever ideas, great songs, and visuals.  This outfit lives for our little artists and parents looking for something outside the box. Their songs are primarily of a reggae and ska ilk and they branch out to some wonderful music explorations.  To top this, Josh has designed a program called “Jamin’ with You” and he inspires tons of tots to rock out just like we do! Rock it out Josh!!!

Aaron Nigel Smith!

How about Aaron Nigel Smith?

Do you know this guy? Well you should. He’s been on TV, and released numerous records. What tops all of it – in 2009 Aaron and his wife formed the nonprofit One World Chorus with the goal of building bridges internationally through choral singing.  I’ve had the opportunity to meet and speak with Aaron. He is a positive force in the music world and a lovely person to be around. Plus my wife Heather went to music camp with him! Please check out all of his ongoings – it’s worth your while!

Recess Monkey!

We had the pleasure of checking out Recess Monkey Live at the Children’s Music Conference, KINDIECOMM last year.

I really liked their vibe. They were so much fun, and so very energetic. Most of all they remind me of guys I’ve played with over the years. Who knows maybe we’ll jam someday. Until then, buy their records and ROCK OUT!

Here is some adult music you and your children will love.

I’d like to give a few recommendations outside of the box. Here I want to discuss my two favorite supergroups of the past decade. What is a Supergroup?

A supergroup is a music group whose members are already successful as solo artists or as part of other groups or well known in other professions.  (Thanks Wikipedia!)

The first starts with a lovely story about my kids.

One day we are riding around Jersey City when I look in the rearview mirror and see my daughters head banging. They are bouncing their head in time to the music. To experiment I turn the music off and they yell – “Louder!”. This solidified my love of…

The Raconteurs.

The Raconteurs is a band composed of Jack White (the White Stripes) along with members Brendan Benson (Solo), Jack Lawrence (The Greenhornes) and Patrick Keeler (The Greenhornes).  I played it frequently and I still do. I love this record. Little did I know my daughters also loved the record. Their music is real rock-n-roll – so real I can taste the grooves and feel the thundering harmonized guitar lines. I highly suggest picking up any recording by this supergroup and enjoy.

Before we part I would like to give one more recommendation. This is another supergroup.

Monsters of Folk…

consisting of Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Conor Oberst and Mike Mogis from Bright Eyes, and M. Ward.  They had one release in late 2009 self titled ‘Monsters of Folk’.  This record is on constant repeat in our car. It’s not 100% clean so please give a listen before playing these tracks for your kids, but please, definitely play them for yourself and enjoy the creative lyrics, class ‘A’ engineering, harmonies and sick guitar licks.

Enjoy and keep rockin’!