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Milkshake Band

It's a Great Day for Kids Music!

Milkshake Band, Kids Rock

I love music and I want my kids to love music. My son is 2 1/2 years old and I feel like he is in a bit of a musical slump. He likes to sing the old time songs like Twinkle Little Star or Old McDonald...but I want more for him. He deserves musical variety, and quite frankly I could use some musical variety! Why is it that there has to be such a large divide between the music he enjoys and the music I enjoy? Granted the musical topics will be different, but why not Rock or Jazz or Blues? I can crank up my own rock, but there will come a day soon when my son will start asking questions about adult lyrics that I am just not ready to answer.

One day recently I had had enough of his music and made it my personal mission to help nudge his musical tastes in a direction I could enjoy. Call it responsibility to my kids. Call it self-preservation! That search led me to Milkshake, a wonderful band based out of Baltimore, which has become nationally recognized for their wonderful tunes and lyrics which connect with kids. Off I went to buy their second CD Bottle of Sunshine and now we have a new problem in our family. I can't get these wonderful songs out of my head!

I called Lisa Mathews, the lead singer of Milkshake, and she was nice enough to take some time to come have a coffee and talk about the band, it's genesis and where she sees it going. Lisa is genuine and humble, and sees Milkshake as a medium to connect with children and give them their own musical voice.

The History of Milkshake

Long before Milkshake, Lisa and guitarist Mikel Gehl were actively working the Baltimore music scene with their band Love Riot. Coincidentally, when I was living in Baltimore back in 1993, I happened into a Mount Vernon coffee shop and heard Love Riot performing. I loved the music and bought a cassette that I still have today. While Love Riot put out a few albums, represented the United States and won Yamaha’s Soundquest competition in Japan, and even appeared in Homicide: Life on the Street, there was never that big bang where they took off in the US music scene.

Love Riot faded away as both Mikel and Lisa turned their attention to having kids, but that musical drive was never far away. Lisa found herself making up short songs to sing to her daughter. Practical songs like counting fingers and toes, eating breakfast, or lullabies to get Jesse to sleep. Mikel would come over with his guitar and brainstorm ways for them to keep their hands in the music scene while still being able to focus on their families. That persistence led to the genesis of their grand experiment, Milkshake...create authentic music that speaks to children and grows with their own children.

Lisa and Mikel recorded their first CD Happy Songs in 2002, a mix of tunes targeted as much to toddlers as to new parents grappling with the refocusing priorities and emotional highs and lows of kids. (Every father should listen to Dance on My Shoes.) Four albums later, Milkshake has grown in popularity with original songs and videos for PBS KIDS, Discovery Kids' ToddWorld, and Noggin. The band has grown to include Michael Sheppard on electric guitar, Tom Moon on drums, and Brian Simms on accordion and keyboard.

Its a Great Day

The best part of Milkshake, is that their music is authentic and stays true to kids. How do you know? Lisa's nine year old daughter Jesse is as much a musical muse as a critic, letting them know what works. She provides the creative material, and Lisa and the band channels it into great music for our kids.

Milkshake's fourth CD Great Day has a little more of a rock edge and tackles 6-9 year old topics as materialism (Want It), conflicts with friends (Enemies), and youthful optimism (Great Day).

What's next for Milkshake? Lisa and Mikel always saw Milkshake as an experiment that would run its course, as their kids grow up. They have released a CD every two years, starting with Happy Songs, followed with Bottle of Sunshine, Play! and most recently Great Day. My son is only 2 1/2, but I am already stocking up on Milkshake music for the future. We look forward to their next CD in 2011.

Picking your First CD

Milkshake's music has grown with their kids, so each album is target for a certain age range. Try picking your first album by your child's age, but expect to get the whole set.

Newborn - 2 years
Milkshake - Happy Songs
Happy Songs

August 10, 2002
Milkshake - Happy Songs
4-5 years
Milkshake - Bottle of Sunshine
Bottle of Sunshine

October 5, 2004
Milkshake - Bottle of Sunshine
5-6 years
Milkshake - Play

November 14, 2006
Milkshake - Play!
6-9 years
Milkshake - Great Day
Great Day

August 25, 2009
Milkshake - Great Day

Still not sure if Milkshake is for your kids? Check out the tutu that Lisa wears for ever performance. Over the top? Not at all. Look at the crowd of children bopping up and down with their matching tutus, singing along. Milkshake is not singing for us, they are reaching out to our children, singing to their hopes and imagination, and strumming on the thoughts we had as kids. Make room on your music shelf, it's a Great Day for kids music.

Website: http://www.milkshakemusic.com

Article Date: 10/25/2009