Reason to Get Up Before Noon

AmandaLynn and Steve Boisen of The Barnkickers
By Gail Reynolds
CD Recommendation
Up Before Noon
The Barnkickers
Reynolds Rap To see my perky smile you might never guess that I am bitter.  Bitter, bitter, bitter, bitter!  Not 24/7, generally bitter, but peevish when accolades are heaped on a select few in the music industry, while others of  remarkable talent do not enjoy commensurate recognition and financial reward.That is why most Reynolds Raps focus on niche talent and “well known unknowns,” as John McCutcheon (see December’s column) dubbed them. I.e., those who meet the standard of the internationally syndicated radio program WoodSongs: artists who are not necessarily famous, just extraordinarily good.I recently channeled my inner-Oprah and gave  my bestie one of my favorite things, a copy of The Barnkickers Up Before Noon CD.

This 2009 gem features original compositions by the father-daughter duo, Steve and Amanda Boisen who accompany themselves on ukulele, bass, guitar and clarinet. The dozen songs have infectious melodies and witty, compelling lyrics.  Several have a vintage quality with a modern twist such as opener, “Clawfoot Tub,”  which deals with placing a loved one in an assisted living facility.

“Father Knows Best” is a charming waltz framed by “There is no end to the lengths I would go/To prove  that you are wrong about most things.”  Those words alone are worthy of being showcased in needlepoint.

It’s hard to resist quoting the entire “In Spite of You. ” The title itself suggests intentional ambiguity — despite or in retaliation?   Sarcasm abounds. “Yes you’re quite a guy/You are a credit to the gender.” Then, “And now I’ve lost my temper/And I’ll bet you took that too.”

The wry initial question of Amanda’s “Friendly Service Announcement,”  “What’s this mess on the floor? / I think it’s your ego” softens a seriously stern warning of  an inevitable disaster.  The following song, “Lortab Confessions,” is a more  flip treatment of bold kids who recreationally medicate and play “dodge ball with balloons.”

I am vexed that the viral, award winning video of “One Less Tear” did not elicit a single late night TV show invitation.

There is also The Barnkicker Ukulele Companion: A Songbook and Guide for Ukulele Players that is a treasury of uke tidbits for  both fledgling  and more advanced musicians who would like to play the songs on Up Before Noon.

Boisen’s prose style is reminiscent of another multitalented Steve,  Steve Allen.

Amanda  Boisen was quite young when Up Before Noon  was recorded. Recently she has ventured out on her own as Amanda Lynn with her own CD, fittingly titled Ambition.  More on that in a future column.

Up Before Noon is six years old, but good music has no limited shelf-life.

AmandaLynn and Steve Boisen of The Barnkickers
AmandaLynn and Steve Boisen of The Barnkickers
Steve Boisen of The Barnkickers
Steve Boisen of The Barnkickers
 Barnkickers-Up Before NoonCLICK TO LISTEN

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