From out of the DC metro area comes unanimous praise for the Parents’ Choice Award®-winning kindie band Mr. Jon & Friends, powered for nearly a decade by the husband-and-wife duo of Jon and Carrie Lewis. Now kids and families across the country can tune into the energy, fun, and sweetness of Mr. Jon & Friends’ brand of Raffi-inspired good sounds with the band’s third album, Rock & Rhyme.
Mr. Jon & Friends keeps laughter, dancing, and audience involvement at the forefront, performing an astounding variety of delightful and eminently child-appropriate material that includes sing-along songs, counting songs, dancing songs, storytelling songs, interactive songs, lullabies, and more.
With the release of Rock & Rhyme, Mr. Jon & Friends calls upon the talents of celebrated producer Matt Williams and a world-class roster of Nashville and LA-based players, including Jay Bellerose on drums and percussion (Alison Krauss, Willie Nelson, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, John Mellencamp, Diana Krall), Jennifer Condos on electric bass (Stevie Nicks, Bruce Springsteen, Over the Rhine), David Piltch on double bass (Gnarls Barkley, John Legend), and GMA Dove Award winner Ben Shive on keys and Hammond organ.
Blending the charm of guileless, straightforward delivery with a refreshing clarity of orchestration performed by spectacularly gifted instrumentalists and seasoned with a liberal sprinkling of gentle humor, Rock & Rhyme brings families a listening and participatory experience that respects the intelligence of both children and adults.
Rock & Rhyme opens with the title track, a fine “howdy do” that harkens back to the Jerry Lee Lewis era of rock ‘n roll, powered by the energy of Carrie Lewis’ piano playing and Jon Lewis’ direct, compelling vocal style. Next up is “Dance Party,” a get-up-and-dance number decorated by evocative tones from Ben Shive on the Hammond organ. After a bit of sotto voce funk on “Clap Your Hands” and the infectious rhythm of “Play My Drum,” we have story time, featuring splendid story-song renditions of “Tortoise and the Hare” and “Going on a Bear Hunt,” followed by the irrepressible activity songs “Let’s Move to Some Music” and “Animal Parade.” Jon Lewis seaons “Yellow Tube” with his mandolin playing to imbue it with a decidedly old-timey feel, contrasting beautifully with the more up-to-date, full band sound of the next track, “Alphabet Song.”
Carrie Lewis delivers some terrific vocals on “Ants in My Pants,” followed by the laid-back style of “Hermit Crab Going on a Walk.” Jon Lewis scores a 10 with his a cappella version of Raffi’s “Brush Your Teeth” and slips into his singer/songwriter mode on “Red Balloon.” Rock & Rhyme comes to a gentle landing with two “winding down to bedtime” songs sung by Carrie Lewis: “Summer Rain” and “My Little One.” The album signs off with some enchanting patter on “George is Asleep,” which reminds everyone that Jon Lewis has performed for thirty years as a ventriloquist with his puppet partner, George the monkey, an essential element of every Mr. Jon & Friends show.
Prior to his adventures with Mr. Jon & Friends, singer/songwriter/musician Jon Lewis spent a decade playing shows and recording albums for adults while relishing the excitement of appearing on TV, being a finalist in a national songwriting competition, and receiving international radio airplay from Belize to Ireland. With his wife and performing partner, classically trained pianist/songwriter/vocalist Carrie Lewis, he started a family in 2008, and by 2009 Jon found himself presenting programs and shows for large groups of kids as a staff member in the children’s department of the downtown Frederick, MD public library. These two sparks ignited Jon’s interest in songwriting and performing for kids. His list of venues quickly grew to include children’s festivals along with notable bookings like Jammin’ Java in Vienna, VA.
Mr. Jon & Friends’ eponymously titled debut album, released in 2012, was honored with a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award and rapidly became a CDBaby top seller. The band’s second album, Get Your Move On, released in 2014, is also a CDBaby top seller.
Fast forward to 2018, and Mr. Jon & Friends plays more than 100 shows annually, sharing the stage with bands like Grammy nominees The Pop Ups and Disney TV’s The Imagination Movers. Whether backed by a band, performing as a duo, or appearing solo, Mr. Jon & Friends always brings smiles to faces young and old.
Rock & Rhyme is available at all digital retailers, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, CDBaby, and more, as well as at Mr. Jon & Friends shows. Streaming is available on YouTube and Spotify.
Album Details: Rock & Rhyme
Release Date: October 14, 2018
For ages 0 – 10.
Label: Mr. Jon & Friends
SRP: $15 for CD or digital download
Run Time: 47 minutes
Mr. Jon & Friends – Performance Highlights – Nov./Dec. 2018
Nov. 2 and Dec.7 – Cabin John Mall, Potomac, MD
Dec. 8 – Jammin’ Java, Vienna, VA
Dec. 9 – Dublin Roasters Coffeehouse, Frederick, MD
Dec. 15 – Macaroni Kid Christmas Event, Damascus, MD
# # #
For more information about Mr. Jon & Friends, to request a Rock & Rhyme CD, or to schedule an interview, please contact Elizabeth Waldman Frazier at Waldmania PR: 415-334-2787 or firstname.lastname@example.org.