Parents: Do your kids drag their feet in the morning? Kids: Do you have trouble getting going? Local percussionist/songwriter Billy Jonas may have the solution to both your problems.
His new CD features “The Wake Up Suite,” a collection of songs with titles such as “Gotta Get Up,” “Two Minute Shower” and “Eat Something!”
Jonas and local 8-year-old Zedd Littlejohn sing duets designed “to be easily learned and re-sung, to help kids and parents move their morning process along with as much fun as possible,” Jonas says.
The songs are part of Happy Accidents, Jonas’ seventh recording. On Sunday afternoon, Jonas and friends will hold a CD release party and benefit concert.
Jonas loves performing for a good cause—or six. The show, billed as the Hands of Hope Community Benefit, will help support six community organizations.
The Hebrew principle of tikkun olam inspired the benefit.
“Tikkun olam translates as ‘healing the world,’” Jonas explains. “Many Jewish people embrace this idea as a guiding principle to our lives and our actions. With this event, we’re offering help with the healing of the world through offering resources to those in need.”
Jonas and his guests will perform songs from Happy Accidents, a family-oriented recording that features 19 songs written by Jonas and friends and several adaptations of traditional songs. It’s the follow up to his award-winning What Kind of Cat are You?!
“The CD has an implicit message as well of healing the world. It’s about embracing everything life brings to you and learning how to dance with it, how to move with it,” Jonas says.
The arrangements feature Jonas’ unique percussion instruments, made from found and foraged materials such as large plastic water bottles and old trash cans. More than 40 local and regional musicians are included on the recording, as well as the voices of students from local elementary schools, including Ira B. Jones, Isaac Dickson and the Katuah Sudbury School. In addition, The Embe Marimba Band from Evergreen Community Charter School and the Firecracker Jazz Band make special appearances.
It was recorded over a year in a variety of local studios, including Hollow Reed, Possum Palace, Upstream and Landslide.
“The result is in itself, a happy accident,” Jonas says. “I can’t wait for people to hear it.”
Jonas’ Happy Accidents band includes percussionist River Guerguerian, vocalist Ashley Farmer and bassist Jake Wolf, plus a guest appearance by vocalist Bill Melanson. The concert also will feature Grammy Award-winning duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, as well as local kid-hop artist Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.
The event will benefit three local schools: Maccabi Academy of Asheville, New City Christian School and New Classical Academy. Each school chose a local not-for-profit organization to support as well: MANNA FoodBank, Animal Compassion Network and Pisgah View Community Peace Garden. Maccabi Academy has administrated the project and helped the schools choose their beneficiaries.
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo says Jonas asked him “to add my vibe” to the “Brush Your Teeth” tune. Skidoo and his wife, Brooke, and daughter, Saki, will perform a mini set at the Hands of Hope concert.
“That’s one of the good things you can do,” Skidoo says. “Most musicians don’t make a lot of money, so one way we can give back to the community is to do benefit concerts.”
[Anne Fitten Glenn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]
who: Billy Jonas and his Happy Accidents Band, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, and Grammy Award-winning duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer
what: Hands of Hope Community Benefit and CD release concert
where: Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
when: Sunday, Dec. 21. 1 p.m. ($11 children, $16 adults. Available through Thomas Wolfe Auditorium’s ticket sales at 251-5505.) CDs for sale at local stores including The Toy Box, Ultimate Ice Cream, Dancing Bear Toys, Enviro Depot, Cherry Street Kids, Heaven Rains Boys & Girls, Spellbound Children’s Bookshop, Monkey Business Toy Shop, The Littlest Birds, Growing Young Cafe, Once Upon a Time and Accent on Books. www.billyjonas.com.)