Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang
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Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


"Music We Like-Best of 2003"

A KIDS RECORD - Huh? A rare record indeed that your 2-7 year old will enjoy - AND SO WILL YOU PARENTS! Interesting kid-pop with cool stories and messages...
-- Marc Weinstein, Owner of Amoeba Music (San Francisco, Berkeley & Los Angeles)
- Amoeba Music


"Top Ten Albums for 2003"

1. Bettie Serveert, Log 22 (Palomine/Hidden Agenda).
2. Liz Phair, Liz Phair (Capitol).
3. Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang, Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang (Whispersquish/Orchard).
4. OutKast, Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (Arista).
5. Fleetwood Mac, Say You Will (Reprise).
6. Stew, Something Deeper Than These Changes (Smile).
7. Fountains of Wayne, Welcome Interstate Managers (S-Curve/Virgin).
8. Baxter Dury, Len Parrot’s Memorial Lift (Beggars Banquet).
9. Gillian Welch, Soul Journey (Alcony).
10. New Pornographers, Electric Version (Matador).
- Village Voice, LA City Beat


"What's Rocking Our World"

Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang in which she and her side project band celebrate sharing, baths, good manners, and monkeys. From "Farm Animal Friends" (a rival in catchiness to Old Macdonald...")on, it's as good as tot rock gets, and a tonic for grown-ups who miss Jonathan Richmond's midperiod infantilism. Gang: A - Entertainment Weekly 9/03


"I Don't Want to Grow Up!"

Adults who stay playful in the face of realities like mortgages: The Good Time Gang (Gwendolyn in pigtails).
By CHRISTOPHER NOXON

It's fair to say that the singer-songwriter who calls herself Gwendolyn never thought her band, the Goodtime Gang, would appeal to anyone over the age of, say, 7. A typical performance includes covers of the preschool standards "Bingo" and "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" and original compositions that tackle topics like human anatomy, the importance of sharing and bugs.

So it was with some surprise that Gwendolyn, who is 28 and performs in a Raggedy Ann dress, cartoonish pigtails and knee-high socks, found herself one recent evening in a packed Los Angeles nightclub performing for a crowd of fans whose idea of a stiff drink extends beyond undiluted o.j. Many in the audience sat cross-legged on the floor, cocktails perched on bobbing knees. Some sang along.

The performance was part of a bill that began with an elaborate puppet show and ended with an appearance by the Trachtenburg Family Slideshow Players, a "conceptual art rock band" from New York, which includes a 9-year-old girl on drums. For Gwendolyn, who has no children of her own but who says her songs for children are inspired by "a 4-year-old kid inside me," performing children's music for an audience of grown-ups was more than just a hipster lark — it was liberating.

"All the inner children of these adults are suddenly speaking up and saying, `Hey wait — what about us?' " she said. " `It's our turn to have some fun.' "
- New York Times Sunday Styles 8/03


"Kids' Music For All"

With the kids; Unique (oodily, oodily); The kids' music of Gwendolyn and her gang is a raucous delight!
Jessica Hundley. (Copyright The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2003.

Once there was a girl named Gwendolyn, a young lady with a fondness for simple, one-name monikers, vintage dresses with plenty of flounce, patent- leather Mary Janes and pigtails. She grew up outside Los Angeles, the daughter of working musicians, yet she didn't begin playing music herself until she was 19, after stumbling across her sister writing a song on their father's guitar. "I was immediately fascinated," recalls Gwendolyn. "I had been acting before that, but when I saw her playing, I was like, 'Give me that!'

By the time I was 22, I had written over a hundred songs." Since that time Gwendolyn has been playing in and around L.A., and over the years her band, also named Gwendolyn, has won a loyal Eastside following. The music they make is cheerfully indefinable, strange and whimsical and threaded through with an innocence that inspired producer Joey Waronker to ask the band to contribute a song to his "Chuck & Buck" soundtrack. "He wanted something that had the feel of Marlo Thomas' 'Free to Be You and Me,' " explains Gwendolyn, who will perform Sunday at the Los Feliz Street Fair. "I said, sure, I'd try." Her translation of Thomas' 1972 children's hit was "Freedom of the Heart (Ooodily, Ooodily)," a giddy, utterly irresistible romp that won over the film's audiences and created a new demand for Gwendolyn's unique music. "It was well-loved by people who heard it," says Gwendolyn with a laugh, "which was nice. And after that a friend suggested I write a children's album, so I did."

The result is "Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang," a cheery collaboration between the young musician and her boyfriend, Brandon Jay, a talented multi-instrumentalist and member of local acts such as the 88 and Quazar & the Bamboozled. Gwendolyn and friends, accomplished musicians and quirky and insightful storytellers, have created the kind of children's album many parents have waited for: one free of sugary sentiment and cutesy lyricism.

"The music speaks for itself," says actor John C. Reilly ("Boogie Nights," "The Hours"), who, along with his children (ages 1 and 4) is a devoted "Good Time Gang" fan. "There's a sense of play in the music, and the lyrical content is instructional without being finger-wagging," he says. "It doesn't try to tell kids what to do, which, as anyone who has kids will tell you, never works anyway." Indeed, while most music specifically made for children tends to either preach to its audience or drip with condescending goofiness, "The Good Time Gang" has mastered the art of being childlike without being childish. In "Please" they encourage good manners and politeness with a bright and bouncy melody. In the singsong "The Selfish Shellfish," they warn of the repercussions of greed. In the rockin' "Scrub, Scrub, Scrub," they prove how fun bath time can be. "I think the key with kids' music is that it appeals to adults as well," says Reilly, softly singing a line from "Please": "That's what keeps it on rotation." Reilly eventually became so fond of "The Good Time Gang," in fact, that he invited the band to play at his 4- year-old's birthday party. "What I discovered by having them in my living room is that not only do they not condescend to the kids, they don't condescend to the music either. They play with as much focus and commitment as they do for their other music." "What was most important to me about having them play," says Reilly, "was to have my kids understand that music doesn't come out of a tape player -- to show them that it's something they can do too. "That's a really beautiful, empowering thing to share with kids, and it gives them the self-esteem and the confidence to feel like they can make music themselves," Reilly says. "And that is what keeps music going." *


LA WEEKLY
- LOS ANGELES TIMES. Los Angeles, Calif.: Jun 5, 2003.


Discography

Gwendolyn and The Good Time Gang (Whispersquish 2003)
Played on various children's radio programs nationally

Hear tracks at http:www.gwendolyn.net/gtg

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio


Since its release in May of 2003, Gwendolyn and The Good Time Gang's self titled debut album has gained an enormous popularity both in Los Angeles and nationwide. While much is due to their west coast performances at various street fairs, family festivals, record stores, celebrity birthday parties and even the occasional nightclub, their wide spaning press coverage hasn't hurt any. With full page features in the Los Angeles Times as well as the New York Times, it's no surprise The Good Time Gang’s CD was the only one to receive an “A” in the music reviews section of the September 12, 2003 issue of Entertainment Weekly; People love this band's sound. It gives families the opportunity to finally agree on what's being played in the car! In the words of Ms. Joan Jett: "I LOVE ROCK N' ROLL!" (And so does my 3 year old).

It had been a long time since Los Angeles songwriter Gwendolyn had listened to any children’s music when a friend suggested she do an album for kids. Gwendolyn imagined what kind of music she’d like to hear if she were four again and out came the nutty, irresistibly playful tunes of Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang.

The Good Time Gang sounds different than most children’s music due to Gwendolyn’s refreshing, anything-goes attitude towards songwriting. This approach allows her to break through the standard nursery rhyme formula and creates a new sound that kids respond to instantly. Gwendolyn has a natural ability to do voices, and she developed a variety of characters who help her take listeners on a silly-willy adventure through music learning and childhood fun. The mood is nurturing and spontaneous, goofy and sweet. Best of all, the songs help children learn about the world around them. “The Selfish Shellfish” illuminates the importance of sharing, while “Farm Animal Friends” imitates the voices of barnyard critters. Other songs teach lessons in manners, friendship, and self-esteem. The tune “Scrub,Scrub, Scrub” even makes taking a bath seem like a whooping good time!

Music is an ideal outlet for children, and Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang is a perfect way to entertain children ages 1 through 8 while teaching them valuable lessons. Better yet, the songs are performed in a manner parents can enjoy with their children! Whatever age you are, Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang is sure to put a smile on your face.

For more information, please contact:

Josh Mills @ It’s Alive! Media
(323)851-4411
itsalivemedia@aol.com

Roxiene @ New Entertainment Management
(310) 951-4773
roxiene@newentertainment.net