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Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Band Americana Children's Music


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Parents' Choice Silver Award"

Just try to resist moving to the tuneful and muscular beat propelling Los Angeles-based indie singer-guitarist Steve Pierson's original brand of roots music. A fine lyricist as well, Pierson layers his appealing original songs with feel-good messages that support his target audience without a hint of preachiness, whether it's a "let's play" frolic done '50s hand jive style ("Come On By"), a bluesy reminder that "You can decide what you think is cool" ("Be Yourself") or encouragement that after a disappointment things are bound to get better ("Brand New Day,") with a pitch-perfect "doobie doobie shoo bop bop" chorus.) "Don't Play With Your Food" is a giggle, "Groovy Day" is warmed with sunny brass accompaniment and the last track, "Begin the Day Again," a parent's country lullaby, provides a sweet and tender finish. - Parents' Choice Awards

"People Magazine - Best Kids CD's Now"

A family effort featuring musician Steve Pierson, wife Melinda McGraw and daughter Lucy, this charmer puts a rootsy spin on feel-great ditties like "Be Yourself" and "Groovy Day." - People Magazine

"Pick of the Day Starred Review"

For their second album for kids, Steve Pierson and his Los Angeles-based band Jambo rock as they perform 14 original feel-good songs by Pierson. The numbers display a wide range of musical styles, with a bluesy thread coursing throughout—a reflection of Pierson’s musical background. Lyrics are on target for the school-age set and pull no punches, yet always maintain a kid-friendly and relevant perspective. The band is packed with a powerhouse of professional musicians who are very polished, never missing a beat. Melinda McGraw harmonizes beautifully throughout. The album opens with “Hootenanny,” a call to get up and dance and closes with the lovely acoustic lullaby “Begin the Day Again.” Other standouts include “Let’s Be Friends” (about the importance of friends), “Try” (a bluegrass tune that encourages taking a risk for great rewards), “Be Yourself” (a bluesy encouragement to stay true to yourself), “Your Sweet Smile” (a delightful ditty about a parent’s love), “Don’t Play with Your Food” (a blues number that features three young girls, including Pierson’s daughter), and very grown-up sounding samba “Groovy Day” (about experiencing a perfect day). A surefire hit.–Stephanie Bange, Wright State University, Dayton, OH - School Library Journal

"JAMBO is a Featured Artist"

We love listening to the CD Lucy's Parade from Jambo. We'll be playing the tracks from this CD in our "Featured Artists" portion of the show for the next couple of weeks. We really enjoyed getting to see Jambo in concert at Austin Kiddie Limits! - Gooney Bird Kids

"Review: Lucy's Parade - Jambo"

The album is a straight-forward roots-rock album geared at the preschool/kindergarten set. Bandleader Steve Pierson, a blues guitarist, has a knack for writing the happiest blues-inflected tunes you'll ever hear. The standout track here is "Lady Bug Boogie," an infectious and rollicking boogie with ever-so-slightly silly lines like "I like all kinds of corn / But my favorite kind of corn / Is the candy corn." Other fun songs here are the "Where Do They Go?" (a bluesy and slightly fanciful song from the point of view of the preschool-aged child wondering what his parents do during the day) and the strutting title track. "Five Butterflies" is a slow track that doesn't sound a lot like the rest of the upbeat album, but it's a sweet counting song.

I should note that the band sounds really good. Pierson's got an appealing voice and plays a mean guitar. Pierson's wife Melinda McGraw deserves special mention here as her harmony vocals add a lot to the songs throughout the album, but the whole band just sounds like they're having fun.

Given its lyrical focus, the 38-minute album is targeted at kids ages 3 through 6. You can hear samples from the disk at its CDBaby page or listen/download a few tracks from their Myspace page.

... what they've done is put together a solid group of songs, and that's enough for most of us (including me). Lucy's Parade is a well-done CD that's firmly for kids but with a rootsy musical approach that will appeal to a lot of parents. Recommended. - Zooglobble

"Not just for the kiddies"

Not just for the kiddies
Jambo rocks for children - and their parents - at Kidspace
By Bliss

With numerous family friendly concerts brightening area stages, it's logical to assume summer's a fantastic time for parents to take their tykes to hear live music. Right?

Well, it may seem that way to those of us whose "kids" trot around on four furry paws but, as a singer-songwriter friend who's also a mom recently mused about those kids' concerts, why limit children to "just for kids" music? Why not expose them to good music, to varied music of all stripes?

Her attitude is shared by many parents, musical and not, who would rather chew staples out from underneath their toenails than endure one more microblip of shiny schlock from Radio Disney.

Count blues guitarist and indie film composer Steve Pierson among that group. After becoming a dad himself he started performing children's music, with an emphasis on musicianship. Now he's watching other parents respond favorably to "hits" by his group Jambo like "Lady Bug Boogie," "I Love My Puppy Dog" and "Where Do They Go?" ("When they leave me alone at school, you know/ Where do my mommy and daddy go?"). The lyrics are accessible but not dumbed-down, and the music's rooted in engaging, bluesy grooves.

"When my daughter Lucy was born five years ago, I didn't want to be on the road so much, so I started writing some songs for her," explains Pierson, who released the solo album "Blues Head" in 2000. (Eagle-eyed fans may remember him playing alongside Jake La Botz in the band Blues Hammer in the film "Ghost World.") "I'm not a fan of the overcompressed, hyped-up, poppy music that's churned out for kids...

"Now," he chuckles, "I find myself on the road again, but doing children's music."

He's looking forward to upcoming shows at McCabe's and the Austin City Limits Festival, and to the late-September release of Jambo's album "Lucy's Parade" through CD Baby. He aspires to the respected plateau occupied by "rootsy, vibey" children's artist Dan Zanes.

"The really fun thing is watching the adults' reaction also. I know the look on their faces because I have it when I take Lucy to something I don't necessarily want to be at myself. You'll see parents standing there [thinking] this will probably be annoying, and then you see them go, 'Wait a minute!' It's almost like seeing them hold a beer at a blues festival.

"I didn't expect this to evolve as it has. Coming from the world of roots and blues, there's a certain attitude and swagger that you have, and I didn't really know how that would translate to children's shows," he confesses. "[But] the kids are so into it. I think it's needed out there." - Pasadena Weekly

"Hey! You Got Kids’ Music in My Huge Rock Festival!"

Hey! You Got Kids’ Music in My Huge Rock Festival!
By Bill Childs, HF Contributing Writer

Beware, oh people-who-go-to-huge-rock-festivals. There’s an intruder. And, if you’re paying attention to where you’re reading this (and you look like you are), you’ll guess who it is... Kids’ musicians! (Cue the piercing violin notes a la Psycho.)

Yes, friends, at least two huge rock festivals - Chicago’s Lollapalooza and the Austin City Limits Festival (ACL) - have made a real commitment to music for children, bringing in kid-friendly bands from all over the country. While these bands are far from a complete list of up-and-comers in family-friendly music, they do represent a pretty amazing lineup of artists. Having lived in Austin for several years in the ‘90s, we jumped at the chance to check out ACL’s kids’ stage - cleverly denominated “Austin Kiddie Limits” (AKL) (Lollapalooza’s equivalent is “Kidzapalooza”).

And we weren’t disappointed, even though we only attended on one of the three days, and even though Austin in September boasts temperatures of, oh, I don’t know, 245 degrees. To follow you’ll find a quick tour of who we saw...

We then saw Jambo. I hadn't heard anything by this band - led by Steve Pierson and inspired by his adorable daughter, who is the subject of their best song, "Lucy's Parade" - but his rootsy rock (with a hint of blues) is catchy and instantly accessible. Maybe more than most, this is a band - they bounce stuff off of each other and are tight without being robotic. Their new record is produced by (Steve Pierson and) Tor Hyams, who also booked the festival (and Kidzapalooza) and sat in on keyboards with several bands; he knows a good band when he hears it. Jambo is one. - Hilltown Families

"Parents' Choice Recommended Award"

Parents' Choice Recommended Award
Lucy's Parade
Spring 2008 Music
Ages: 2 - 8 yrs.

Los Angeles area blues musician Steve Pierson fronts the band Blues Head in the clubs and halls at night, but by day, as a dad, it's the rootsy JAMBO band for children.

Mixing bluegrass, blues, and a spoonful of rock and roll, Pierson crafts songs that celebrate nature, animals, bugs and just the pure joy of being a kid. Songs such as the delightful, banjo accompanied, "Bounce" and the out and out rocking "Lady Bug Boogie" will have both children and parents dancing around the living room. "Still Got Growin' To Do," a lovely country blues, celebrates the joy of learning new skills. Pierson has made his debut children's album of happy music that will have listeners smiling, with tunes like the New Orleans Zydeco influenced "Lucy's Parade" and the light reggae celebration of life in "It's A Good Day."

Pierson (a witty writer and great slide guitarist) is accompanied by Grammy winning guitarist Laurence Juber, Herb Pedersen on banjo, Gary Mallaber (Steve Miller Band, Van Morrison) on drums, Philip Bynoe (Steve Via) on bass, and Michael Murphy (Joe Walsh) on keyboards. Melinda McGraw also provides some terrific support and occasional lead vocal.
Lahri Bond ©2008 Parents' Choice

Lahri Bond is a father, a writer and the art director for Dirty Linen: The Magazine of Folk and World Music. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books. - Parents' Choice Awards


Jambo - "Lucy's Parade"

Jambo - "Hootenanny"



Jambo is a muscial journey that transports you though the roots of American music. One part Mississippi Delta, one part New Orleans street corner, and one part Chicago juke joint, JAMBO is all parts fun. The songs speak to children's imaginations. They are about growing up, sharing, and the inclusion of all children. They promote self-esteem, independence, and celebrate individuality. And, of course, some are just about dancing and having fun.

Based in Los Angeles, Jambo has become a staple of the LA Kids music scene playing regularly at venues across the city including the Skirball Center for the Arts, The Grammy Museum, and The Geffen Playhouse's Saturday Scene. Jambo has also played all over the country including recent appearances at Lollapalooza, The Austin City Limits Music Festival, and The Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores Alabama.

Jambo draws it's influences from the Roots music that built the foundation for American music today. Their mission is to give children a taste of "the good stuff" early on in their lives in an effort to fill the void left out by vanishing music programs in the schools. To do this, Jambo put together an amazing band of accomplished musicians that's credits include; The Steve Miller Band, Tower of Power, Joe Walsh, Steve Via, Wings, Kenny Loggins, Van Morrison, and many others.

Jambo was created by former "Blues Head" front man, slide guitar virtuoso and soulful blues singer, Steve Pierson. Steve's daughter, Lucy, served as the inspiration to write songs for a younger audience. The songs are clever, funny and sincere, and many give children the chance to interact with the music and the performances. Steve is an engaging leader of the band who's wit and smile entertain young and old(er) alike!

Jambo's debut CD, "Lucy's Parade" received a Parents Choice Recommended award and features the powerhouse band led by Steve Pierson, and joined by drummer Gary Mallaber (Steve Miller Band, Van Morrison), bassist Philip Bynoe (Steve Vai), and keyboardist Michael Murphy (Joe Walsh). The album also includes special guests: Grammy winning guitarist, Laurence Juber and Bluegrass banjo luminary, Herb Pedersen.

Jambo's second CD, "Hootenanny" was released in February 2013 and has already won a Parents' Choice Silver Award and is one of People Magazine's "Best Kids CDs Now!" In addition to the regular lineup includes more special guests including The Texicali Horns, drummer, Herman Mathews (Tom Jones), percussionist David Leach (Ben Harper) and Kindie music pioneer, Tor Hyams.

2 Parents' Choice Awards
Los Angeles Music Award
Independent Song Competition Award

For more information about Jambo, go to: www.jamboland.com