2. April 18th Elephant
5. Robert P.
6. Difficult to say
8. Scape goat
15. Citizen 57-p
16. Fruit bats
18. The egg sermon
19. Pink revolt
20. The theory of everything
22. These wide spaces
24. Shopping list
28. This is our time
The Mystery and the Hum
1. Motel Room in Davenport
2. Change My Channel
3. Good Luck Charm
4. Sit Tight
5. Raining Down from Satellite
6. Georgia Clay
7. Ever So Slightly
8. Don't Give a Damn
10. Windshield Reflections
11. This Lifeboat's on Fire
12. The Heart of the Midnight Sun
13. Trembling in the Beams
The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep
1. The Pigeons Couldn't Sleep
2. Winning Team
3. Good Idea
4. War of Words
5. There Comes A Time
6. The Ship of Last Hope
9. 17 Minutes To 1
10. A Dog Can Drink Stagnant Watert
11. February Twenty First
12. Save A Little Honey
13. If We Could Hold Each Other's Hunger
1. Loaves Of Bread
2. Kneel Down
3. This Afternoon In The Rain
4. Black Rolled Into Black
5. Imperfect World
6. Wet Matches
7. Take It Easy On Me
9. What's Your Name
10. One Minute Longer
11. Another Day
Folks who think of Peter Himmelman as a mellow folkie who writes introspective songs while strumming an acoustic guitar will only be half surprised here. The introspective lyrics still abound. But there's a definite rock and even blues feel to many of the tunes on his new record. And - surprise, surprise - Peter plays all the electric guitars, sometimes loud, and always right on the money.
Things are a little different right off the bat with “Loaves of Bread.” A cool electric guitar figure sets the feel. Before it's too far in, you might even think of it as blues. Some fine slide dominates “Wet Matches.” a folk-rocker of major proportions. “Consumed” is an actual blues that sounds like it came from someone who's listened to a lot of Chicago blues. Nasty slide and rhythm dominate the tune. It's one that might even surprise the most avid Himmelman fans. By the time we reach”One Minute Longer,” and its Knopfler-esque soloing, you've become quite accustomed to the fact that Peter can do more than strum his acoustic guitar.
Lyrically, some of the songs are obviously fueled by the fact that his younger sister was kiled in a recent car accident. Most obvious is the title cut. In the past, Peter's been referred to as Dylan's son-in-law because of his marriage to Dylan's daughter/ But it's time to call Himmelman what he really is - a fine songwriter and able musician.
Peter Himmelman: Imperfect World
Peter Himmelman is one of those singer-songwriters who, despite having released several albums for the majors (including Island and Columbia), has never really scored much in the way of mainstream popularity, leaving him trapped in that most dreaded of niches: “cult hero.” If Imperfect World is a harder, more bluesy album that most have come to expect from Himmelman (B.B. King needs to record “Consumed” sooner than later), well, he's got a reason to sing the blues; his younger sister died in a car crash not long ago, and this album was undoubtedly a cathartic one, given the lyrics of such songs as “Kneel Down” (“We don't run in the house of God / We only crawl”) and the reggae-inspired “Take It Easy On Me.” Himmelman's faith - Judaism - is one he's never been afraid to wear on his sleeve and, with that to rely on, Imperfect World isn't nearly as melancholy as one might expect; this is an album about, as Himmelman himself has said, his “changing perceptions” in the wake of his sister's death. Lyrically, he's at the top of his game and, creatively, he shows no signs of flagging anytime soon. ~Will Harris (05/27/05)
PHILADELPHIA CITY PAPER
Between releasing children's albums and scoring TV shows, Peter Himmelman had gotten away from the somber themes he'd explored in his 1986 solo debut, This Father's Day . His latest CD gains back the weight. Partly inspired by his sister's death, the bluesy Imperfect World (Majestic Recordings) is spiritual and spirited, angry but not angsty. This one's for the grownups.
In Peter Himmelman's Imperfect World, things are all wrong - and that's all right. The veteran singer/songwriter's 11th full-length (not including three children's recordings returns to the electric guitar-driven formula of 1998's Love Thinketh No Evil, featuring blues- and pop-based narrative of would-a-beens and should-a-beens seeking redemption against the odds. Unlike many singer/songwriters, however, Himmelman's work offers solace by suggesting there is order, albeit inexplicable order, in our flawed world. “the world is a magnet, and I';m just a piece of steel,” Himmelman sings without rancor on “Wet Matches.” These songs won't change your life, but their heartfelt delivery makes this Imperfect World a lot easier to live with.
Imperfect World (Majestic Recordings)
One can beg the “son of Dylan” cliché with Peter Himmelman, as he is Bob the Bard's son-in-law. And the comparison is apt, since his 11th release resonates with poetics, mysticism, wisdom and wit, and kick-ass power folk. His day gig may be scoring Judging Amy with a sideline making kids music, but this is serious stuff. With his slash'n'sear electric guitar at the front of a punch'n'jab rock combo, he ponders existence and loss on the title track, fealty to the big dude up above on “Kneel Down” and the little things in life on the Tom Petty-ish “This Afternoon in the Rain.” Later Himmelman travels from snaky Delta blues (“Consumed”) to skanking reggae (“Take it Easy on Me”). On this near-perfect CD, Peter Himmelman rates right up there with Bob, Bruce, Elvis C., Warren Z. and the rest of the masters of smart rocking songcraft.
FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM
Peter Himmelman, Imperfect World Majestic Recordings:
The songs on this Minnesota folkie's 13th CD are catchy in a sometimes downer kind of way. That's because they were written after the death of his younger sister in a car accident; the standouts address his grief most directly. On the title tune, the precise description of the street scene after the wreck, where "loons cry on the lake in the mists," he finds a place to address her absence, with a wash of guitar after. Occasionally, and only occasionally, either the reverb or the anguish turn the words into a mumble when his point seems most important. The understatedness might not have been so overstated. But the world's not perfect.
1. The Deepest Parts
2. So Many Little Lies
3. Racing Off To Nowhere
4. In The Ceaseless Din
5. Love That Lasts
6. Still Don't Know
7. Red Like Jupiter
8. Discipline Of Rain
9. The Death Of Dreams
10. One Shot
11. All Used Up
12. The Scent Of Autumn Burning
13. Josiah (bonus track)
14. The Best Kind Of Answer (bonus track)
Himmelman makes the most of musical
talents By Rosa Colucci
Ask Peter Himmelman to describe what he does, and you'll hear enough
to build a fat resume.
"I think of myself as a pretty good and gifted songwriter, really good
guitarist ... an amalgam of a lot of different abilities. I'm not just the
'composer/musician' you put on some tax form. I think of myself as a
And that's with him momentarily forgetting to talk about his painting,
photography, television work and the other dozen or so projects he's
Himmelman, on tour in support of his new CD, "Unstoppable Forces,"
acknowledges he's in "somewhat of a weird place. What I'm doing right
now is certainly not reflected on the CD, because I don't think it can
Indeed. Anyone who has ever seen Himmelman perform can attest that
his show is a tour de force -- a musical quilt of ballads, rock and pop
combined with humorous insight, commentary and an infectious joy
that leaves fans wanting more.
Perhaps that's why he's found satisfaction in his television work scoring
music for the CBS drama "Judging Amy."
"It's like solving musical song puzzles," says Himmelman. "It's helped
me learn a few tricks. I get the shows in the final rough form, fill in the
musical transitions and sometimes write brand-new songs."
And now he's working with one of "Judging Amy's" executive
producers to develop a new series.
But it's his new disc that brings him to Pittsburgh for a Tuesday show at
Club Cafe. And it's a thing called the "Himmelator" on his Web site --
www.peterhimmelman.com -- that keeps him plugged into his audience.
Through the interactive Himmelator, the performer answers e-mail,
moderates a discussion board and has a "song portrait" section that
allows fans to commission him to write a personal song about "your
friend, lover or even your bitter enemy."
Himmelman says those songs have earned him steady business.
"They give them as wedding gifts and for other special occasions. I just
finished one as a gift for a woman who graduated from Catholic
Himmelman also stays plugged in through live performance, trying
never to give the same show twice. He couldn't if he wanted to, since
each concert draws something new to the surface.
"In New York a few weeks ago, I decided that I would make eggs on
stage that night. I went out and bought a hot plate, some fresh basil,
eggs and olive oil," he says. "I make delicious eggs. I happen to be a
"Just to show the power of music, I had the band play some sinister
music as I was cooking, and you would assume that those eggs were
poison. It was powerful and palpable. Then, I had them play some
upbeat, kinda down-home country music that you want to hear for
breakfast, and everyone, including myself, was amazed at the power of
His new disc includes a copy of the "Himmelvaults III," a compilation
of some of his personal favorites down through the years. He claims to
have about 1,000 songs in his "vaults" and is tinkering with a way to
get them into the hands of his fans for free.
"It doesn't make me that much money compared to the other stuff I'm
doing. In some way, since the death of my sister [Susie, who died last
year in an auto accident], I feel this really sort of anxious sense of the
shortness of time."
So he's making the most of whatever time there is.
And he has the resume to prove it.
PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS
March 19, 2004
Peter Himmelman feels the spirit
By JONATHAN TAKIFF
There are thousands of spiritually motivated singers roaming the music world these days, offering affirmations of faith and praise, testifying how HE lifts you out of the maze and the haze.
But precious few of these talents work through the moral and ethical implications of their faith as richly and effectively as does Peter Himmelman, the singer/songwriter best known for his song "Impermanent Things."
He returns to the Tin Angel tomorrow to introduce material from his vital new "Unstoppable Forces" album. Fresh Himmelman songs like "In the Ceaseless Din" and "Love That Lasts" beat with a Jewish spiritual heart that's grounded, down to earth. Focusing on the responsibilities we have to each other, Himmelman suggests that this is the only element of our journey that is really in our control and positively defines who we are, if we do it right.
Couched in powerful tunes and arrangements that sometimes reference the work of John Lennon or Peter's equally "soulful" father-in-law, Bob Dylan, Himmelman songs like "Racing Off to Nowhere" pointedly reject the rat race, the empty values and the lies so many accept blindly as truth. And unlike some spiritual testifiers who claim to have all the answers, Himmelman's code humbly acknowledges the nebulousness of "knowing." How, he ponders, can we wrap our arms around a construct like a God that he perceives as ever-changing?
"That's why I have a problem with this whole Kabbalah [Jewish mysticism] movement that's now so popular," Himmelman mused in a recent phone chat. "To say you have knowledge, to put that on your business card, is to say you're a genius, that you have understanding of how the world was created and sustained in all of its minutia ...After years of study, I know just a grain of a grain.'"
Walking it like he talks it, Himmelman lives a fairly devout life. Most significantly, he never performs on Friday nights to keep the Sabbath with his wife and four kids. "I did not want to get divorced, to blow up my family, for the sake of my aggrandizement," he said. "And you can't put a price tag on the time we share. My time is worth billions and billions of dollars. I own it, I'm rich for it. I wish everyone could do it. It's your time. Take it."
But he also acknowledged that his restrictive schedule has cost him support-slot opportunities on tours that would advance his career. What headliner in his right mind would give up Friday night gigs? And back in the '90s, when he was a major-label (Virgin Records) act, there was no pushing Himmelman to do "Saturday Night Live" - which would have required him to break from his rituals for rehearsals and run-throughs.
As fate should have it, Himmelman's career has been firmed up by a sideline gig as musical scorer for "Judging Amy" - coincidentally one of the most moral-minded shows on network television.
"I thought it would last six weeks; we're about to go into our sixth year," he said. "I like the musical puzzles I get to solve every week, and after five seasons I've gotten pretty good at it. Plus, the money is terrific. It's given me the cushion to make this new album and put it out on my own [Himmasongs Records] label."
Mar 12, 2004
Peter Himmelman's "Unstoppable Forces" is his first official album in four years, but the folk-rock singer-songwriter makes up for lost time by offering two CDs. Disc one is the focal point -- 14 new songs honed in an L.A. studio with musicians who also have recorded with Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, George Harrison and the like. Disc two is "Himmelvaults III," the third in a series of CDs that shares unreleased tracks with Himmelman's fans. Strangely enough, the disc of leftovers proves more appealing than the main course.
Himmelman takes himself very seriously on the first disc, singing with a nasal earnestness about "The Death of Dreams" and "Discipline of Rain." These titles hint at the profundity that he reaches for and never quite grasps. The sound is rooted in the late-'70s rock of Tom Petty and Elvis Costello, but Himmelman never provides enough pleasure in his melodies or his vocals to justify a return to that era.
He takes himself a lot less seriously on the second disc, a roundup of 11 songs recorded between 1990 and 2003. He indulges the funky rhythms he absorbed in his early days as part of the Minneapolis R&B scene around Prince; he sings some simple melodic love songs without overthinking them; he confesses a longing to be "Artless" and just rock out. Best of all is "Fatherhood," a byproduct of his delightful children's albums and a rare glimpse at his sense of humor.
2. Fly So High
3. Time Just Flew
5. Million Miles Wide
7. 7 Circles
8. Coming Apart at the Dreams
9. Made for Me
10. Forgiveness Shining
11. Lifetime Too Late
12. Everything and Nothing at All
13. Over and Gone
14. Gravity Can't Keep My Spirit Down
Himmelman expands with 'Evil' sound on Six Degrees album
NEW YORK-As he eyes the Feb. 16 release of his Six Degrees/ Koch album "Love Thinketh No Evil," Peter Himmelman admits that he measures success differently than other people. "I'm vastly successful in that I've balanced a strong family life while remaining passionate about my work-and well-compensated for it."
The philosophical singer/songwriter and father of four is an observant Jew who won't perform on the Sabbath. Yet he maintains a devoted core following, and he is now releasing his seventh studio album-not counting 1997's Parent's Choice Gold Award-winning kids' disc "My Best Friend Is A Salamander" on Baby Boom Records. "It's sort of a juggling act, but I don't think I've ever sold out in any way or otherwise compromised my beliefs," says Himmelman. "People have said I'd never make it in rock because I won't play on Friday night. But everybody's life is without precedentand mine's even more so."
Himmelman's latest album breaks fresh ground in that he's enlisted new backup musicians. Previously, he recorded with the members of Sussman Lawrence, the indie-label rock band that he fronted and was composed of school chums from his Minneapolis hometown.
"It was about time to get some new blood in my musical world," he says, noting that heavy activity in film and TV scoring (recent credits include Fox-TV's "In The Zone," the Disney Channel's "Bug Juice," the Touchstone feature "Crossing The Bridge," and the indie films "Dinner & Driving," "The Souler Opposite," and "Liar's Poker") brought Himmelman into contact with new people, leading to "new sounds and textures" pursued on "Love Thinketh No Evil."
"The tracks 'Checkmate' and 'Solitude' have different patterns and phrasing than some of my other work," he says. "It's like watercolors with a lot of water on them: Things run and aren't as stiff." Citing the song "Seven Circles," which concerns the orthodox Jewish wedding ritual in which the bride circles the groom seven times "to provide protection from man's tendency toward egoism," Himmelman adds, "I'm really a very unorthodox person, and 'orthodox' doesn't represent what I hope to project." Rather, he looks to promote an optimistic front as a husband and parent going through "the struggle of the juggling process in this life without precedent."
Himmelman co-produced "Love Thinketh No Evil" with guitarist Greg Herzenach, the only holdover from his previous band who appears on the album. Other album players include keyboardist Chris Joyner, bassist Mike Elizondo, and drummer Trevor Lawrence Jr. Dixie Dregs keyboardist T. Lavitz guests on several cuts. The title, Himmelman says, reflects the contents, "which alternate between love and evil."
The net result, says Six Degrees co-founder Bob Duskis, "returns to the classic Himmelman." He should well know; he's been a fan since the singer's Sussman Lawrence days.
"I went to college in Madison [Wis.], where they came to play, and connected with Peter again on `Festival Of Lights,' last year's Hanukkah compilation that was our first record, on which he dueted with David Broza. There are artists you see over the years who have that magic, and Peter's one of the greatest performers I've ever seen. We hope it's finally his time to break beyond his fanatic cult following."
"Love Thinketh No Evil" was originally set to come out in March '98 via Six Degrees' deal with Island, but when the latter label's founder, Chris Blackwell, departed, Six Degrees bolted. Koch then partnered with the San Francisco-based company to help with distribution, promotion, and marketing.
"Peter's the kind of great artist that I want for Koch," says John Porter, GM/VP of A&R for Koch Records. "He always followed his heart throughout his career, and now he's made a stunning record. We hope to do the rest of the job from our side."
Since the album was shipped to radio prior to its original release date, a new track, "Eyeball," has been added to freshen it up. The track was given a Nine Inch Nailstype feel by that band's drummer/ programmer, Chris Vrenna, who collaborated with Himmelman on its production.
"It's something new for Peter a little edgier, with more modern rhythm programming," says Duskis, adding that the entire album has been resequenced and remastered.
The original marketing plan, meanwhile, remains basically the same, with the focus on the live performances of the artist, who is booked by the MOB Agency, represented for film and TV work by Seth Kaplan Entertainment, and is also represented by New York attorney Lisa Alter and Los Angeles attorney Andrew Lurie.
"He has the magical ability to transform an audience into mere putty," says Norm Winer, VP of programming at WXRT Chicago. "He's one of the greatest living American songwriters-almost too good for radio."
Despite Winer's assertion, album track "Fly So High" will be promoted to triple-A stations and ships in early January-at which time Himmelman, whose songs are published by Himmasongs (ASCAP), will tour stations in the format and perform solo. He'll tour with a band in February and March.
While "Love Thinketh No Evil" will be Himmelman's first nonchildren's album since "Stage Diving," a live solo disc that Plump Records released in 1996, it will be followed soon thereafter by "From The Himmelvaults, Vol. 1," an "official bootleg" compilation of unreleased studio and live material from the prolific artist, who now lives in Santa Monica, Calif. So as not to compete with "Love Thinketh," the release will be sold only at shows and via Six Degrees' World Wide Web site (www.sixdegreesrecords.com) until April, when it goes to traditional retail.
"I think people see I'm an enduring artist," concludes Himmelman, who has also recently completed a children's record, "My Fabulous Plum." "That's worth a lot in these days of comeand-go people."
Jan 18, 1999
So far in his 18-year career, Himmelman's lovely melodies and intelligent, imagery-rich songs have failed to rescue him from obscurity. He has a devoted cult following thanks to his funny and engaging live performances, but he has never seen one of his six solo studio albums dent the Top 100. And despite stellar connections--he is married to Bob Dylan's daughter Maria--he has managed to elude stardom by, among other things, refusing to perform on the Jewish Sabbath and dreaming up Biblical-sounding CD titles like this one. (His only studio release since gaining critical raves in 1992 with Flown This Acid World was a 1997 kids' album, My Best Friend Is A Salamander.) Now this virtuoso performance may win him mainstream recognition, whether he likes it or not.--S.D. Bottom Line: Complex but appealing CD from Bob Dylan's son-in-law.
"Love Thinketh No Evil is about time passing, the difficult process of maturation, the death of hope, and finally, rebirth. 'Gravity Can't Keep My Spirit Down' is a fitting transcendant close to an album that runs the gamut of emotions..."
2. 11 Months in the Bath of Dirty Spirits
4. They're Naked and They're Calling Me
5. Disposable Child
6. Regular Daydreams
7. With You
9. Laugh My Beloved
10. Easy to Be Broken
11. The 5th of August
12. Nowhere Else to Go
13. Chaos and Void
14. Been Set Free
1. Flown This Acid World
2. Beneath the Damage and the Dust
4. Things to Say
5. Child into a Man
6. You Know Me Better Than I Do
7. Always in Disguise
8. How Did It Come Down to This
10. Weight of the Wait
11. Cross This Bridge
From Strength To Strength
1. Walk on, Pt. 1
2. Impermanent Things
3. Woman With the Strength of 10,000 Men
4. Love of Midnight
5. Phone Call from Chicago
6. Only Innocent
7. Whispering Days
9. Mission of My Soul
10. Midnight Walk in the Ruins
11. God Don't Have to Teach You This Way
12. This Too Will Pass
14. Running Away - Peter Himmelman, Karen Peris
15. Walk on, Pt. 2
2. 245 Days
3. Difficult to Touch
4. Tug of War
5. A Million Sides
8. Dirty Reasons
10. The Sweetest Revenge
11. I Wouldn't Mind
12. Speaking Mouth
13. Brother Joel
14. Second Chance
15. Beneath Your Watching Eyes
1. I Feel Very Young Today
2. Waning Moon
3. Burnin' Shame
4. Salt and Ashes
5. Fight for the World
6. Does It Matter
7. The Trees Are Testifying
8. Wrapped Up in Cellophane
9. You Bought It
10. 1,000 Years
"...an impressive effort especially for what is essentially a home-made project with Sussman Lawrence. Himmelman's music is more personal, more poetic, and moodier than the energetic pop of his former band."
1. Beneath the Damage and the Dust
2. Mission of My Soul
3. Eleventh Confession
4. Always in Disguise [Live Acoustic]
5. Imperfect World
7. With You
8. In the Ceaseless Din
9. Impermanent Things
10. Closer [Live]
11. Time Just Flew
13. I Feel Young Today
15. Woman with the Strength of 10,000 Men
16. Discipline of Rain
17. 245 Days
18. 7 Circles
19. Racing Off to Nowhere
Best Of Kids Collection: Songs To Make Boring Days Fun
3. Little Bitty Baby
4. Picnic at the Zoo
5. King Ferdinand
6. My Green Kite
7. A World Where You Only Eat Candy
8. My Trampoline
9. Ain't Nothin To It
10. Have You Ever Really Looked At An Egg?
12. My Best Friend Is a Salamander
13. You'll Always Be You To Me
Furious World Music vol. 1
1. Opening Monologue
2. Blind Ambition
3. Good Idea
4. Motel Room
5. Whispering Days
7. 100 MPH in Reverse
9. My Trampoline (with Ruby Friedman Orchestra)
10. 7 Circles
11. Stepping Stone (with Matt Cusson)
12. Furious World Theme
Pen and Ink (live)
2. 7 Cirlces
5. Racing Off To Nowhere
6. Why I Love Donald Trump
7. Impermanent Things
9. Phone Call From Chicago
10. Increasing Value
11. Still Don't Know
12. Who Sings?
13. Mission Of My Soul
14. The Ship Of Last Hope Sails
15. Crushed Beneath The Wheels
16. Fatherhood Introduction
18. Mic Stand Sagging
19. Could Have Been Set Free
21. Good Idea
Stage Diving (Live)
2. Love of Midnight
5. One Shot at Love
6. Impermanent Things
7. Been Set Free
8. Beneath the Damage and the Dust
9. Steak (Improvised)
10. Listen Up
13. Woman With the Strength of 10,000 Men
15. Flown This Acid World
1. Been So Long
2. Blackout in the Book of Light
3. It's Not In Vain
4. Crushed Beneath The Wheels
5. Don't Think I Can Face Another
6. Laughing Psalm
7. Stolen Grace
8. Midnight Walk In The Ruins
9. Don't Know What To Do
10. Isn't It Enough
11. Past The Point Of Caring
12. Next Year In Jerusalem
1. How 'Bout Now
2. Way Too Lost In You
3. Isn't It Golden Now (Song For Danny Pearl)
4. Breaking Out Of My Cocoon
5. Only One Life To Love You
6. When It All Gets Stripped Away
8. Impenetrable Wounds
9. Things Are Over There
10. Near You
11. Walk On
2. Flannel Jackets
3. Another Place To Be
4. New America
5. Veils Of Gossamer
7. Glorious Shell
8. Love Me As I Am
9. Old Shoes
11. Never Leave You Denied
12. Shooting Into Space
The Himmelvaults vol. Six
2. Rainbow Pretty
4. Bring A Shovel
5. How Gone You Are
6. Born Into Exile
7. I'm Empty Now
8. Like Your's and Mine
9. Keep It From Falling
10. Love's Awful Hard on a Man
11. Tears of G-d
12. The Wheel of Life
Vaults Five: When Grace Collides with Sin
1. Letter from LA
3. What's the Reason
5. Tears of Joy
6. The Floating House
7. Paralyzed by Fear
8. Sad Fact
9. Giant Slide
11. The Crown of My Life
13. They Learn Too Late
14. The Curse Comes Down
Pristine: Himmelvaults Vol 4
2. Only G-d
3. Lost In the Saving Grace
4. I Want You Here So Bad
5. The Strength Of Your Will
7. Wise Heart
8. When I Am Close To Her
9. Stupid Money
10. Dixie The Tiny Dog (Version #118)
1. The Bond
3. Let Me In
5. Not in Vain
6. Blind Ambition
7. What We Set Out to Be
8. Don't Believe a Word
10. Long Time Comin' Back
11. As the Stars All Fall Away
1. Liberate Me
2. What The Jones' Eat For Lunch
4. 100 MPH In Reverse
5. Devil's Due
6. November Blues
7. Confident Horizon
8. Incapable Of Love
9. Artscroll Records
10. Next Year In Jerusalem
12. Something That Just Blew My Way
14. Who Am I To Argue With That
16. This Too Will Pass
17. Tombstones And Beef
1. Love - Take One
2. 11th Confession [Live]
3. Veneer of Virtue
4. Mrs. Gordon
5. Small Ted
6. Only Innocent - [Alt. Version]
7. Laughing Psalm
10. Holding Diamonds
11. You Can't Tame Me
13. Simple Faith
2. My Trampoline
3. King Ferdinand
4. Florie Loves Flowers
5. Ten Billion Blades of Grass
6. Endless Green
7. Peter's a Pin Head
8. Main Dish
9. Statistical Factoids
10. Are There Any Kids Named Steve Anymore?
11. Workin', Playin' & Dreamin'
12. Lullabye (with Baseball and Trains)
My Green Kite
2. My Green Kite
3. Another Bite Of Hay
4. Maybe Is A Bad Word
5. My Father's An Accountant
6. A Dozen Roses
7. Have You Ever Really Looked At An Egg?
8. I Made It For You
9. Baseball Tips With Professor Buckley
10. Red Rubber Boots
11. Nothin' To Say
12. Watercolor Set
"The eclectic pop tunes will have playtime rocking in a snap."
"A disarming family music album that delights in the simple joys of childhood and teaches good life lessons, from a guy who's clearly been there and done that."
"When folk rocker/pop-cult heavyweight Peter Himmelman applies his brainy quirkiness to kids' music, the result is an off-the-wall treat for ears and minds clever lyrics and themes combined with catchy, upbeat music."
Scholastic Parent & Child
"Amusing and hilarious lyrics accompany these catchy tunes."
"A genre-spanning hoot, full of tunes that luxuriate in everyday details."
Los Angeles Jewish Journal
"In this kids' collection, he combines his rocker cool voice with a great sense of humor and sings about all the little details that kids like to think about -- like red rubber boots in the rain, the properties of an egg and mom's awesome dinner-making skills… everyone was snapping and singing along."
Chicago Parent and BestChildrensmusic.com
Peter Himmelman raises the bar for all children's music artists with My Green Kite - this is children's music at its best and represents the level of children's music that our kids should be hearing.
Zooglobble, the blog for hip kids' music
This is a fantastic album, chock-full of great tunes and production, with lyrics that sometimes speak directly to kids' daily lives and other times fire their imaginations. It'll make you smile and make you think. ... on my short list of favorite albums for 2007. Highly recommended.
ParentMap magazine Seattle
"The hip factor is high on this cool disk…sounds like laid-back cross between They Might Be Giants and Randy Newman, but this songwriting is refreshingly original."
"Quirky, pop-influenced tunes geared for kids ages 3 and up."
Chicago Free Press
"Himmelman earns his place among his contemporaries in the field."
"This is a singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter with his eye clearly fixed on what kids are all about ... an excellent aural companion to the everyday activities of simply enjoying your kids."
Treasure Valley Family magazine, Boise, ID
"This childlike celebration of innocence and wonder appeals to a range of ages, sparked with a wit that will make this a fun CD for the entire family."
"The tracks feel almost like performance art…. Himmelman's sense of fun is contagious, and parents may find themselves enjoying My Green Kite as much as their youngsters. It's almost like being a kid again."
"Himmelman's new album really rocks with his theatrical flair for making the stuff kids care about -- and adults take for granted -- groovy and cool."
"I enjoyed the material so much that I forgot it was intended for children. Everything about it works just wonderfully. This should garner a Grammy for "Best Children's Recording." Very highly recommended."
Toronto Families Magazine
"One listen to the title track of this (too short) 39-minute disc and you know there's something special going on. Himmelman is no slouch when it comes to crafting powerful pop tunes, having forged a good living from straddling both adult and family listening bands. Some 15 releases ago (this is his third bona fide kids' release), Himmelman embarked on a critically-acclaimed solo career, earning him comparisons to Dylan, Elvis Costello and John Hiatt, yet he has clearly carved out his own niche – one that merges energy with creativity, blending nonsensical fun with heart-warming emotion.
My Green Kite kicks off with a somewhat silly ode to one's feet, fully orchestrated and developed, transforming it into a mini-opus, complete with back-up vocals and rich arrangement. Then there's the pure pop of the title track – classic Himmelman: hummable, addictive, purely positive. Or the story of Morris the Mule ("Another Bite of Hay") – a reflection on the meaning of life. The evils of vague parental responses to kids' questions is epitomized in the soulful "Maybe is a Bad Word", piano-driven in typical Himmelflourish, those back-up singers adding substantially to the overall import of his message.
Consider the lovely sentiment of "My Father's An Accountant" – a son's hero worship for the 'common Dad' – a legitimate tear-jerker, if there ever was one (Himmelman's "Father's Day" – his first solo recording, was an emotionally-charged tribute to his Dad, who died of lymphoma). This provides a glimpse into Himmelman's very personal and poetic world – his approach to kids' music is no less so than his approach at the adult level. At the same time, he knows to keep things upbeat and lively for the short set. His "A Dozen Roses" is a hilarious, how-to on the joys of young love while "Have You Ever Really Looked At An Egg?" zeroes in on another aspect of a kid's world – the discovery of everyday things, set to a seriously rocking beat (he knows that kids appreciate real music to pap).
Entertainment is his game, his message always imbedded in an appetizing way. Whether praising his Mom and her cooking, passing along inventive baseball tips, or professing the pride of owning red rubber boots, this is a singer-songwriter's singer-songwriter with his eye clearly fixed on what kids are all about. The added bonus is his exceptional vocals and piano-based compositions, which make for an excellent aural companion to the everyday activities of simply enjoying your kids. You can't ask for more than that from anybody."
– Eric Thom
"Peter Himmelman raises the bar for all children's music artists with My Green Kite – this is children's music at its best and represents the level of children's music that our kids should be hearing. Listen carefully and you will hear true musical artistry! In a overly saturated and increasingly promoted market full of kindie rock artists, Peter Himmelman has soared above the crowd with an extraordinary recording that is worthy of everyone's attention. Kids will squeal with delight and parents will wonder why there is not more great music out there like My Green Kite."
- Fred Koch
Peter Himmelman has a rubbery voice, a vivid imagination, an ear for quirky pop songs that sounds ripe for the picking by some brilliant kids' comedy troupe, and a complete lack of self-consciousness--a combination you don't often find in kids' performers, even the most successful ones. My Green Kite follows the just-for-the-fun-of-it formula of previous discs like My Fabulous Plum and My Best Friend is a Salamander--here's Himmelman contemplating how confounding a word "maybe" can be ("Maybe Is a Bad Word"), examining the under-appreciated qualities of an egg ("Have You Ever Really Looked at an Egg") and, in a half-poignant, half-hilarious number, deeply regretting his embarrassment over his dad's painfully boring occupation ("My Father's an Accountant"). The word for these songs is screwball--there's a certain loose genius lurking below the surface. As the soundtrack to a Sunday-afternoon Lego marathon, they're pretty near perfect.
1. My Fabulous Plum
2. A World Where You Only Eat Candy
3. Sherm the Worm
4. Ain't Nothing to It
5. Herman the Big Oily Moose
7. Karena Chasing Butterflies
8. I Don't Like to Share
9. A Short Discussion With My Attourney
10. Cindy and the Octopus
11. Love Feels the Same Way Everywhere
12. Back Home on the Plum
My Best Friend is a Salamander
1. You'll Always Be You to Me
2. My Best Friend Is a Salamander
3. Picnic at the Zoo
4. Melvin McBrickle
5. Little Space Guys
6. Larry's a Sunflower Now
7. Language Lesson With Mr. Schnibelstein
9. Bucky the Talking Miniature Horse
10. Little Bitty Baby
11. An Ant Named Jane
12. Magic When You Come My Way
Peter Himmelman (Baby Music Boom, $11 cassette, $16 CD; 888-470-1667) A zany sensibility slithers through the first children's recording by singer-songwriter Peter Himmelman. Though he is at his best with clever concoctions like "Melvin McBrickle," a seventies-style Superfly takeoff about a secondgrade dude who stares down electrical storms, Himmelman's album is a felicitous stew of rock and roll, jazz, gentle melodies, and even straight-ahead odes to parental love. A
Jul 28, 1997
Peter Himmelman, Baby Music Boom (888470-1667), cassette $10.98, CD $15.98 Fun-loving big kid Peter Himmelman, long known for his sensitive songwriting and offbeat performance style, has a real blast on his first album for children. Clever lyrics, occasionally interspersed with wacky dialogue and accents, are the centerpiece of this rock-and-roll good time, but fine backing vocals and top-notch musicianship round out the package. "You'll Always Be You to Me" weaves tender sentiments among kidlike observations: "A rock is a mountain to a bee, a puddle is an ocean to a baby inch worm but you'll always be you to me." In the title cut, a family of salamanders moves into the neighborhood and quickly shows a boy how the other half lives. An unlikely hero shines in the R&B flavored "Melvin McBrickle": "If you're in a pickle call Melvin McBrickle... if you need some help just give a little yelp." And in one of the most inventive tunes, "Larry's a Sunflower Now," a boy plants himself in the ground and blossoms into a sunflower. Himmelman's versatile, enthusiastic voice gives each song a welcome freshness (save for the Randy Newmanesque "Magic When You Come My Way.") Solid accompaniment from honky-tonk piano, electric guitar, harmonica and high-spirited hand-clapping boosts the listening pleasure for adults, too. All ages. (July)
Quirky and creative, songwriter Himmelman has his finger on the musical pulse of children. Your kids will love it when he sings about a salamander family moving in next door or eating snacks like cotton candy and popcorn on a picnic at the zoo. Ages 3 to 9. Baby Music Boom; $11 cassette, $16 CD, 1-888-470-1667.
My Best Friend Is a Salamander
Like many adult performers before him, Peter Himmelman has now tried his hand at recording a kids' album. Unlike most of his predecessors, though, Himmelman opted not for the easy-out lullaby route, but for a record that keeps kids awake and entertained. My Best Friend Is a Salamander is strikingly original from a lyrical point of view, which shouldn't surprise anyone familiar with Himmelman's pop-rock grown-up work from the eighties - the emphatically unconventional singer-songwriter (and father of four) is a prodigious and creative wordsmith. The song titles give some idea of Himmelman's fertile imagination: "Larry's A Sunflower Now," "Little Space Guy," and of course the title cut. Salamander's sophisticated, eclectic pop songs achieve that elusive goal of captivating parents as much as kids.
LOS ANGELES TIMES
by Lynne Heffley
Baby Music Boom; $11 cassette, $16 CD, 1-888-470-1667
Singer-songwriter Peter Himmelman's rib-tickling, at times soulful, flights of fancy are a treat in this well-produced new release. In the wonderfully strange title song, a kid visits his salamander friend next door and learns you shouldn't judge a pal by how he looks (kinda slimy) and what he eats ( grasshopper feet and roasted flies). Equallly strange and delightful is "Larry's a Sunflower Now," about a kid who indeed necomes just that.. "Larry's getting' lots of fresh air, the sun is on his face and the birds are in his hair..."
Himmelman, an expressive singer who sounds as if he's having a blast, also gives an offbeat twist to songs about little spacemen, a talking horse and tantrums, and then wraps things up on a soft poetic note with "Magic When You Come My Way": "You are the sugar in my cup o' tea, you are the buzzin' of the honey bee..."
Singing for kids for the first time, Himmelman is funny, engaging, and energetic (this is no lullaby album). Songs such as "Picnic at the Zoo", "Larry's a Sunflower Now," and the title track, which subtly explains that cultural differences are OK, are meant for youngsters, but parents will like them, too.
SESAME STREET MAGAZINE
December 1997/January 1998
Peter Himmelman lets his imagination run amok and creates wacky songs that kids and grown-ups will want to hear again and again. The titles, such as "My Best Friend is a Salamander," "Larry is a Sunflower Now," "Tantrum," and "An Ant Named Jane," only hint at the daffiness of these rich story-songs. Kids and adults will love this recording's vivid imagery, catch melodies, and jazzy accompaniments. (Ages 4-7)
MY BEST FRIEND IS A SALAMANDER
Baby Music Boom Ages 3 to 10 Suggested retail price cassette $10.98, $CD $15.98
Peter Himmelman is one of rock's most wildly imaginative performers. So it's no surprise that his first children's album is an exuberant flight of fancy. Himmelman blends pop, folk and jazz to create a most engaging sound. Listen for such humorous, on-of-a-kind songs as the unforgettable "Larry is a Sunflower Now," about a child's enthusiastic metamorphosis into a plant.
December 1997/January 1998
Peter Himmelman composes quirky songs about little space guys and kids who turn into flowers. Clearly a man in touch with his inner child, he seems to know just what school-age kids find compelling, even sidesplitting. (Baby Boom Music, 1-888-470-1667, $11 tape; $16 CD; 4 years and up.)
U.S. NEWS AND WORLD REPORT
Aug 4, 1997
My Best Friend Is a Salamander by Peter Himmelman (Baby Music Boom, $16).
The musician brings his funny, folksy style to his first children's album. Clever lyrics in songs like "Larry's a Sunflower Now" and "Melvin McBrickle" recall the best of children's author Shel Silverstein.
Ages 5 up. Peter Himmelman delivers an outstanding performance with his first children's recording. He writes about fun topics not found on other recordings: the catchy title song is about a salamander family that moves in next door. We also meet a boy who turns into a sunflower, a miniature talking horse, a jet-setting ant, and a truck-driving baby. The backing musicians are fantastic. The production quality is superior to most children's recordings. Himmelman's versatile voice sounds like Randy Newman one moment, then moves on to Tom Waits, Greg Brown, and even Prince. Himmelman is no mere imitator, though. His is a unique new voice in the children's music field.
1. Only Innocent
2. 7 Circles
3. Blind Ambition
4. A Million Sides
The Complete Sussman Lawrence (1979-1985)
1. Shelly's Dog
2. Rock Slow
3. Ode to Another Egg
4. Where Are the Leaders
5. Another Song About Erections
6. The Way You Touch
7. So Hard and Shiny
9. Cast Away for Merchandise
10. Modern Saint
12. Hard Rock Tambourine
13. Tough Suction [Live] Disc 2:
1. Torture Me
2. She's the Living End
3. (I Really Don't Love You But)
4. I Sure Do Like You a Lot
5. The Fifth of August
6. House on Fire
8. Naturally (You're Artificial)
9. Closer, Closer
10. 1.5 BMMPH
11. Made to Order
13. Listen Up
14. Pajama Party
15. The Strangest Emotion
16. Bitter World
17. The Sperm Song
18. Baby Let Me Be Your Cigarette
20. Call Me on Monday
21. Love Is a Fight