Imagination Movers w/ Tracy Bonham (Woodstock Day School Benefit)
293 Tinker Street
Woodstock, NY, 12498
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
The Imagination Movers story is the ultimate example of the power of imagination. In 2003, four New Orleans friends – Rich Collins, Scott Durbin, Dave Poche and Scott “Smitty” Smith – had an idea. They thought kids wanted and deserved music that spoke to them, not down to them. So, they started gathering after their kids’ bedtimes to write songs and brainstorm ideas about a children’s television show. Two years later, they had become the latest sensation of their musical city, attracting parents and children alike with an eclectic pop sensibility and lyrical turns about healthy snacks and playing catch and conquering childhood fears of bedtime. Lines to the Movers’ shows stretched for blocks.
When the levees broke after Hurricane Katrina, the far-reaching disaster turned the Movers’ world upside down, but it didn’t put an end to their dream. Even while band members salvaged their belongings from flooded homes – and Smith reported to his day job as a fire fighter and first responder – they never stopped living according to the Movers’ motto: “Reach high, think big, work hard, have fun!”
This motto has served the band well. Not even the Imagination Movers themselves could have fully imagined their breakthrough success. The Movers partnered with Disney in 2007 and filmed 75 episodes of their Emmy Award- winning series over three seasons. The show airs in more than 55 countries and they’ve sold half a million CDs and DVDs to date.
Critical acclaim for the Movers includes nods from Entertainment Weekly and The New York Times, which reported the Movers are “prized by many parents for non-condescending lyrics and music that evokes the Beastie Boys or Red Hot Chili Peppers.” Parenting magazine praised the band’s “dash of rebellion” and songs that are “fresh and treacle-free.” National television appearances include The View, Live with Regis & Kelly, and Good Morning America. The Movers earned a Daytime Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for outstanding original song in the children's show/animation category. The series is currently aired internationally on the Disney Junior Channel.
Imagination Movers are currently developing an animated series “Super Movers” in partnership with Toronto-based 9 Story Media Group. The series is tentatively scheduled for a 2016 debut.
The Movers’ season three soundtrack, “Back In Blue,” was released in 2013 and debuted as the No. 1 children’s album on iTunes in Canada, No. 2 on iTunes in the U.S. and No. 2 on Amazon.com. Their ninth release, “Licensed to Move” will debut in early 2015. The CD will be bundled with a DVD that contains a live concert performance as well as music videos.
The Movers are known as a high-energy, interactive live music act. Over the last decade they have entertained more than a million fans in North America, Europe and Asia. Their 2011 “In a Big Warehouse” tour attracted 150,000 fans and was one of Pollstar magazine’s top 100 tours of the year (one of only two family acts on the list). According to thousands of fan reviews on Ticketmaster.com, Imagination Movers ranks as the No. 1 rated major touring act for families. With 98 percent of concertgoers recommending a Movers’ concert to friends and family.
Over the past two years alone the Movers have rocked packed houses in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Guam, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Dubai and will be embarking on another tour of Canada in 2015.
When Tracy Bonham set out to make her fourth full-length record, a lot had changed. She'd move back to Brooklyn, after spending three years in Los Angeles, had fallen in love and gotten married, and watched as the record industry cease to exist. "I had no idea how or when I was going to make my next record, let alone release one," says Bonham. "I started writing and it took shape organically." Bonham got together with guitarist Smokey Hormel (Tom Waits, Beck, Rufus Wainwright) and his "Roundup" trio in a Brooklyn studio and began cutting tracks that reflected the changes in her life in an honest, open way. "It was the most fun I have ever had making a record because I didn't have anyone looking over my shoulder," admits Bonham. "It was so liberating to do this totally on my own, without the pressure of a record label. I didn't care about things like radio anymore. These rules were so far behind me and, in a way, I felt like I was pushing myself to tread new ground."
That freedom comes across on Masts of Manhatta (Engine Room Recordings, July 13), Bonham's best and most personal record to date. Recorded both in Brooklyn and Woodstock, NY (where the singer alternates between residencies), Masts suggests the dichotomy surrounding the two environments, the singer's own personal journey as well as the changing rules of the music industry. “The city versus country theme threads through the record,” says Bonham. “This is my life at the moment: the balance of nature and the big city. Longing to be surrounded by nature, to get back to a quiet and balanced life, but also loving life in the city and being inspired by it.”
The title is taken from the Walt Whitman poem "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry," which she'd read on vacation in Mexico while taking a break from recording. The author is in a state of wonder, feeling connected to all things as he crosses the East River on a crowded commuter ferryboat. He looks back at the lower Manhattan skyline as if they were masts on a ship, commanding them to stand tall in celebration of their beauty. "This poem summed up these new songs for me," says Bonham. "It's about maintaining a sense of peace and stillness, of connectedness to all in nature, while living in a bustling New York City."
Masts reflects the singer's peripatetic lifestyle, moving between tango-influenced rhythms ("Devil's Got Your Boyfriend"), Tom Waits-inspired Klezmer folk-punk ("Josephine") and pastoral country ("We Moved Our City to the Country") with multiple pit stops in between. On the latter, Bonham recalls the initial feelings that come with moving from an urban area to a rural setting. "It's about transposing that city mentality into country life and finding the humor inherent in that," says the singer. "Musically, it's a little schizophrenic and reflects my attempt to piece together disparate feelings while still maintaining a sense of balance with the duality."
Bonham retains her unique ability to make the prosaic poetic and on Masts, has worried less about how her lyrics may be perceived. "From a writing point of view, there are certain lyrics on Masts that probably don't make sense to anybody else. The old me might have said, 'That's too specific. It's going to shut everybody out.' But now, this is who I am now. Take it or leave it."
As on past efforts, romance, love and heartache make their appearance, but where Bonham's early vocal efforts displayed a rebellious snarl, the singer nowadays takes a softer, if no less direct, approach. Her wry wit, however, remains, conjuring up a mix of humor and despair on "Reciprocal Feelings": "I'd like to be my own best friend/Turns out there's no reciprocal feelings/What a total snob."
A native of Eugene, OR, Bonham began singing at age five, playing the violin at nine and piano at age 14. After earning a violin scholarship at University of Southern California, she transferred to Berklee College of Music to study voice and began writing and recording her own material. On her 1996 debut The Burdens of Being Upright, Bonham established herself as a brash rocker with ironic nods to the emerging music of punk grrrrl bands. With blunt, direct observations on love and loss, the album went gold and earned the singer Grammy nominations for Best Alternative Music Performance and Best Female Vocalist.
Critics took notice as well. Rolling Stone noted "this classically trained Boston singer-songwriter sets meandering Aimee Mann-like melodies over bright electro-pop folk with string-laden atmospherics." "Mother Mother", her first single, became a nationwide anthem and earned the singer an MTV Video Music Awards nomination. From the late 1990s to the mid 2000s, Bonham steadily recorded and performed both individually and with numerous groups, appearing with everyone from Blue Man Group and Aerosmith and to Ron Sexsmith and Juliana Hatfield. Following 2005's Blink the Brightest and the 2006 EP In the City + In the Woods, the singer took some time to focus on other things, earning a yoga teaching certification while learning to live a more balanced life, not realizing initially that her non-musical experiences would be fodder for what would eventually become Masts.
"Making music is what I will always do," says Bonham. "I realized I didn't have to divide it into 'career' and 'not career'. I make music. I needed the music business machine for a minute. Now I realize I don't. Every record before this, I had some expectation for how the record should do commercially. But now, it's a wide open slate and I'm okay with that, as long as I can create new opportunities and grow from them. Life is so good right now; how could I go wrong?"
KIDS 5 AND UNDER FREE (ONE CHILD 5 AND UNDER FREE WITH EACH FULL PRICED TICKET PURCHASED).
Utopia Soundstage @ Radio Woodstock
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