Some albums aimed at children and families are lacking in originality and creativity. This, I am pleased to report, is not the case with My Green Kite, the new album by Peter Himmelman.
The songs on the album range from the zany ("Maybe Is A Bad Word") to the heart-felt, to the philosophical with all putting a smile on my face. Himmelman also scores television and movie projects including Judging Amy, Bones, and Men In Trees.
What were you trying to accomplish with this project? Did you accomplish it?
It's funny how little, specific goals come into play when I finally get the will to make one of these - or any recordings. I have in mind a vague sense of how I want the shape to be. For example, on My Green Kite, I knew I wanted something very detailed but very free feeling at the same time. I actually have a small case of a condition called synesthesia wherein one hears colors and sees sounds etc. So, in that light, I always saw this as being a very lush summery green sounding record.
I do feel like I've accomplished what I set out to do. In some ways I think I've succeeded beyond my original expectations.
Has anyone compared your voice to Elvis Costello? If not may I be the first and I mean that in a good way.
I love Elvis and it's been said, mostly of the work I did with my band Sussman Lawrence back in the early eighties. Back then, I would study those records (This Year's Model, Armed Forces) for hours and in so doing, probably copped a fair amount of his phrasing.
One of my favorite tracks is the one about Boris.
(Boris the bull had questioned the meaning of life
Why are some cows happy
and others full of strife?
Must we go through each day
Simply looking for another bite of hay?)
Can you explain how that song came about? Pretty heavy – no pun intended - material for a cow, which is just what I like about it.
Without trying to sound too much like an artiste (said with a bad French accent), these things just come to me in complete form or in large chunks — or oftentimes even in complete form and I just dictate what I hear going through my head. When this one came, I did say to myself, "Is this appropriate for kids?" and the answer was yes. I don't thinks it's ever too soon to consider one's purpose in life... to ponder the notion that there are people and places and causes beyond oneself.