Ben Rudnick & Friends play the hippest family music around. With countless awards to their credit, including FIVE Parent’s Choice awards, their adventurous, high-energy blend of happy, upbeat acoustic music is guaranteed to entertain the entire family.
Since the release of Emily Songs in 2000, Ben Rudnick and Friends have been playing family friendly music featuring instantly hum-able original songs and fun spins on well-known traditional material. Boasting a high level of adventurous musicianship, their award winning recordings contain a unique acoustic sound ranging from light folk to bluegrass, calypso, and rock. As Booklist Magazine said in their January 2003 issue, “What comes though is a distinct personality, far from the slick, polished anonymity found on some popular recordings for this age group.” Their exciting live shows only reinforce that observation. Drawing on the original songs and traditional material from their recordings, Ben Rudnick and Friends seamlessly integrate classic songs such as “Route 66,” “Oh Boy!,” “Jambalaya/Hey Good Looking, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and Beatles’ tunes into their sets. As Buzz McClain of the Washington Post commented “Ben Rudnick refuses to pander by making ‘children’s music,’ with the result being a disc of sophisticated melodies, precise instrumentation and witty lyrics that delight the entire family.” Since Ben Rudnick and Friends original songs aren’t overtly children’s music, and enthusiastic renditions of well known songs appeal to all, everyone in the audience from the oldest to the youngest become involved in the excitement of the moment. Joy spreads across young faces and years fade from old faces. Performances tend to be events, a slice of time where families relax and enjoy each other’s company. As Betsy Siggins Schmidt of Club Passim said, “Not only did the kids love the show, but the parents (and the grandparents) were singing and dancing as well.”
Ben Rudnick began writing family music for his daughter’s fourth birthday party. Ben Rudnick and Friends began playing these songs in libraries and on town greens and before long found themselves in much larger and more diverse venues: New York’s Lincoln Center, Boston’s Hatch Shell, repeat engagements at notable folk venues such as Club Passim and Café Lena, Lowell’s Boarding House Park, and theaters, museums and celebrations from Maine to Ohio.
Recordings: Emily Songs (2000), Fun and Games (2002), Blast Off! (2004), Live at the Playground WERS 88.9FM (2005), Grace’s Bell (2007), The Challenger Baseball Song and Other Hits (2007), and A Frog Named Sam (2009).
Awards: Emily Songs: Parents’ Choice Approved, John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and Dr. Toy Best Vacation Product Award, Fun and Games: Parents’ Choice Silver Honor, discovery.com’s Award of Excellence, iParenting Hot Media, Children’s Music Web’s Best Recordings for both Preschoolers and Younger Children, Blast Off: Parents’ Choice Recommended, a NAPPA Honors Award and Children’s Music Web’s Best Recordings for both Preschoolers and Younger Children, Grace’s Bell: Parents’ Choice Approved, NAPPA Honors Award and Independent Music Awards Children’s Album People’s Choice and, A Frog Named Sam: Parents’ Choice Recommended, iParenting 2009 Excellent Product Award, Creative Child Award 2009 Preferred Choice Award, Mr. Dad Seal of Approval
Live Band Personnel: Arnie Ashford (bass guitar and vocals), Ben Rudnick (guitar and vocals), Jared Steer (percussion) and John Zevos (mandolin and vocals).