E Is For Erik is best decribed as “a 12-song musical journey”, introducing young children to an array of life’s basic lessons, covering sujects such as language arts, math, and even culture.
The album is a compilation of children’s songs written and performed by local talent Erik Simonsen. “There are also a couple of “gems” included in this collection that have been “road tested” & well received by all young people,” states the album’s official website.
Through his numerous performances at schools and for special needs groups throughout New Jersey, Simonsen has fine-tuned his understanding of both what the kids love and what the kids need. E Is For Erik most definitely delivers. The album’s carefully selected songs have been “kid tested” and “mother approved”.
With the help of Bill Caterini and other key members of the production team, E Is for Erik was developed as a fun way for children to actually enjoy learning.
The E Is For Erik was contributed by Patty Morgan (fine art/illustrations) and Michele Faulkner (graphic artist), as an interactive tool for the song collection; each page of illustrations corresponds to a song on the album.
Quite appropriately, E Is For Erik begins with the “Well, Hello” track, greeting listeners as they begin their “musical journey”. Featuring an upbeat riff and children’s voices echoing Erik’s “Well Hello” message, this proves to be the perfect opening song to Simonsen’s lively kids’ album. The corresponding first page of the coloring book includes an intricate floral design filled with the song’s enthusiastic lyrics.
Next up, “Good Morning” gives listeners an animated rundown of all colors of the rainbow and gets them warmed up for the quick and useful lessons packed into the album’s remaining songs. “Dr. Seuss We Love You” praises the ultimate master of children’s tales, referencing his unforgettable literary characters including Yertle Turtle and The Lorax.
While Erik thanks the great Dr. Seuss for his contributions to kids’ reading skills, he himself is simultaneously contributing to listeners’ reading abilities. While Simonsen sings each word masterfully, kids can read along with these words in the coloring book’s pages and thus gain a better understanding of their sound and spelling.
Track number four offers a practical lesson in “Counting All Our Change”, as Erik runs through the values of coins in an incredibly entertaining manner. However, the album’s arguably most important message is contained in E Is For Erik’s second to last song. “We Must Learn To Live Together” promotes peace among neighbors, but does so in an easily digestible way for young listeners. “We all come from different cultures, different countries,” croons Simonsen, yet our ultimate goal should be to coexist in harmony.
Finally, in “Goodbye Today”, Simonsen bids adieu to his young listeners and encourages them to “Have a great tomorrow!”. Though its lyrics cater to children, the album’s melodies could quickly and easily catch in the mind of most adults. Simonsen’s voice is akin to that of current Indie Rock sensation Ed Sheeran, while the album’s production was clearly performed by a team of seasoned professionals.
For a listening sample of E is for Erik’s impressive tracks, visit http://eisforerikmusic.com. Both the coloring book and album are available for purchase via the website.
By Megan Kummer