Sunday, February 02 2014 14:26


Written by

When ROBERT M. CHARDE sent me a copy of his new family album, FOR LITTLE EARS OF TENDER YEARS, my immediate response was to admire the cover art - a well-dressed, quite dapper-looking banjo-playing iguana that wouldn't be a bit out of place adorning an album by LES CLAYPOOL or PRIMUS. While the cover art was surprising, it wasn't as much of a surprise as the music contained within.

Entirely written and almost entirely performed and recorded by Charde himself, this 10-song collection is impressive, striking an unexpected chord. In a lot of ways, FOR LITTLE EARS OF TENDER YEARS carries a classic MUPPETS vibe... that of the Paul Williams-era of songwriting, rich in harmony and instrumentation. Perhaps not intended, but it's easy for this listener to imagine Kermit (or an iguana) kicking back with that banjo, while Emmet Otter's Jugband practices down the street. There's a fantastically nostalgic feel that comes complete with some great storytelling as well.

Listen to previews from the album:

Rock Father-Approved! 2014Technically released in late 2013, this is one of my favorites of 2014 so far, with songs like "Play," "I'm An Iguana," "Hello" and "Jean Lafitte" getting quite a bit of play here at Rock Father HQ... even after the kids have gone to bed. At just 22-minutes in total runtime, it falls right into that 30-minutes-or-less sweet spot that I prefer for Kids and Family releases. 

There doesn't seem to be a big promotional push behind this record thus far, so hopefully word-of-mouth will help carry it. It's an album worth hearing.

Purchase the Album: Amazon | iTunes
James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade as Publisher of The Rock Father Magazine, he joined Adventure Publishing Group as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider—a destination for all things pop culture. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 25 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

James and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, FOX Business, NBC, ABC, WGN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, BusinessWire, Babble, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

Learn more here

Connect with James on Facebook or Twitter.