Here is how much my family loves the brilliant and hilarious singer/songwriter/story-teller Bill Harley. Even though we played and played and played his music until we all knew it inside out, we would still sit in the driveway until the end of a song or story. Many of our family’s most-beloved catch-phrases and in-jokes are inspired by Harley. Favorites included You’re in Trouble with “Dad Threw the TV Out the Window,” “When You Don’t Know What It Is,” the title song, and “I’m Busy,” Dinosaurs Never Say Please, with the title story about a boy who turns into a T-Rex and the very funny “Bojabi” and the classic “Master of All Masters.” We also love “You’re Not the Boss of Me,” “50 Ways to Fool Your Mother,” “Cool in School,” and many, many more.
It was a great treat to see Harley perform live at Sirius/XM’s Kid’s Place with Keith Munslow, accompanied by Harley’s son Dylan on drums. Harley has a gift for putting the biggest and most complicated and universal experiences into the most accessible terms. It is not just the simplicity of language, but the humor that he uses to make scary situations and feelings like jealousy and insecurity more manageable. The title of his new CD comes from a song named by a Kid’s Place contest: “It’s Not Fair to Me,” and the children in the audience shrieked with laughter at the familiarity and silliness of the claims. Munslow’s “My Eraser” is not just a tribute to the very useful pink spongey part of a pencil; it is an astute and reassuring observation about correcting all kinds of mistakes. Possibly the biggest hit at the performance was the very funny “Hideous Sweater,” a tribute to the articles of clothing we love beyond (and without) reason.
I am delighted to have two Harley CDs to give away, It’s Not Fair to Me (with Munslow) and the story collection High Dive & Other Things That Could Have Happened. If you’d like to enter, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with Harley in the subject line and tell me your favorite silly song. Don’t forget your address! (US addresses only) I’ll pick a winner at random on March 10.