The story of the Pied Piper entrancing the children of Hamelin has lasted for centuries. Now, in the 21st century, a new Pied Piper is making his way across the great U.S. of A. His name is Mr. Harley. His music has been featured on NBC’s the Today Show as well as radio stations across the USA and for more than a decade he has made children of all ages very happy.
Mr. Harley leads a secret life as Harley Smith, mild-mannered jazz/rock musician. Finding a nearby phone booth he transforms to become … Mr. Harley, kid idol and children’s rockstar! As Mr. Harley, he brings a lively guitar, a pile of songs, and a fender-wide grin to the stage, where his sheer exuberance has energized and delighted crowds of all shapes and sizes, from birthday parties from Maine to Florida.
A Mr. Harley audience is not a timid one. Any inhibitions are magically wiped away, and it isn’t long before kids (and even grownups) are hopping like frogs, talking like pirates, and dancing like no one is watching. By the end of his shows, any barriers between old and young, big and small, have vanished completely.
Mr. Harley knows all the classic children’s songs, as well as children’s songs disguised as grownup songs (think “All Together Now” by the Beatles), but it’s his original compositions that get the biggest responses. Songs like “I Like,” “The Sneeze Song,” (featured on the Today Show) and the say-that-five-times-fast “Stegameganoodlefudanappysaurus” are met with squeals of delight and enthusiastic sing-alongs, even from those who are hearing them for the first time.
As you listen closer you will start to hear something that Mr. Harley absolutely thrives on. His original music defies any musical genre. As much as Mr. Harley uses his lyrics to educate, his music is equally as important. You never know what style of music you will be hearing. There is the 30’s style jazz song of “These Rhyming Friends of Mine,” to the authentic disco sound of, “I wrote a disco tune (20 years too late.)” No musical genre is off limits. Do you the horns in Ska? Listen to his song, “Blue Shirt.” What about 70’s Country and Western music in the vein of Merle Haggard and Waylon Jenning? You have to listen to, “Stick Figure Man.”
Mr. Harley also has a flare for the dramatic. Taking from Mr. Harley’s love for theater and film you will hear that influence in his music as well. On “The Pirate Song,” Mr. Harley introduces a short vocal skit with a cast of pirates all voiced by Mr. Harley himself. We must not forget the King and his Castle from the song, “The Kings Castle.” Mr. Harley’s skits not only are fun and enjoyable they add a setting for the listener to help them enter into the world of the music. All of Mr. Harley’s songs are well crafted pieces of music that will keep families listening again and again.
Mr. Harley’s music is available on two CDs – 2007′s Toast and Jelly, and his 2012 CD, Blue Shirt. More than concert souvenirs, these CDs are keepsakes, destined to provide the seeds from which treasured memories will grow.
If you’re putting together an event of any kind where you know children will
be, remember Mr. Harley. He’s a man who knows how to have fun, and all the kids
who follow his lead will always remember their first encounter with a smile.