Review: I Don't Have A Bib by Half-Handed Cloud

Label: Self-Released/ Asthmatic Kitty Records

Words by Amanda Clevinger


Adorable is a word I often use to describe both Half-Handed Cloud’s music and the man behind it, John Ringhofer, but to say his latest release is adorable is both an understatement and not enough.
I Don’t Have a Bib is a collection of Ringhofer family songs, short little ditties about washing up, having pizza, a new baby sister, and daily life. The songs are truly on brand adorable, but they are more than that. There’s so much intimacy in hearing John and his children sing, even sharing “Lullaby” (my favorite track, hands-down), which I can imagine being sung multiple times every night with the softest love.
Having a peek into the life of Ringhofer as a father is fun, sweet, and something I didn’t even know I needed. I was washed with nostalgia for my own dad’s songs for me, for dancing in the living room to the Beatles, for singing a Talking Heads song to my little brother when he was born. I think that is the beauty of this collection of family songs, by enjoying the joyful noise of one family, you are reminded to enjoy the joyful noise of your own.
Most of the songs clock in under a minute, which is short even by Half-Handed Cloud standards, yet they convey a lot of the family’s routines, even the process of making the family itself.

“I’d usually try to grab them to record while my wife was making dinner," Ringhofer said of the recording process. "Helps everybody!”

In all its simplicity, there’s a profound gift in this collection of this “Ringhofer Family summer project,” and that’s a capsule of memories for their entire family, especially the kids.
I asked John if he was struck by what an awesome gift this was to his children.

“It was super fun to get these songs down, and to work on them with arrangements, with our kids singing in stereo, etc," Ringhofer said. "And they like the Bib album a lot now. But it might turn out that it won’t feel like a gift if they meet one of their dad’s buddies a decade from now, and the guy introduces himself by singing, ‘Yogurt yogurt yo yo yo yo.’”

I think even if (Okay, definitely when) that happens, they’ll still be very happy to have it.

P.S. In case you were left wondering after listening to I Don’t Have a Bib, all of the Beatles seem to be John Ringhofer’s favorite Beatle. “And they aren’t The Beatles without Ringo—he’s crucial to the whole thing.” John’s eldest jokes that Paul McCartney is his favorite Beach Boy. Adorable.

Comments

  1. "Who Needs a Bath" is my favorite--I feel so much love in it--but I can see the appeal of "Lullaby." fun to read this review!

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