That’s how Wurmy Wormfield, aka Charles Herman-Wurmfeld (director/ filmmaker of Kissing Jessica Stein and Legally Blonde 2), describes music from his debut children’s album, For You, The Garden. While the album was created with kids in mind, listeners of all ages can absolutely learn and grow from his music. The 19-song story/album is a an epic narrative, chronicling the restoration of a community garden-planet-in-peril while tackling themes of empathy, love, climate change, wave theory, nature, and so much more.
The origins of For You, The Garden date back to 2008 when, inspired by Obama’s request for help early in his first presidency, and Michelle Obama’s dedication to gardening, Wurmy took a break from filmmaking. He joined his local neighborhood council & proposed a community garden in the school parking lot down the street from his home. Taking away parking is SERIOUS business in Los Angeles, but the small cadre of neighbors, students, teachers, kids and families prevailed and were able to overturn the parking lot the next year. Timeless ideals of returning land to nature, community gathering around common, shared spaces, and the awe of watching nature bloom and cycle made a mystical impact on Wurmy. He was in many ways re-born & had no other choice but to sing about it.
Like legally blonde 2, For You, The Garden is a handbook for social change at the community level & champions a collective spirit, and heartfelt storyline. Below is a breakdown of all the songs. But we have to recommend you dedicate an hour, take a walk, and listen to the whole story as Wurmy intended it. To break it down and not recognize the narrative of the whole is a disservice to the intention clearly writ across this unique & epic poem-in-song.
The album opens with the jazzy and fast paced “Calling All Protons.” Wurmy’s unique vocals share what makes up the world around us and lament how things are not so good on “our garden planet at the moment”. He sings from the POV of the planet herself who needs “freedom from tar/freedom from roads” and “gonna gotta get out from under this carbon overload.” Wurmy hopes to bring attention to the natural world held hostage by car-culture. Here in “Calling All protons” Wurmy reminds us that a change agent named Greta has come forward to ‘save the planet smothered in roads”.
Next up, “The Rattlin’ Bog” is a folk and americana pop-song with a “Bingo” or “12 Days of Christmas” style. It describes a “tree of life” in the metaphorical environment of a Bog in the valley, and reminds us how an interdependent ecosystem works by supporting itself with infinite interconnectivity from the largest to smallest organisms.
“A Garden is Born” is the bridge that takes us to “Garden Song” (delicately adjusted from David Mallet’s orginal) adapted here to fit Wurmy’s overarching narrative. He asks the listener to muster up some intentionality and consider planting a community garden here and now. It’s upbeat with an alt-pop sound. “Sharing and Sharing Alike” is the next bridge/ monologue that takes us to “Little Seed,” where he opines about communal sharing of land beyond current ideas of ownership. “Little Seed” is a folk song originally performed by Woody Guthrie about the travails of caring for plants, and the plight of anyone trying to care for anything, really.
“I Remember Now!” is the bridge that takes us into “Everything is My Family,” a paen to our connection to everything that is. “Everything is My Family” is almost entirely in Spanish. Wurmy plaintively sings to the mountains, valleys and seas — to the plants, and all creatures as his family. “We Humans are 18 Percent Plant” is the bridge to “Each of Us is a Flower,” and points out how the human DNA strand is significantly plant based information — so we basically ARE part plant. “Each of Us is a Flower” has an island vibe with a xylophone and maracas. Wurmy sings “each of us is a flower/we need the sun and rain,” hoping to bring attention to both climate change and our connectivity as flowers in the collective space of our global garden.
“Listen to Those Forests” is the narrative bit that take us to “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground (a Mountain Upside Down Song).” Here Wurmy pitches a radical empathy with all things — urging that we listen with our hearts to everything that is. “I Wish I Was a Mole in the Ground” is led by the banjo and has a strong country sound. It continues to develope themes of empathy and appreciation for those around us and the interconnected natural world that supports us. But Wurmy goes far beyond the classic ‘I wish I was a Mole in the Ground’ lyrics, eventually singing “i wish I was the river/ the wind/ the ethereal mystery”.
“Bicycle Day” is an infectiously delicious ode to bicycles. Here Wurmy – a lifelong bicycle enthusiast – playfully sings about how bikes are literal and metaphorical freedom delivering machines with the power to transform thinking, and give spiritual liberation. He gleefully croons “When Elizabeth Cady Stanton and her gal pal Susan B/In the springtime of the withering of the 19th century/Leapt upon their bicycles speeding fast to a new world/They imagined equality for womenfolk, yes equality for womenfolk/Would finally unfold.”
“Joshua Tree” is the 80’s pop stylized song about nourishing our Earth; an epic prayer for rain / and using the prayer for rain allegorically to pray that “love rain down upon us all”.
“No One Too Small” is a piano based ballad inspired by Gretta Thurnberg’s climate movement that spirals to epic proportion. Wurmy sings from the imagined perspective of the sea captain who sailed Greta across the Atlantic to the United Nations Climate conference in New York City in 2019.
“Beautiful Dreamer” – adapted from the Stephen Foster classic – begins the sleepy time, closing portion of the program that closes the album. Slow, and sleepy the song uses the organ (or at least the organ setting on a keyboard) to create a lulling vibe. It’s about the beauty of music, and nature as it lives in the listener – “there’s a beautiful wave across the universe, and that wave is you, of course”. “Too Ra Loo Ra Loo Ral” is a classic Irish Folk Tune and and homage to the nurturing grandmother in us all. “Arrurrú Mi Niño & and Rattlin End” ties into “Everything is My Family.” It’s also a Spanish ballad. Wurmy sings to all family formations — starting with his own “Dadoo & Poppa Love you”, including lesbian families “Ema and Mommy Love you” and closing with “you know your mother loves you/you’ve got your mother’s love/now go and radiate it child/like the moon the sun above.”
The final song, “Good Morning, I Love You” is a euphoric folk-pop song about the life cycle of seedlings and the healing power of love and forgiveness inspired in many ways by the traditional Hawaian practice, Hoʻoponopono. It was written by the undiscovered songwriter Helen Germaine specifically for the project.
For you the Garden was produced by Matthew Lawrence Lawton (IG @MusicLawton) and features harmonies and additional vocals by Hale May (IG @HaleMay).
The album is dedicated to Wurmy’s children, River Jack (2016) and Stella Hawk (2020), The Micheltorena School & Garden Community (2009), and Wurmy’s dearly departed garden compatriot Leonardo Chalupowicz with whom Wurmy first dreamed about making garden inspired music.
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