Family Man Recommends: Quick Picks for July 2012

Reviewed by Gregory Keer

Hard to believe we’re already in mid-summer, but the musical holiday goes on with several new releases worth giving a spin. It all begins with Spicy Kid by Lunch Money, one of my very favorite kindie-rock groups. Singer-songwriter-band leader Molly Ledford consistently writes songs of relevance for kids, and this time has composed an album that speaks to the parent-child relationship, with pieces about a spunky child (the title tune), a parent who helps a very young one communicate with the rest of the world (“Translator”), and a kid who knows when mom is trying to keep information secret (“S.P.E.L.L.”). Not only is the music spicy and sweet, but each song is a conversation starter with children.

Another personal favorite, Eizabeth Mitchell, has done wondrous versions of classic songs on her previous albums. Now, she focuses on the folk-music legend Woody Guthrie for her album, Little Seed: Songs for Children by Woody Guthrie. In this centennial celebration of Guthrie’s birth, Mitchell — along with her string-playing husband and singing daughter — lovingly interprets “Riding in My Car,” “This Land is Your Land,” and “Little Sugar.”

Steve Denyes and Brendan Kremer are the duo — who have been friends since kindergarten – known as Hullabaloo, who deliver their ninth album (there’s also a “Best Of” collection). Raise a Ruckus indeed offers plenty to sing and play about with its blend of country, rock, folk, and blues. Songs of humor and happiness abound, including the title track, “Look at You” (inviting kids to make animal sounds), “Trash is Treasure” (about a bird making the most of what’s thrown away), and “Rocket Shoes” (using sneakers to propel imagination). Guest appearances by the aforementioned Molly Ledford, Buck Howdy, Dennis Caplinger, and Marcy Marxer augment the rousing atmosphere.

Melissa Green’s experience as a music and movement teacher for children seasoned her for a recording career that appears ready for a much higher profile, thanks to the polished pop tunes and excellent production on Sing Loud. Green’s CD ranges from the ’50s rock sound of “Baby, I Love You” and the Katy Perry-esque title song to the country blues of “Board That Train” and rockin’ cover of “We Got the Beat’ (with guest singer Brooke Shields). This album has enough substance and slick to entertain kids all the way up to their pre-teens.

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