Reviewed by Gregory Keer
In this Father’s Day edition of the FMR: Quick Picks, I lead off with a dad from Southern California, Jeremy Toback, who has a new CD with his musical partner, Renee Stahl. Renee & Jeremy harmonize beautifully on A Little Love as they perform acoustic versions of a lovingly selected collection of classic songs, ranging from pop chestnuts such as “Daydream Believer’ and “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” to alt-rock stand-outs like “Shiny Happy People” and “Give it Away.” Yes, this is one that grown-ups can listen to without the kids as well as use to give kids a lesson about great songs and wonderful interpretations.
Last year’s featured review for June was a Recess Monkey offering. Here they are again with In Tents, proving that these Seattle singer-educators are both prolific and amazingly consistent in making fantastic music. Sixteen tracks juggle and fly through the air of a circus theme through songs such as the title track, “Odditorium,” “Carousel,” “The Dancin’ Bear,” and “Crystal Ball.” I really don’t know how these guys can be so clever in music and lyrics with a new CD every year, but I don’t care as long as my kids and me are having a great time.
The Okee Dokee Brothers are a duo that have earned a non-stop litany of accolodes for their bluegrass music for kids. It is so very well deserved, but you can decide for yourself by listening to Can You Canoe: A Mississippi Adventure Album. The recording is the result of a month-long canoe trip taken by the “brothers,” Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing, who were inspired to write such songs as “Haul Away Joe,” “The Bullfrog Opera,” “King Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki-Me-O,” and “Small and Simple” (featuring Elizabeth Mitchell).
A few other treats worth mentioning for Father’s Day gifts are: Songs in the Shade of the Flamboyant Tree, a marvelous French-produced book-and-CD package of French Creole llullabies and Nursery Rhymes; the latest from Caspar Babypants, Hot Dog (filled with witty songs by one of my favorite kindie music makers); and Over the Moon: The Broadway Lullaby Project, a CD of songs by Broadway composers and performers made to benefit breast cancer research, support, and education.