With a little extra family time over the winter holidays, here are some FMR: Quick Picks for car rides and afternoon lazing-about sessions.
Things That Roar marks the debut of Papa Crow, aka Jeff Krebs, a Michigan-based mutli-instrumentalist with an easy-going style that clicks with young listeners (and older ears, too). Layered with Krebs’s straightforward folk vocals and his ukele, guitar, and banjo-playing, there’s much to crow about, including such songs as “Baby Makes Three” (with a kazoo solo at the end!), “The Peek-a-Boo Waltz,” “Polar Bear in a Snowstorm,” and “When I Grow Up.”
Rocknoceros presents its fourth album, following such clever discs as Pink! and Dark Side of the Moon Bounce, and it’s full of catchy melodies and animal facts. Colonel Purple Turtle (also available with a companion book) ranges over musical styles, from Latin/Calypso (“Harry Elefante”) to to pop-rock (“Echolocation’) to jazz (“Truman Coyote”).
For preschool kids, the new Jim Gill release, Music Play for Folks of All Stripes, is an impeccably crafted piece of edu-tainment. In teaching kids about the connection between music and play, Gill covers a diverse landscape that’s incredibly user-friendly. Sample “Beethoven’s Five Finger Play,” “The Onomatopoeia Pizzeria,” and “Habanera La La La,” among others.
From Russia with love comes Sand Castle, the elegant creation of dad-composer Sasha Bondarev. Nine songs reflect Bondarev’s background in Russia (there’s a classical-music feel to some of the songs, here) as well as his adopted home of America (where he has lived for the past 10 years). Try “Masha and the Rain,” “Little Pirate,” and “March of the Toy Soldiers.”