Billy Kelly and The Blah Blah Blahs are Bruce W. Derr on guitar, Bob Albin on bass, Jake Kline on drums, and Billy Kelly on everything else. Now, Billy Kelly might be Billy Kelly, he might be Earl Pickens, no one knows for sure. Here's what's true: this Lewisburg, PA-based singer/songwriter melded his alt-country background with The Monkees (and brought in fellow members of The Sweetbriars) to create an unforgettable kids' music debut album.
Kelly put it best in an interview with Out With The Kids' Jeff Bogle about Thank You for Joining the Happy Club: "I didn't want to make a kids album that adults could tolerate, I wanted to make an adult album that kids would love." Right on.
Happy Club kicks off with the extremely literal "This is the First Song," which proceeds to completely deconstruct song structure, explaining that "this song is special, it's self-referential, which, as you can tell, means it's about itself." Folks like sunshine, Chewbacca, and feeding ducks, but "People Really Like Milk," and the wistful title tune, featuring an understated Ween-like guitar solo, claims that "we're here to spread some cheer and love."
The band really channel They Might Be Giants on "I Don't Know," a manic, word-filled, tempo-changing song about, well, stuff we don't know, while the breezy pop of "Springtime: It's My Favorite" celebrates the band's fave season. And a cover of Talking Heads' "Don't Worry About the Government" isn't something you'd expect to hear on a kids' record, but Billy Kelly's fantastic version fits in perfectly with the other tunes on Happy Club.
The coulda-been-a-Jonathan Richman-song "(Let Me Tell You) What I Like About You" has lots of fun with letters, while the great pop composition "I Can't Get Away from Myself" features some cosmic kid logic (and dialogue from astronaut Dave Scott). Happy Club ends with a radio-ready, stuck-in-your-head ode to the soothing, exhilarating powers of the "Mindless Pop Song," and the rockin' dream/nightmare storysong "S-N-O-W-M-A-N (Snowman!)."
Billy Kelly is definitely a new force to be reckoned with in the kids' music field, delivering a 1-2-3 punch of catchy tunes, witty lyrics, and songs that are fun for the whole family on his debut album Thank You For Joining The Happy Club. This one easily lands on the list of best kids' music of 2009.
Released May 1, 2009; Billy Kelly
- "This is the First Song"
- "People Really Like Milk"
- "Thank You for Joining the Happy Club"
- "I Don't Know!"
- "Springtime: It's My Favorite"
- "Don't Worry About the Government" (written by David Byrne)
- "(Let Me Tell You) What I Like About You"
- "I Can't Get Away from Myself"
- "Mindless Pop Song"
- "S-N-O-W-M-A-N (Snowman!)"