Laura Doherty's 'Kids in the City'
Dig this CD from Laura Doherty, the Early Childhood Music Program Director at Chicago's famed Old Town School of Folk Music. Kids in the City is full of breezy urban folk tunes featuring the Natalie Merchant-like vibe of Doherty's vocals. She had musical help from Scott Besaw on drums, Amalie Smith on upright bass, Rob Newhouse on lead guitar, Susan Marques on banjo, Barb Burlingame on trumpet, Skip Landt on harmonica, and Rick Rankin on percussion and melodica, who also produced, recorded, and mixed Kids in the City.
Doherty's album is a musical tribute of sorts to The Windy City: elevators and escalators, the zoo, public transportation, the farmer’s market, traffic, and hot dog stands all get a shout out on Kids in the City. "I Spy" references Lake Michigan and taxis, "Hot Dog" celebrates sport peppers and celery salt, the a cappella "Wheels in the City" catalogs things that roll around big city sidewalks, and "El Train" is a self-explanatory tune about Chicago's famous clickety clackin' mode of transportation.
More Music from 'Kids in the City'
Kids in the City is full of the sights and sounds of preschoolers' lives: "I Spy" explores the colors all around us, "Farmer's Market," with its simple vocals and banjo arrangement, has fun with names of fruits and vegetables, while "Rockin' at the Zoo" catalogs the animals you might see and hear there. And check out the wonderful melodies of "Hello Hippopotamus," "I Spy," and "Kitty Cat" (which is vaguely reminiscent of The Chordettes' "Lollipop").Doherty's album contains a couple of future kids' classics, too. "Uncle Ukulele's Band" has instruments represent members of the family, and sounds as if it could have been featured on The Muppet Show, while the very Ella Jenkins-like “Wheels in the City” is a call-and-response, a cappella tune, with overlapping melodies and vocal lines.
And Kids in the City includes two covers I’ve never heard on a children’s album before: a quiet and tender rendition of Burt Bacharach and Hal David’s “Raindrops Keep Fallin’ On My Head,” and a chooglin’ version of Robert Johnson’s “Sweet Home Chicago." Bottom line, Laura Doherty's Kids in the City is a great example of modern urban folk. For more information about Laura’s music or when you might be able to see her perform, check out the official Laura Doherty website. Now, I gotta go get a Chicago dog and a chocolate malt.
Released 2009; Laura Doherty
Spiral Up Kids' self-titled debut
Spiral Up Kids took the jam band ensemble playing of Phish, the nouveau country rock of Son Volt, and the earthy funk of The Band to create their groovy, harmony-filled, kids' music debut Spiral Up Kids.
Georgia Weinmann, Darren Cohen, and Tim Whalen, three Hudson Valley, New York parents, decided to document the lives of their toddlers through song. They got musical help from friends and fellow Hudson Valley musicians Jason Sarubbi on bass and background vocals, Ross Rice on piano and organ, Larry Packer on fiddle and mandolin, and Robin Baker on background vocals, while Darren handled guitar duty and background vocals, with Tim on drums and lead vocals.
More Music from 'Spiral Up Kids'
Highlights of Spiral Up Kids include the jam band groove of "Friends," the New Orleans shuffle of "Sugar," and the electric bluegrass of "In the Fiddle is a Song," a tune based on Durga Bernhard's picture book (she also designed the CD package). The group really channel the spirit of The Band on the vocal phrasing of "My Kitty and Me," while the sound of late-70s Crosby, Stills & Nash is revived on "Rainy Day Play."
If the H.O.R.D.E. Festival was still on the road, Spiral Up Kids would be the most likely children's band to be up on stage. Their self-titled album is a solid, earthy, fun kids' music debut. For more information about the music of Spiral Up Kids and the band’s tour dates, check out the official Spiral Up Kids website.
Released 2009; Spiral Up Kids