Princeton-born Laurie Berkner released her kids' music debut Whaddaya Think of That? in 1997, available only as a cassette at the time. With the 1998 release of her second set of songs for kids, Buzz Buzz, Berkner formed her own record company, Two Tomatoes Records. The follow up, 1999's Victor Vito, became a huge success and led to Berkner's first national TV appearance on the FX Network's American Baby Show. Victor Vito won a Parents' Guide to Children's Media Award and two Children's Music Web Awards.
Berkner's fourth CD, Under a Shady Tree, was released in 2002 and garnered her even more awards, rave reviews, and commercial success. The album won a N.A.P.P.A. Gold Award, a Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award, a Parent's Guide to Children's Media Award, a Children's Music Web Award, an iParenting Media Award, and an Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Platinum Award. Berkner returned to the record charts the summer of 2008 with her first CD in six years. Rocketship Run was released by Two Tomatoes Records and distributed by Razor & Tie Entertainment in August, and, for the first time on a Berkner album, features collaborations with bandmates Susie Lampert and Adam Bernstein.
The Music of 'A Laurie Berkner Christmas'
Berkner invited several guest stars from the kids' music constellations to help out on A Laurie Berkner Christmas, including Elizabeth Mitchell and Brady Rymer. Of course she's joined by her long-time bandmates Susie Lampert on keyboards, Adam Bernstein on bass, and Bob Golden on drums. Most of the songs on A Laurie Berkner Christmas are traditional tunes, but Berkner tries her hand at holiday musical compositions and delivers "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight," "Candy Cane Jane," and "Christmas Lights."
A Laurie Berkner Christmas begins with a spirited, finger-snapping rendition of "Jingle Bells," with a little "Bo Diddley" beat thrown in. Berkner's own "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight" describes the anticipation of Christmas gifts in the morning, sounding a little like a tune Barenaked Ladies would perform. "Little Drummer Boy" gets a straight ahead, four beat rock treatment, while the waltzing "I Saw Three Ships" stays pretty close to the original version and features Brady Rymer's mandolin. Berkner's own jaunty "Candy Cane Jane" could fit in nicely on an episode of Sesame Street with its instrumentation, imagery, and boundless cheer. The classic "Do You Hear What I Hear?" gets a smoothed out, easy listening treatment, while the spirited "Children Go Where I Send Thee" features Brady Rymer's vocals and bass, and has a great "'round the campfire" feel.
More Music from 'A Laurie Berkner Christmas'
A Laurie Berkner Christmas will no doubt thrill fans of Laurie Berkner, and the album will make a nice little addition to collectors of Christmas music for kids. Although hard-core Berknerheads are eagerly awaiting new music by the less-than-prolific kids' music star, A Laurie Berkner Christmas will do just nicely in the meantime.
Released October 30, 2012; Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie
- "Jingle Bells"
- "Santa's Coming to My House Tonight"
- "The Little Drummer Boy"
- "I Saw Three Ships"
- "Candy Cane Jane"
- "Do You Hear What I Hear?"
- "Children Go Where I Send Thee"
- "Silent Night"
- "Christmas Lights"
- "Christmas is Coming"
- "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer"
- "Jolly Old St. Nicholas"
- "Frosty the Snowman"
- "White Christmas"
- "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"