Little Miss Ann
has released two albums of groovy, thoughtful, fun music for kids and their families, but this one may top everything she's offered to date. Walk with Me
presents originals from Ann and friends, along with unique covers of traditional tunes, making the album one of the best kids' music albums of 2012
Little Miss Ann has been teaching at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music for almost a decade, leading the Wiggleworms class there for the last 5 years. At Old Town, she sings with, performs for, and teaches songs to young children and their parents in an effort to pass on the rich tradition of folk tunes intertwined in the past 400 years of world history. She uses her experience as a first-generation Filipina-American woman, a Chicago public school teacher, mother, and band front woman to inspire children and their families both in a live setting and on CD.
Time Out Chicago has named Little Miss Ann one of 8 of the "Most Influential Kids Musicians" in Chicago as well as "One of the Best Things to Happen to Chicago Kids." Little Miss Ann also performs regularly at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago; Little Beans Café, another great place to hear live music in Chicago; and does a circuitous route of public libraries in the Chicago area performing for children and their families.
Ann Torralba released Music for Tots, her first album as Little Miss Ann, in 2006, followed by Clap for Love in 2008. Little Miss Ann is joined by many friends on Walk with Me, including multi-award winning Brooklyn-based Suzi Shelton and Independent Music Award winner Seattle-based Charlie Hope. Walk with Me was produced by Jon Williams.
The Music of 'Walk with Me'
Little Miss Ann kicks off Walk with Me
with "Fly, Shine, Soar," a quiet, acoustic
tune addressed to her daughter, encouraging her to be all she can possibly be. Next comes "I Forgot," a great slow-tempo rocker that sounds like a cross between Guided By Voices
and late-'70s Fleetwood Mac
, the lyrics of which remind us to do what we love and love what we do. Little Miss Ann and band perform a spirited bluegrass-rock version of the traditional Australian
folk song "Waltzing Matilda," as Suzi Shelton contributes vocals and and fellow Old Town School of Folk Music performer Maria McCullough provides fiddle. Suzi Shelton joins in again on the activity song "Put Out Your Hand," as the swirling organ, the rolling, thunderous percussion, and the world view lyrics will remind you of classic Santana
. "Walk with Me" may be the grooviest, most uplifting song you've heard this side of The Polyphonic Spree, and the chorus will have the entire auditorium singing along. Eve Ludwig contributes flute and Dan Rest plays trumpet on this gospel rocker.
More Music from 'Walk with Me'
Little Miss Ann and her band put a truly unique musical spin on the old traditional tune "Hop High Ladies," as Jon Williams strums a guitarron and Jeff Weisfeld plays the jaw harp
, resulting in a song that sounds like Magical Mystery Tour
walking in a New Orleans street parade. Charlie Hope lends her sweet vocals to the quietly uplifting "Sometimes," as Little Miss Ann plays ukulele. The brief "Goodbye Goodbye" is a great example of Ann's musical style: the quirky tune features a great chord change midway through, as the tempo charmingly takes on a life of its own and Ann whistles a solo. If The Meat Puppets
ever made a kids' song (lots of their tunes seemed like they were, anyway), it would probably sound a little like "Goodbye Goodbye." Swirling organ and phased guitars float atop a herky-jerky island beat on "Take Me for Who I Am," a tune about acceptance
that features the great line "You're my LP, hey what's that? / It's the thing before cassettes." Walk with Me
comes to a close with "Honey Bear Ham," a tune Jeff Weisfeld of The Little Miss Ann Band wrote about living in the moment and enjoying life as it comes along.
If nothing else, Little Miss Ann is sincere and down to earth as a musician and performer. But, of course, she's much more than that: Ann Torralba's approach to music incorporates themes of empowerment, togetherness, and self-confidence draped over the top of an organic, groovy musical backdrop. Pick up a copy of Walk with Me, you and your family will dig it. You can preview the entire album over at Little Miss Ann's Bandcamp page!
Released January 15, 2012; Late Bloomer Records
- "Fly, Shine, Soar"
- "I Forgot"
- "Waltzing Matilda"
- "Put Out Your Hand"
- "Walk with Me"
- "Hop High Ladies"
- "Goodbye Goodbye"
- "Take Me for Who I Am"
- "Honey Bear Ham"