Check This Out: Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes – Andy Z

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In the children’s music genre there are folk songs a plenty, and with good reason. Their repetitive choruses encourage language development, and build a foundation for rhythm and rhyme. Many of them offer opportunities for movement, as well. I know I’m not the only one who has galloped around the room while singing “She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain!”

Releasing an album full of traditional folk and classic children’s songs may not be out of the ordinary, however, as much as I have heard “This Land Is Your Land,” “Your Are My Sunshine,” and “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad,” I always appreciate when artists put an original spin on them, essentially creating something that feels new. That’s the difference for me every time.

Andy Zs sixth studio album, Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes, does just that. While planning for the release of this album, the Bay Area-based musician spent time researching the origins of popular folk songs in an effort to present them in their original lyrical form. Andy preserves the authentic sounds of the genre through carefully curated orchestral arrangements and infuses them with his signature charm and positive energy.

Families will enjoy singing along with “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” a seasonal classic, revisiting the wild west with “Ghost Riders in the Sky,” and harmonizing to “Happy Trails,” which features a sweet duet with Karla Kane from The Corner Laughers. Younger listeners (pre-school to lower elementary ages) will smile as they “Shake a Friend’s Hand,” “Shake Their Sillies Out,” and do “The Hokey Pokey.”

Em and I listened to the album together, and as she heard “This Land is Your Land” followed by “Shake a Friend’s Hand,” she proudly sang along excited by the fact that she knew all of the words. As I listened to her, I recalled how we sang together during her toddler years. It was surprisingly nostalgic.

Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes is an enjoyable collection of time-honored tracks that will appeal to children and adults of all ages. Sometimes reinventing the wheel can fall flat, but taking that same wheel and giving it a fresh coat of paint can be a wonderful thing.

Learn more about Andy’s latest efforts and Listen to samples from the album at the official “Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes site.”

Also make sure to check out the stellar troupe of Bay Area artists that accompanied Andy on “The Team” page at the official “Classic Songs and Traditional Tunes site.”

The album is available for purchase through CDBaby, Itunes, and Amazon.

Be sure to catch more of Andy’s tunes by subscribing to his Pandora channel.

Check It Out: Elizabeth Mitchell – You Are My Sunshine

“So glad I’m Here Every Day” is how this album first opens up and, frankly, that is really how I feel when I listen to this album. And really anything that Elizabeth Mitchell produces. She has such a sweet way of luring me and my daughter into every word she sings. It’s beautiful music.

Although this is her second release, and she has done several releases and projects since then, I decided to review this album first since I am new at reviewing and it was my very first love, er listen, to Elizabeth Mitchell.  Plus, we have been listening to it a lot lately.

This album is wonderful in so many ways. First off, it covers various styles of music and is diverse enough that parents may just find themselves listening to and/or singing songs from this album when the kids are not around. And not just because those darn kids songs don’t leave our heads, but because they are cool enough to be a part of the grown-up community.  The tempo of the album starts off upbeat and slowly winds down with some great folk numbers.

Let’s start with the alphabet song. Yes, you’ve heard and sung this a million times, but when it’s put into a hip, dub-reggae composition such as Mitchell has done here it works, and works really well.  Then there is the fun Bo Diddley which is set to the tune of Bow Wow’s “I Want Candy.”  Brings back such memories for me.  I still remember my Dad coming home with their LP.

The album contains a number of covers the likes of which include Ladybug Picnic, featured on Sesame Street and 3 is the Magic Number from The Magic School Bus. There are also other covers like Goin’ Down The Road Feelin’ Bad which was sung by likes of Woody Guthrie and even the Grateful Dead.

I have several favorites on this album but instead of listing them here, I would just urge you to visit her site, listen to her album and get into the groove.

You can get to know Elizabeth Mitchell at her site You Are My Flower and even listen to the album (and others) here.

This album probably works best for kids under 6.  It’s been a toddler favorite in our household since E was a teeny little monster at 1.5 yrs old.  Enjoy!