Review: Every Day Is A Birthday - Brady Rymer

Brady Rymer's 2006 release Every Day Is A Birthday is his fourth CD of children's music. Accompanied by what might just be the best-sounding band in children's music, Rymer delivers a solid batch of songs that will engage both kids and adults.

Brady Rymer was a member of the '90s roots-rock band From Good Homes. On Birthday, he's firmly placed in the AAA (adult album alternative) format, with hints of alt-country, cajun, and Motown thrown in for good measure. Fans of the Wallflowers, Counting Crows, and the Jayhawks will probably enjoy the musical textures here. I also heard not a little bit of Paul Westerberg in the album, both in the melodies and the voice, if not the desperation.

Indeed, Rymer has a thoroughly positive outlook on childhood. Songs like "Look In Your Pocket" and "Diggin' Up a Dinosaur" talk about the power of childhood imagination, while the amusing "Dilly Dally Daisy" and "Keep Up With You" celebrates childhood energy ("Mama needs a hot bath every evening / Loofah sponges, essential oils... / If she's ever gonna keep up with you!"). Some listeners may find some of the slower and quieter songs (such as "Side By Side") a bit too earnest, but that's more an issue of taste -- your "tolerance for mushy," as it were. I personally preferred it when Rymer let the band loose, as in the opening track "Rock 'N' Roll Mother Goose," the cajun-styled Guthrie classic "Little Sacka Sugar," or the rollicking "Mama Don't Allow." (I also could've sworn I heard a bit of a sneer in "Instead of Watching My TV" as if Rymer was telling the child in question to do something instead of watching his TV. But maybe I'm reading too much into that.)

A couple other notes: The album comes with a collection of snippets from the songs to challenge the listener to identify which song which snippet came from. This was harder than I anticipated. Must pay closer attention! It also comes with karaoke versions of three album tracks. This is such a cool idea that I can't believe it hasn't been done before (that I'm aware of). This is really great.

In the end, if you're looking for something more "adult-sounding" than some of the children's pop/rock that's out there, this CD is for you. (My wife, who definitely fits that category, really likes the CD.) It's best for ages 4 to 9. Recommended. Available at the usual online suspects.