Listen To This: Ben Fairfield

"Listen To This" is my brand-new category for music that doesn't really fit a review format but deserves a mention. I'm going to inaugurate it with music from Ben Fairfield, an artist out of Hawaii who, he says on his website, was inspired by the NPR story that drew many of you here. (I am sure that it was Justin Roberts and Brady Rymer who inspired him, not me or Melissa Block.)

Fairfield's music is acoustic guitar-accompanied folk-pop covering such kid-friendly topics as dogs, penguins, and homework. Lyrically, he's got an environmental/ecological bent, so if your kids interested in that, these tunes are perfect. He's not above silliness (his conversion of Shel Silverstein's "The Homework Machine" into song) or sweetness ("Goodnight"), though. (The friendliness of the first track, "Hello," may, however, puzzle some kids who've had Stranger Danger drilled into their heads.) The combination is somewhat a combination of Johnny Bregar and Jack Johnson. (Those are just the two artists whose musical and lyrical concerns struck me as familiar here.)

As a collection of songs, it doesn't work quite as well because of the relative same-ness of approaches, but the individual tracks are pretty strong. Try listening to "Hello," "It's Men That Try To Run the Universe," and "Goodnight" for a representative sample.

And drop him a line and tell him to get the CD pressed and to start working on the next batch of songs pronto.