Review: Songs For Sleepy Beings - Half Moon

SongsForSleepyBeings.jpgMaybe it's been a long and sleepy week, but I'm very taken by this CD.

Songs For Sleepy Beings is the creation of Michigan's Gretchen Eichberger-Kudlack, who put together Half Moon, an old-timey string band which here plays a set of quiet-time folk music on the first half of this CD. Traditional lullabyes ("Pretty Little Horses") mingle with ever-so-slightly more current lullabyes ("Goodnight Little Gwen," attributed to Woody Guthrie).

The musicianship here is first-rate, with the Half Moon musicians hitting just the right balance of technical expertise and tenderness, saving the album from the mushiness which afflicts many lullaby CDs. The band rightly plays second fiddle (if you'll pardon the pun) to Eichberger-Kudlack, who has a clear, bright voice. Initially her voice seems too bright for a quiet-time CD, but the secret genius behind the CD's appeal is the tracking, as the music and arrangements grow ever-so-slightly dimmer with each track. By the time the CD hits track 7, "Baby's Bed's A Silver Moon," 20 minutes in, her vocals are much more appropriate for a sleepy baby. Following that is another 15 minutes of Eichberger-Kudlack playing familiar lullabyes unaccompanied (mostly) on piano (there's a couple tracks with vocals). By this time your child (or you) will probably be fast asleep.

The album is most appropriate for kids ages birth through 6. You can hear clips at the album's CDBaby page, or listen to some complete songs at the Half Moon music page. The packaging (featuring artwork by Jamey Barnard), I should note, is simple but very pretty.

I hear few lullaby CDs I can recommend whole-heartedly. Songs for Sleepy Beings is the exception -- it meets that high standard. Besides being a lovely gift for new parents, you might want to consider it for your own family. Definitely recommended.