I hesitate to call the DC-area-based duo Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer elder statesmen of the kids music genre because they're neither, you know, elderly nor male. But they've been doing the family music thing for about 25 years now. Which is why it's pretty great that their collaborator on their latest album Banjo to Beatbox is, well, not even 25 years old. Christylez Bacon is a DC-area hip hop artist; here, he adds his beatboxing and rhyming skills to Cathy & Marcy's banjo and folk stylings. On the album's best tracks, like the resetting of the traditional "Soup, Soup," the combination thrills, pointing the way to a 21st century folk music sound. That song, along with with "Hip Hop Humpty Dumpty," takes full advantage of the collaborators' strengths. The other songs here are enjoyable (I also quite like their take on "New River Train"), but those two are the standouts.
You can listen to clips of the album (best probably for kids ages 4 through 9) here. (They're calling it an EP, but at 30 minutes, who knows what "EP" means any more.)
I've always liked Fink and Marxer's wilingness to collaborate outside what somebody else might perceive to be their genre -- their collaboration with Texas polka group Brave Combo All Wound Up! is an excellent album. I don't think Banjo to Beatbox reaches those heights -- it seems a little more stylistically limited to me -- but I hope that Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer continue to make music every now and then with Christylez Bacon because there are parts of this album that are pretty exhilerating. Recommended.