Laura Freeman's Somersault Season arrives a couple years after its demos were completed and a full four years after its excellent predecessor, Color Wheel Cartwheel (review), an album which I still play around the house, no small feat given the constant influx of material.
Like Cartwheel, Season is a concept album, except instead of colors, it's about the passing of the seasons. (TMBG can now cross Here Comes Seasons off their future sequels list.) Each season gets its own foreign-language introduction (a la the colors on Cartwheel) and three season-appropriate songs. As opposed to its predecessor, the songs here are more interactive, meaning that your kids (and you) will enjoy it more if you move. Stomp along with "My Brother's a Monster," shake along to "Can You Shake It?," or dance along with the western swing of "1, 2, 3, 4." Generally, the music takes a folk/bluegrass approach, aided especially by producer Mike West's mandolin and banjo work. Freeman's sly sense of humor is more prevalent live, but occasionally breaks through here on songs like the droll "Look in a Book."
The songs here are targeted very much at the kindergarten-and-under crowd (ages 2-5). You can hear samples at the album's CD Baby page. I'd also recommend Freeman's notes on the lyrics and activities.
Clearly my appreciation of Somersault Season is hampered somewhat by my affinity for Color Wheel Cartwheel, and while I'd recommend Cartwheel for an introduction to Laura Freeman over this new album (particularly as a pure listening experience), I like Somersault Season quite a bit, too. It's an especially good music-and-movement CD, heads and shoulders above most in that particular subgenre. Recommended.