A small delight.
I've been a big fan of Rhode Island storyteller and songwriter Keith Munslow for awhile now. His last album of songs, Accidentally (on purpose) (review) was a well-crafted collection of children's pop, and his Dressed Up for the Party -- two stories, two songs -- is a popular request in our house. His new album Homemade Fun is even better. As you might expect from a storyteller and improv performer, Munslow spends a lot of time thinking about kids' lives and the importance of imagination in those lives. So on the funky horn-tinged "Every Day Is A Summer Day," he sings about picturing summer in the midst of winter (and sounds like a bit like Stan Ridgway on "Mexican Radio"). The silly "The Leftovers" describes an army of left-too-much-overs marching through the house. And on the '80s pop homage "Watchin' All the Cars Go By," the narrator sees freeway traffic and sings "Every one has a place to be / every one has a story for me / They just keep comin' / and I wonder why..."
The humor in a lot of the songs is definitely not subtle (you neither expect nor receive any subtlety on a song title "Code Id By Doze"), which is fine -- kids'll eat it up. But parents (and kids paying close attention) will probably howl most at the denouement of "Dust Bunny," about a kid who chooses a dust bunny to be his pet. And the near-instrumental surf-rock of "Spork," featuring awesome tenor saxophone work by Gordon Beadle, is the best dance song of the year.
The 34-minute album is most likely going to be appreciated by kids ages 5 through 9. You can read lyrics to the album and hear a few samples here. Homemade Fun is a sweet nugget of an album and what a lot of kids' music should be -- great music well-played and with lyrics that touch upon kids' experiences. Parents will like; kids will love. Definitely recommended.