Jumping Through Hoops is the name for an all-star band of Brooklyn Americana musicians, including Kristin Andreassen, guitarist Chris Eldridge, and the project's creator, child psychologist/stringband fiddler (a phrase I typed just so I could be the first person ever to type that) Dr. Kari Groff. Given Dr. Groff's background and the fact that the next JTH release is designed "to help families with the tough issues kids face growing up," you might think this would be a dry, didactic release.
There are parts of this album so joyful it seems to burst forth from the computer or iPod. You need not be a believer to feel moved by the band's take on the spiritual "Open Up the Window Noah." The album opener "Dance All Night" mixes a subtly positive message ("Dance all day and all night long / find your voice and sing along / dance all night 'til the break of day / feet can't stop while the fiddle girl play") with a melody that will encourage many listening to dance along. "The Secret Key" is a gentle original about friendship, and you might think that maybe the overt messaging's kicking in, but that's followed up by the zippiest version of "Shortnin' Bread" you will ever hear. The rest of the album continues to maintain that balance, buoyed by accomplished playing.
There are a handful of songs whose messages are targeted at kids ages 4 through 9, but it'll likely have a broader appeal than that. You can stream the 26-minute album using the widget below. Rockin' to the Fiddle is a fabulous little sliver of bluegrass and Americana for the whole family. Fans of folks like Elizabeth Mitchell, Little Mo McCoury, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, and Dan Zanes -- and just plain good music -- ears up. Definitely recommended.