Itty-Bitty Review: Home - Jazzy Ash

Kindie as a genre is moving away from the folk and rock that were its bread and butter, but oh-so-slowly.  Some hip-hop, sure, some classical and other genres represent, but it's still rock (and folk-rock) that kindie is known for.  I have to guard against my own tendencies in that regard, otherwise it'd be nothing but power-pop and indie rock here ALL THE TIME, and what would be the usefulness of that?

Of course, it's possible to make a perfectly dull album for kids that just happens to mine a less-traveled musical seam.  Luckily, that's not the case with the latest album from Los Angeles-based musician Ashli Christoval, AKA Jazzy Ash.  Her new album Home explores the sound of New Orleans, and while it's not the first to tackle the Big Easy's big musical history, it's definitely one of the most vibrant.  She moves from the unmistakeable sound of the city's famous second-line bands on the Mardi Gras-themed duet with Mista Cookie Jar on "Throw Me Something Mista" to her zydeco reworking of "Shortenin' Bread" on "Baby Loves Beignets."  There's a hint of the overtly educational here (see "Every Family's Different"), but there are more hits than misses, like "Jitterbug," which swings (and dances), and the graceful "Tuba Lullaby."  Musically, Ash has put together a solid backing band, and her own voice is one of the most appealing in kindie.  She's not at the level of the Okee Dokee Brothers in terms of her songwriting -- to be fair, they're on their fifth album at this point -- but as I listened to the album, there was something about this album that reminded me of the bluegrass duo in their playfulness and exploration of American musical traditions.

The 32-minute album will most appeal to kids ages 3 through 7.  Home is a big step forward for Ash, and as she continues her career as a kids musician, I'm eager to see where she lands next.  Recommended.