Artist: Andy Z
Album: Classic Songs & Traditional Tunes
Age Range: 3 through 7
Description: If you review music long enough, you run the risk of being overly enamored of the new and of novelty because you've "heard it all before." So this album of 15 songs from the Bay Area-artist Andy Z runs the risk of being overlooked simply because it's a set of classic songs performed with few twists. But that's also the very reason why it might appeal to someone -- it's the sort of album that isn't made much anymore. I mean, I like a unique take as much as the next person, but trying to find an album of standard interpretations that has a modicum of production quality is harder than you might think.
Andy Z takes a country-folk approach to the songs, and the songs that have a Western/cowboy hook to them -- "I've Been Workin' On the Railroad," "Don't Fence Me In," "Ghost Riders in the Sky" -- fare best of all. The album also benefits from songs like "Ghost Riders" and "Shake a Friend's Hand" (along with unfamiliar-to-me lyrics for "Take Me Out to the Ballgame") that aren't as overplayed as the other traditional tunes. It's a bit languid for my tastes in spots -- there are definitely songs where I would have appreciated a Dan Zanes-style kick in the electronic guitar rear -- but the band and its guests, all of whom play a host of stringed instruments, make it sound appealing.
The 38-minute album won't be to the tastes of families needing a more modern take on traditional songs (or a traditional take on modern songs and subjects), but I'd recommend it for families whose music collection has a gap for these types of songs -- it fills that gap quite nicely.
Note: I was provided a copy of the album for possible review.