Artist: Fox & Branch
Album: Let Us Get Together
Age Range: 4 through 9
Description: I will admit to being biased in favor of kids music that has an indie-rock sound, even if that music is hip-hop or folk at its core. Not dramatically biased, but an album of straight-ahead folk music is not what I immediately gravitate to. Having said that, while the Milwaukee duo's fifth family album is not necessarily my first choice, it is a very solid entry of the folk music tradition carved by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Cotten, and others.
As with their previous albums, Dave Fox and Will Branch mix traditional songs ("Aiken Drum," featuring a sugar-y and non-sugary set of facial parts, "I've Been Working on the Railroad," "Zum Gali Gali"), familiar songs that might be considered more modern folk songs of a sort ("New Orleans Hop Scop Blues," "Accentuate the Positive"), and folk originals (I particularly liked the accordion-flecked "Tucson" and tender album closer "When You Were Born"). The duo's guitars are the base upon which they add banjos, mandolins, accordions, and on songs like "Big Kid" and "Let Us Get Together," a kitchen sink's worth of percussion.
Amidst the pop-rock focus of most modern kids music, I appreciate those artists like Fox & Branch who've maintained their interest in the folk tradition. They're one of the best practitioners in the field right now and even those families who prefer their music amplified will likely find a lot of these songs delightful mixed in amongst their powerpop. Recommended.