Artist: Eric Ode
Album: Rock Nocturnal
Age Range: 5 through 9
Description: As an author and poet, Eric Ode has a firm sense of a) narrative drive, and b) syllabic scanning. So do many musicians, of course, but if you're going to write an entire album about, as Ode puts it, "dirt diggers and nighttime critters," those skills are especially important lest you write lifeless songs that recite facts without engaging the listener. Can you tell I've listened to many such songs that fall on that lifeless end of the lively/lifeless spectrum?
On Rock Nocturnal, Ode puts himself safely on the other, lively side of that spectrum. It's a solid set of folky pop-rock with the occasional detour into raccoon-themed pirate chanties ("Raccoon and the Wizard's Daughter," "Hooray for Jessie Skunk"). The shuffling bluesy title track has a fun shout-out along chorus, and as you might expect from someone who spends a lot of time with the written word, there are a handful of songs which enjoy words as words ("Gophers in the Garden," "There's a Mole in the Hole," "Raccoon Round"). And if your kids just want a pop song, try "Look At That Acro-Bat." (Go here for a stream of album samples from the 33-minute album.)
Rock Nocturnal to me sounds like an album recorded at least partially with the intent for use in schools and libraries, and should be popular in those venues. Unlike many albums of that nature (er, so to speak), it also succeeds on its own merits far from that educational context. Recommended.
Note: I received a copy of the album for possible review.