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Review: Elizabeth Mitchell, Sunny Day

Let’s start off the week with some kids music . . .

Elizabeth Mitchell
Sunny Day
[Smithsonian/Folkways (2010)]

Finally, an album to listen to with children that isn’t all sing-a-longs about numbers and how awesome asparagus is.

Elizabeth Mitchell‘s fifth release of children’s music, Sunny Day, is a romp through folk music featuring Mitchell’s family, especially her nine-year old daughter, Storey. It’s fun, it’s cute and it’s always pleasant. Few in the market for children’s music will be disappointed with this album. Don’t be mislead, however, and think that this is the kind of CD that you’ll blare in your SUV with the windows down on the way to the club. Instead, this is music that kids and parents will enjoy together on the way to school or during quiet time at home. It’s not mindless and simplistic, the way much children’s music can be. It’s intricate and incredibly well crafted.

The tunes on Sunny Day are catchy and sweet, with melodies adapted from folk and country music. “Keep on the Sunny Side” needs some special notice with great fiddle riffs and beautiful harmonies. “Lovely Day” has such a wistful voice and smooth repetition that you’ll be sad when it ends. And the Japanese-inspired “Tsuki” gives an Eastern flair that bookends Sunny Day with a magical, simple tune that brings to mind images of quiet nights and still air. This album is a must-have for those who want avoid pandering in their children’s music and crave some intelligent craftsmanship for their own ears.

—Michael Tager (Baltimore, MD)

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