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A Brilliant, Wacky Kids' Music Debut

Album: Keller Williams, Kids

Jamband darling Keller Williams jumps with both feet into family music with the release of Kids. Intricate guitar work and simple rhythms are the key to the CD’s success. It’s a brilliantly wacky effort, opening with “My Neighbor Is Happy Again” and a saga that starts with “I don’t have a lawn mower ‘cause I got a goat.” The song builds into a “House that Jack Built” story with catchy rhythm and help from Williams’ muse, his daughter Ella.

His celebration of sitting in the “Car Seat” where “I feel safe, pretending that the car seat’s floating out in space,” stands with the best of Woody Guthrie’s simple approach to kids’ music. In “Hula Hoop to Da Loop,” Williams layers sounds of percussion to create the song’s hypnotic beat. The video of “Hula Hoop…” is worth finding for the sight of Williams’ using a single microphone in a field to create those sonic layers.

Williams’ website has activities for the whole family, including a “goat piano” that echoes the CD cover’s obsession with goats. The family-friendly merchandise on the website indicates that Williams is in family music to stay. www.kellerwilliams.net

Song: The Baby Grands, “Palindrome Express”

Songs that play with language encourage kids’ creative thought processes. When the song is as clever as The Baby Grands’ “Palindrome Express,” thinking comes with a pop country beat.

If your kid gets excited by concepts such as “Racecar spelled backwards still spells racecar,” this song from The Baby Grands’ second album (aptly called The Baby Grands II) provides 14 different palindromes served with classic truckdriving-style country rhythm. The language lesson morphs into a geography lesson if you research the song’s destination “Wassamassaw.” www.thebabygrands.com

Event: Singalong Sound of Music , Jan. 1, 2011

Local communities have climbed aboard the New Year’s Eve First Night bandwagon, with annual events such as Trout Fishing in America in concert at the Ocean City (NJ) Music Pier and the Please Touch Museum’s Countdown to Noon.

Philadelphians looking for New Year’s Day activities beyond the Mummer’s Parade should consider World Café Live’s Singalong Sound of Music, with a noontime show for kids and dinnertime showing for adults. The movie’s menacing Nazi sub-plot should get serious consideration if you’re deciding to bring younger kids. Otherwise, this is a great chance for families with kids ages 8 & up to give voice to their inner Von Trapps.

Dressing in costumes (especially those made from curtains) is encouraged. http://tickets.worldcafelive.com

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.

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