Dogs & Other Childhood Themes

Bossa Nova beats that would be at home on a fine jazz album form the core of Jamie Broza’s latest CD for kids, I Want a Dog! —which includes a haunting cover of Antonio Carlos Jobim’s “Waters of March.” The title track is a Keb Mo’-like twangy litany of the reasons he wants a “great big furry smart lick my face lotta heart dog.” Broza is a fan of rescued dogs and donates a percentage of the album’s profits to New York’s North Shore Animal Rescue.

The non-dog songs that follow have themes like “New School” and “The No Game” that speak to the complexity of Broza’s project. “Turn That Phone Off” is a reasonable plea for Mom “to just talk to me instead.” Spoken word drop-ins like “Difficult Friends” are effectively delivered by kids’ voices. That retelling of the complaints about a birthday cake sets up “Birthday Parties Always End in Tears,” as the most realistic song about party disasters since the Verve Pipe’s “We Had to Go Home.”

A road trip with these songs could inspire some surprisingly layered conversations about the realities of childhood. And you’ll still want a dog.

Song: “Froggie Went a Courtin’,”
by Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights

Joanie Leeds’ excellent new CD What a Zoo! features a brilliant big band hip hop synthesis of the old folk chestnut “Froggie Went a Courtin.’” Some credit goes to guest Secret Agent 23 Skidoo for his imaginative rhyme told from the frog’s viewpoint.

But most praise should be heaped upon Leeds for her bluesy modern interpretation of a song done to death 100 years ago. During our first play of this song on Kids Corner, my producer exclaimed, “This rocks!” When a song stops people who listen to kids’ music for a living dead in our tracks, you have to find it.

Concert: Kindiefest

I’m going for the weekend April 29-May 1 to this annual gathering in Brooklyn, NY of kids’ music professionals. Consider a daytrip on May 1 for the free, all-afternoon Sunday concert featuring bright lights of kids’ music The Verve Pipe, Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower, Tim and the Space Cadets, and more. Six acts will play from 11:30am-4pm at Littlefield NYC, a performance and art space at 622 Degraw St.

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.

Categories: Music Reviews