Friday, April 01, 2011

House Party in the Family Garden

Billy Kelly's Non-Blah Sound

Pennsylvania's Billy Kelly makes kids music sound informal. In fact, his new album, "The Family Garden," sounds like a one-take recording, down to the informal "I'm a little out of tune" banter between the songs. Kelly also asks smaller-than-life questions, such as "Why Is the Moon Following Me?" and answers with "does it want an english muffin?"

Kelly started recording childrens music in 2009. Yes, a mere two years ago and suddenly he's up to his third full CD. But then again, there's a deceptive simplicity in a song like "Scootdootdoodlydoo," which sounds like something from a 1920s radio program and "The Happy Happy Whistling Song." And he's brought along some accomplished friends, including Lunch Money's Molly Ledford on, "We Could Be Pen Pals."

Kelly chose to record "The Family Garden" with minimal overdubbing, giving the album a "just-recorded" feel, similar to Dan Zanes. And Kelly does not seem as concerned as other childrens recording artists are, in creating an album as a complete thought - with an intro, rollicking middle section, and a quieting down period. As if children need to be told to "calm down" after hearing a CD. Instead, Kelly delivers white rap ("Coney Island Rap Jam Thing") into a cover of "Rock Lobster," the original "The Invention Of The Straw" and its fictitious history lesson, then ends with the equally-uptempo "It's A Wonderful Life."

We can only hope that Billy Kelly has many silly thoughts left in his head that he's looking forward to sharing in the coming years.
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