Full disclosure: When I see the words "Nashville musician," I decode them as "country artist."
When I read the press material for Lizza Connor's debut children's CD, COMMANDER SALAMANDER, I saw those very words and thought, "Oh brother. Time for steel pedal guitar and southern accents."
Well, I was wrong. A native Floridian who recently moved to Tennessee for family reasons, Connor's children's music is very much in the vein of Laurie Berkner. You get songs about cleaning up ("Hello, Bubbles"), watching your surroundings ("Safe-Ti Song"), and even an album-closing lullaby ("Sleepytime"). If anything, Connor and her producer, Nomad Ovunc, went out of their way to minimize the "southern" content on the CD.
A mother of two young children, Connor is very much into narrowcasting for her self-built audience. You can almost hear her using music's power of persuasion to push the kids into bathroom to clean up. My wife did a double-take at some of the lyrics for "Hello, Bubbles":
Bye bye blood on my knees
That I scraped climbing trees
Going down the drain, bye bye
Time to get clean clean clean
As with most "early age" children's music, you get the prototypical self-esteem, you can do anything song. Here it's "Anything I Wanna Be." Comedians may joke about singing to kids about becoming janitors and secretaries, but there's nothing wrong with suggesting that kids at least start by aiming high. The weight of the real world can come later.
The title track ("Commander Salamander") relates to a pet lizard, with the punchline being that it's the one thing the child possesses that her sister won't touch. That sentiment won't hold true with this CD, which the under-five set may want to play repeatedly. Our 2 1/2 year old is delighted every time I bring home a recently-reviewed CD and announce, "This one's for Matt." No doubt he will be enchanted by Lizza Connor's latest offering.
COMMANDER SALAMANDER is available from her website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.
Here is a video of Lizza Connor singing "Sleepytime":