Wednesday, June 19, 2013

All the World's American in Putumayo's Playground

World music is my kryptonite. Which is timely, considering the release of MAN OF STEEL (Superman) this past weekend.

Putumayo Music specializes in world music and their Kids Collection has in the past highlighted artists performing children's classics from around the world.

Fortunately (for me anyway), the world includes the United States. Putumayo has released its newest collection, AMERICAN PLAYGROUND, chock full of good old fashioned folk and bluegrass.

Johnny Bregar gets mileage from that 200-year-old chestnut, "She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain." Diane Taraz does the same with "Oh, Susannah." There's an a new track (that sounds like an old song) in Guy Davis' "We All Need More Kindness in This World."

In a stunning admission, it says something that AMERICAN PLAYGROUND is one of the first CDs that I've reviewed in months that was not produced by Dean Jones. Then again, with any Putumayo compilation, you almost want to hear different production values with each song. It lends them more authenticity and regional flavor.

You might already be acquainted with some of the tracks on this CD if you've heard Dan Zanes' "Sara Jane" (from his LITTLE NUT TREE CD) or Randy Kaplan's "Forever Young" (from his THE KIDS ARE ALL ID CD). There's a reason for that – they're good tunes and deserving of inclusion.

AMERICAN PLAYGROUND zips by. For younger kids, it's an introduction to some classics and for older kids, it's a reminder of their decency and simplicity. And heck, that's downright American in itself.

AMERICAN PLAYGROUND is available from Putumayo Kids, Amazon, and iTunes.
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