Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Papa Crow Keeps a Light On in the Woods

Exposing kids to culture is tough. At a certain age, kids look behind the curtain and see the monkeys pulling the cables and realize, "This is a teachable moment! Yuck!" Music remains an expedient way to expand children's horizons – as well as entertain them. Papa Crow released WHAT WAS THAT SOUND, a five-song fartacular in 2012. Now he's moving up, literally and figuratively, to educate kids about the sounds of the woods.

FULL MOON, FULL MOON is a song cycle about life on the riverbanks of the Escanaba River in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. A lifetime on the waterways and playing music give Jeff Krebs (aka Papa Crow) an extra oar in delivering 16 songs that examine the sometimes dreamy, sometimes rustic, always friendly feel from that part of the country.

I've droned on about the incessant familiarity of material on many "family" music CDs. For instance, the "driving in a car" song. Here, Papa Crow takes the opportunity with "Bumpy Bump Road" to point out that unpaved roads are not necessarily comfortable but they can be fun. Guest vocalist Frances England gives "Give Some, Get Some" some added kindie charm. As for the obligatory "great big community" tune, "In All of the World," he sings:

We need to live close to our own.
With your sweet love, safe in our homes.
It's not so hard to see what I see.
Look in your heart, you'll feel the same thing as me.

Krebs plays the majority of the instruments (a hallmark of many crowdfunding albums) but don't think drum beats and electric guitars. Prepare for mandolins, banjos, and violins. Krebs opens the dirt floor for the Green Garden 4H Club (comprised of 8-14 year olds) on the final track, "Daylight in the Swamp (reprise)," demonstrating that the love of music among the pines is continuing for another generation.

Dan Zanes opened the door for acoustic folk music for children. Frances England accepted that invitation across the country. The Okee-Dokee Brothers took their invitation all the way to the Grammys. FULL MOON, FULL MOON is delightfully unplugged and extends the invitation down to the campsite, on the banks of the Escanaba.

FULL MOON, FULL MOON is available October 8 from Papa Crow's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Here is a video of the title track, "Full Moon, Full Moon":

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