Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Great Day: Back to the Future With Lori Henriques

"Well kids, here's a new CD that I'm going to review – HOW GREAT CAN THIS DAY BE."

"This doesn't sound like a CD for kids."

"It's jazzy."

My wife interjects, "It sounds like something from the '60s."

Leave it to Seattle's Lori Henriques to throw a curveball into the genre of children's music. I've lost count of the number of "rockin'" kids groups. I've forgotten some of the "message-y" concept CDs. But I can count on one hand the syncopated albums that sound like they were recently transferred from period vinyl from the MAD MEN era – and that speaks to the intelligence and ingenuity of Henriques.

The CD works on many levels, from the basic premise of "kids music" ("Monkey Monkey Monkey") to language lessons ("Beau Paris") to a frisky frug ("I Say Woo"). Henriques praises the efforts of Jane Goodall ("Dream Jane Dream") and Fred Rogers ("I Am Your Friend"):

I'm so glad that you befriended me
We'll be friends 'til we're 103.
I love the feeling that's inside of me
I smile so big when I remember we
Are really friends
It's not pretend
I am your friend.

You could slip HOW GREAT CAN THIS DAY BE to kindie-haters and see if they could even discern that it's aimed at their kids. Henriques is serious about making not-so-serious music that appeals to children and those who are still kids at heart. For those of us who sometimes feel old just watching our kids run around, the title track bustles and sonically brays the way we feel – being around the impetuousness of youth. For any children's music CD, that's a pretty keen goal and many miss the mark.

HOW GREAT CAN THIS DAY BE works as both a soundtrack for your child's playdate and as an educational aid to alternative music stylings – a blessing for those of us who cringe at "world music." Who ever thought that adults could learn something by spending 30 minutes with a piano teacher (That's one of Henriques' day jobs). And gee, he added sarcastically, there's nary an appearance from a hip-hop guest artist. Go back in time and bring the family. It's a short DAY but it's worth the trip.

HOW GREAT CAN THIS DAY BE is available from Henriques' website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video to the title track, HOW GREAT CAN THIS DAY BE:

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