Just when you think you've covered every corner of children's music, along comes someone with another perspective or culture. If you think "Waltzing Matilda" and the Wiggles are the only Australian children's music exports, you're missing an entire continent's worth of performers. Michael O'Halloran has been entertaining children down under for more than 30 years. Since, as you might expect, his own children were born.
With THE LITTLE BLUE BUS, Michael is moving his music around the world for American audiences. My four year old asked, "What's a billabong?" and "What's a dingo?" over the course of the first listening. So on one level, we know that he was listening intently.
Our older son was paying attention as well. At first hearing, he remarked that the vocals sounded similar to Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke. If you need a frame of reference, that's a British accent versus an Australian accent. At 13 he's all about the comparisons, having mostly outgrown the nature of the genre.
I like to draw attention to special guest artists who appear on various children's music CDs. I would be remiss to not include Matty Green and Tracy McNeil (a Canadian, so this recording is truly inter-continental).
THE LITTLE BLUE BUS chronicles a trek across the Australian countryside, from "The Gulf of Carpentaria" through "Hanging Rock Creek" to "Go To Bryon." It's gentle and gentlemanly music for kids – think Nick Cope for another comparison.
As 2015 begins, I'm going to attempt to be more accepting of world music. Michael O'Halloran is world away from me. I could see him fitting right onto the next Putumayo collection of Aussie kids tunes. For now, he's driving his own course along the outback and he seeks to bring your children along for the ride.
THE LITTLE BLUE BUS is available from Amazon and iTunes.