There are people who perform children's music because it's their passion. There are people who perform children's music because it's the next phase of their career. Then there are people, or groups, who record children's music as an organic extension, or outreach, from what they've always done.
Unless a performer gets his or her start in children's music, they most commonly-heard phrase in their press release is "When I had my own kids..." followed by "Once I heard what children's musicians were doing..." I can list a countless number of artists (who run the gamut from great to well, not so great) who fall into that spectrum. Some of their turns were surprising. "Did you know the Verve Pipe has recorded two kids albums?" "What? Really!" "Hey, Lisa Loeb released her fourth children's CD." "Well, of course."
Well, of course?
Well, of course.
There's a generation that grew up listening to Lisa's folkie, sometimes funky guitar sound. Listen to the Coffeehouse on SiriusXM and you can hear her influence on many current recording stars. Her CDs chronicled (and still do) the lifepath of a woman. And while the placement of a lullaby for adults may be warranted under those circumstances, she clearly had other goals when she had her own kids. Once she heard what children's musicians were doing, it became the next phase of her career. Because recording children's music is an organic extension, or outreach, from what she's always done.
As mentioned, Lisa has now released NURSERY RHYME PARADE through Amazon Prime Music. I did a long spiel about the service earlier this month. Suffice to say, it's an interesting project and while the Pop-Ups preceded Lisa last month, there are no further announcements right now. If this is a long-term commitment, there should be some movement in the fourth quarter indicating Amazon's goals and possibly new artists for early 2016.
But that's not a knock against Lisa. She has taken the challenge of reinvigorating such simple tales as "This Old Man" and "The Farmer in the Dell." Not life-changing stuff, but you can never tell with two- and-three- year-olds. Lisa is not trying to reverse-engineer the wheel. If anything, parents get a refresher course on melodies and lyrics for these songs. Hey, I remember singing "Train in Vain" to my infant son many moons ago, when I blanked on the words to a more tyke-tacular tune.
One cannot write an article about Lisa Loeb's children's music without mentioning Elizabeth Mitchell. The two graduated from Brown University in 1990 and recorded two albums together, before their musical paths diverged. They reunited in 2004 for the children's CD, CATCH THE MOON. Perhaps seeing her college friend become a solid, popular recording artist of children's music eased the path for Lisa. Perhaps it was inevitable. Either way, it's given her a new generation to appeal to with her music. In fact, children's music gives her a new generation every 5-7 years.
Do not expect epic material – we're talking about 37 tracks, many that come and go in the blink of an eye, totaling 32 minutes. Will you be charmed? Depends on your affection for "Humpty Dumpty" before and after you watch a young child attempt to sing along or act it out. If you can enjoy that for half an hour, then NURSERY RHYME TIME has provided comfortable engagement. The children of the 90s are into the nostalgia of their own post-college times. This CD can take them back to the future while moving their own families forward. How's that for a mission statement for Lisa Loeb?
Well, of course.
NURSERY RHYME TIME is available through Lisa Loeb's website, which links you to Amazon Prime Music.