Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Look! Up in the Sky! It's the Laurie Berkner Band!

Sting is releasing his first CD of original pop music in more than a decade. It's an opportunity to introduce new fans to his catalog. Due to his career longevity, the majority of Sting's solo and recordings with The Police fall under the heading of "Classic Rock." Whether or not he trends with younger audiences depends upon how hip they find the 64-year-old former punk.

The Laurie Berkner Band has released SUPERHERO, its first CD of original children's tunes in eight years. Unlike Sting, Berkner and Company may not win back any lapsed fans – that's literally an eternity in kid's music. It's not like they've been on hiatus. Between FOOD SONGS and MOVEMENT SONGS and LOVE, there's been a ton of cover (and recycled) songs in the marketplace to remind people that Laurie Berkner is more than the first lady of children's music, she's a hearty brand.

Similar to Caspar Babypants on his website, Laurie writes liner notes (possibly not available with the download) for each song on SUPERHERO. For instance, "Tallulah Jones" came from her love of rhyming pure silliness. "I love the name Tallulah," she explains, "Plus, I'd really like to see a 10-foot egg":

Hello hello I am Tallulah Pegs
I’ve got a 10 foot house
Filled with 10 foot eggs
And I’ve got music in my legs

Laurie is ably backed by longtime keyboardist Susie Lampert, drummer Bobby Golden, and some guy named Brady Rymer on bass, who also duets on "Opelika Alabama."  Ziggy Marley also duets on My My Marisol" and yoga-mindfulness expert Kira Willey provides violin and vocals ("Swing Me") on the CD.

When Laurie started on this children's music thing, she was doing kids parties with no kids of her own.  Now her own daughter, Lucy Mueller, joins the family business on "Elephant In There." Some recording artists find themselves evolving and "growing" their sound as their families age. That's true to an extent with SUPERHERO, which clocks in at just under one hour. "1-2 Hands" is a speedy blur of a concept about bodies. "Face To Face" is a facial recognition song that I can see as part of her "The Music in Me" program.

Harkening back to her earliest recordings, there's a dance remix of "We Are the Dinosaurs" that older siblings can enjoy, too. But the bread and butter of the LBB audience are still the little people who weren't even conceived the last time Sting released a pop album. SUPERHERO mines all that toddlers desire and feel, which is Laurie's strength as a singer/performer. In a callback to "Hello Dolly," it's so nice to have Laurie back where she belongs. Others have tried to fill the vacancy in the intervening absence. But Laurie Berkner is back to reclaim those shoes... and pig hats.

SUPERHERO is available at Laurie's website, Amazon, iTunes, and other fine digital retailers.

Here is a video of the Laurie Berkner Band performing the new song, "Bicycle":

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