Sporting three Parents Choice® Awards in her hip pocket and adored by a legion of families nationwide, independent children’s musician Vanessa Trien and her band The Jumping Monkeys showcase their special brand of acoustic folk-pop with a world flavor on Wonderful YOU, a new album for kids and families released on October 14.
Musically vibrant and diverse, with guest spots by kindie music luminaries Alastair Moock, Rani Arbo, Barbara Brousal, and Mister G(Ben Gundersheimer), Wonderful YOU has an underlying theme of “community.” The album gives a musical hug to the listener — YOU — as it celebrates neighborhoods, family, and friends coming together to play, work, live, and of course, sing and dance.
Vanessa Trien is a first-class composer of original melodies that are artfully crafted, while at the same time displaying a natural quality that makes them easy for kids to sing along with and recall. Reminiscent of Woody Guthrie’s children’s songs, every number on Wonderful YOUhas a compact message, style and flavor that is effortlessly comprehended and remembered by children and adults alike.
Wonderful YOU kicks off with Vanessa Trien dueting with Alastair Moock on “One Foot in Front of the Other.” Explains Vanessa, “Observing Alastair’s family support one another when they faced a major health challenge, I was filled with inspiration. With thoughts of them ‘pulling each other through’ those hard times, I wrote the chorus to ‘One Foot in Front of the Other,’ and I’m honored that Alastair agreed to sing it with me.”
“Round and Round We Go,” a reggae-style exhortation to take care of our planet, features a duet with Barbara Brousal, who was for many years a key member of Dan Zanes and Friends. With guest vocals and fiddle by Rani Arbo, “Chi Chi Bom Bom” has a real Western Swing feel and tells the tale of a child who marches to her own drum, wears her clothes backward, and does the twist with frog and toad! Rani Arboand Mister G join Vanessa Trien on her terrific version of the 1958 Bo Diddley-style Johnny Otis tune, “Willie and the Hand Jive,” imagining a town falling for a new dance craze.
Other highlights include a cover of the Beatles’ “All Together Now,” with Barbara Brousal in a cameo role, while Vanessa Trien’s kids and their friends add their voices to the chorus; “Feeling Thankful,” a sweet country waltz sung in harmony by Vanessa Trien, Barbara Brousal, and Rani Arbo (with Rani Arbo on fiddle); and the celebratory anthem, “Fireworks,” which envisions people coming together from all over to sing on the Brooklyn Bridge, as fireworks explode gloriously overhead.
I really like the different styles of music on this CD and highly recommend for young children! It would make a great gift suggestion this holiday season! Perfect for ages 1-8.
Wonderful YOU will be available online at www.vanessatrien.com, CDBaby.com, and iTunes.
Visit Vanessa Trien’s website HERE.
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Self Disclosure: I received a free CD to facilitate this post and photos and info was provided.