Saturday, March 28, 2009

***John Carlin & the Kids' Music Underground***

A few years ago, Brooklyn's John Carlin started his own program of interactive music classes for kids, and called it "The Kids' Music Underground." About the same time, he released his first CD for kids, First Time for Everything, a one-man project of covers and originals. This January, Carlin and his band released Welcome to the Kids' Music Underground!, an album that's more in keeping with his personal worldview and musical ideals exemplified by his programs for children.

Carlin and band roll through some rootsy rock on "Meet You at the Playground," "A Dinosaur Named Fred," "Air Guitar," and the title track, while world music and the blues are featured on "Jambalaya Road" and "Big Bed Now." Carlin includes a full-band remake of "Eliza" from First Time, sounding that much better with vocal harmonies and additional instruments added to the mix.

The activity songs "I'm Flyin'" and "Tag Song" are perfect for live concerts, while the band sound a bit like Wet Willie on the mostly-vocals tune "Everybody's Rollin'." But I gotta admit, I like the the slower songs on Welcome better, with exceptional tunes like "Extraordinary Day," "One Family," "My Front Door," and "Goodbye Song" sounding like they could be included on a new version of Sesame Street.

Kids' music nowadays is a kind of underground movement, as bands and performers like John Carlin make albums that are flying under the mainstream radar. Support your local children's music scene and get kid rockers like Carlin, and his album Welcome to the Kids' Music Underground!, on the radar.