Working from the premise that kids make the greatest song co-writers, Kid Pan Alley has, over the years, enlisted the assistance of top professional musicians to help cowrite over 2,500 songs with more than 35,000 children. In Best Friends, the project’s eleventh recording, the festivities start with pop artist Heather Mae singing the sunny and optimistic ragtime style song “Life is Good,” followed by “School’s Out!” performed by the wonderful Seattle-based children’s rock band The Not-Its!. Folk music icon Vance Gilbert celebrates “Best Friends,” in a trumpet fueled Caribbean rhythm, and Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist, Steve Poltz performs a nice tongue-in-cheek, the grass is always greener tale of “Quit This Job.” Mulit-talented singer/songwriter Lisa Loeb sings the sweet sentiments of “I’ve Got An Apple Pie In My Book Bag,” and folk and children’s music grandmaster John McCutcheon turns in a wry and enthusiastic performance of “A Happy, Happy Birthday Song.” Elsewhere, Lea Morris sings the timely and clever “I Forgot To Charge My Phone Today,” while celebrated children’s entertainer Bill Harley inhabits the brotherly love of “Sister for Sale,” and Robbie Schaefer performs an appropriately brooding and surf rock influenced rendition of “My Shadow Leads a Double Life.” The always fun Randy Kaplan croons “Santa’s On Vacation;” “Who Decided” answers many of life’s questions, and the album closes with Sonia De Los Santos’ lovely Spanish language reprise of “La Vida Es Bella” (“Life is Good”).
With Reiser’s fine leadership, top notch musical performances and witty lyrics, Best Friends will earn a top spot on family playlists.
Lahri Bond ©2020 Parents’ Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books