Sean McCollough’s second album for children and their families is aptly titled Earworm, as many of the thirteen tunes could easily get stuck inside one’s head. Performing a mix of light rock and Americana, the album’s songs explore subjects as varied as animals, nature and a catchy little tune (with nice guest vocals by Molly Ledford) about the Sunsphere structure from the 1982 World’s Fair in McCollough’s hometown of Knoxville. Highlights include the plaintive piano ballad “ABC (The Writing Song),” a love song for a goat in “Her Name Was Lady,” and the John Mellencamp-ish self-esteem affirming “Don’t Let ‘Em Get Your Goat.” There is also a nice slinky tune called “Fuzzy Brown Vine” about how to identify Poison Ivy, a melodic and gentle banjo love song for a favorite “Rag Doll,” and a pair of car-themed songs “Carsick,” and the traffic light identifying “Green Means Go, featuring guest Billy Jonas’ amazing “bucket kit” percussion. Also included is McCollough’s self-penned, mandolin driven theme for the Kidstuff radio show he hosts, as well as the extended, exploratory and experimental percussion and banjo of the closing “Big Ears,” which derives as much influence from the music of the Paul Winter Consort as it does bluegrass. McCollough sings in a sweet and friendly alto and accompanies himself on all manner of strings and percussion. Backing vocals are often provided by Steph Gunnoe, his wife, and a host of tuneful kids. Guest musicians on strings and percussion fill out the sound, and the whole album is housed in eco-friendly packaging. Lyrics and even chords for all the songs are offered on McCollough’s website.
Lahri Bond ©2019 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.