Deep within the recesses of my car, a plethora of children’s CDs make their home. When my son Ryan was a toddler, he requested a steady diet of Wiggles and Music Together CDs during every car ride. These days, with Ryan in preschool, my almost two-year-old daughter Alexa is my constant car companion. We prefer to listen to 80’s music on Satellite Radio (I learned not to take requests with the second child) and the surprisingly tolerable Kidz Bop CDs. But when I was tasked with reviewing La Bella Stella, the fifth in Recess Music’s “Celebrate Earth” music series, I was grateful for the opportunity to switch up our rotation for the day.
The fifteen unique tracks that make up La Bella Stella feature contributions by a sampling of today’s most gifted kids’ musicians including Rocknoceros, Charity and the JAMband and AudraRox. The first song – “Nature’s Lullaby” – provides a folksy, energetic introduction that immediately got my fingers tapping on the steering wheel. The lyrics are educational and the message fun without being preachy. A variety of subjects ranging from stars and gravity to the planets are showcased through a wide range of vocal styles that keeps the material fresh.
Song highlights include “Shooting Stars”– a twinkling trip through the sky with a catchy chorus, “Gravity” – injecting Country Rock into the mix, “Galaxy Song” – a high-energy, fast-moving guitar anthem, “Nocturnal” – a jazzy piece in celebration of vocal harmony, “Man in the Moon” – a sha-na-na ode and “Shadow” which had me swaying along to the harmonic vocals. “So Long to the Day” closes out the collection – an a cappella harmony that took us on a calm, steady ride through the day’s end.
The music relaxed me, and although I can’t speak for Alexa, she was obviously enjoying herself, humming along and clapping. I enjoyed the evolving beats and unique vocal stylings that at times reminded me of Simon and Garfunkel – the hauntingly beautiful tracks mixed guitar, percussion and harmonies to round out a winning CD that will have me grabbing for it again and again.
La Bella Stella by Recess Music will be released in advance of Earth Day on March 27, 2012 (Big Round Records, retail price $12.99, runtime 41 minutes). A music production company, Recess Music strives to teach children about our planet through albums of Earth-friendly music. To see the complete series of CD collections from Recess Music, please visit their website at http://recessmusic.com/.