Check out these two new albums from local kindie greats Kelli Welli and Red Yarn.
On Baby Ninja, Kelli Welli’s newest album for kids, you’ll find plenty of twang and silliness — but by and large it’s a giant love poem from a parent to a child. Kids will especially dig the fun hilarity of Dirty Socks and Skunk in a Handstand. But parents may get a little teary over the sentiments in other tracks. The song You’re a Sunny Day with Uncle Jumbo is a joyful celebration of parental love. You’ll want to sing this song to your kid — and you’ll mean every single word:
“Everytime you laugh/You cut my miseries in half/ You bring me joy, joy, joy/Joy joy, joy/ You make my heart light up.” I Put My Heart Into is a sweet lullaby of an ode to the work of parents and all we do for our kiddos. And don’t miss Superstar, a song that reiterates that unconditional parental love: “I love you and I always will.” Listen at kelliwellikids.com.
Anytime I hear a new Red Yarn album, I feel hopeful for how the youngest generation of Portlanders will turn out. And that’s no different upon my first listen of The Get-Together, which will be released September 22. Yes, Red Yarn, aka Andy Furgeson, serves up danceable, catchy tunes kids adore, but his lyrics drive home all the qualities that I hope my kids show to the world now and after they have grown up: compassion, inclusivity, creativity and imagination.
And beyond the lyrics, Red Yarn’s magic trick is taking old-fashioned American musical genres and making them fresh and relevant for young music lovers. On the title track, Red Yarn channels ’50s and ’60s So Cal beach vibes. I actually played tracks Gotta Lotta Love and The Get-Together over a muted clip from 1965’s Beach Blanket Bingo, starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello and the vibe perfectly matched all the hip-wiggling teenagers. Also, Red’s song Trouble sounds like a tribute to Bye Bye Love by The Everly Brothers, which was released in 1957. “To start writing this set of songs, I did a deep dive into my favorite oldies, spending several weeks listening and singing and playing along to The Ronettes, Roy Orbison, The Everly Brothers, The Crystals, The Drifters, Frankie Valli, Little Eva, etc. Soon, original songs in that vein started pouring out,” says Furgeson.
Pro tip: Don’t miss the album release party at the Crystal Ballroom on September 24. Doors at 3 pm; show from 4-6 pm. Get tickets.