Only One OceanSpring 2011 Music
The Banana Slug String Band is a group of outrageous musicians and educators from the coastal redwoods of Northern California, with silly environmental nicknames that range from "Airy" Larry Graff and Doug "Dirt" Greenfield, to "Solar" Steve Van Zandt (not the Springsteen guitarist) and "Marine" Mark Nolan. Their latest effort Only One Ocean debuts fourteen new songs, and features such luminous special guests as pianist George Winston, folk/pop singer Brett Dennen, keyboardist Zach Gill, Flecktone bassist Victor Wooten and the Cajun sounds of BeaSoleil avec Michael Doucet. The album opens with the rocking title tracks, which like the rest of the album, draws inspiration from the book Ocean Literacy: The Essential Principles of Ocean Sciences K-12. "Kingdom of the Crab" is a funky, Hammond organ and horn flavored stomp, reminiscent of the works of James Brown. Dennen takes lead vocal on "Mountain in my Hand," which laundry lists the living properties of sand, while "Ocean Everywhere" is lifted by the accordion bounce of BeaSoleil. Never have barnacles sounded as tuneful as they do in "Standing On My Head," while the pseudo-Russian polka of "Cetacea" provides a comic way to remember the names of the various species of whales. The Slugs can play gentle, as in the lovely "the Coral Reef," and the excellent, Caribbean flavored, anti-pollution song "Turtle Ate a Jelly." Speaking of phylum Cnidaria, there is the amazingly slippery "Jellies Ballet," while guest Karamo Cissokho plays delicate and flowing kora on "The Living Sea." Global warming is even addressed in the bluesy number "Too Hot." Full lyrics are included with the album, and additional educational resource links can be found on the Slugs' website. In a time when many musicians are jumping on the "green" bandwagon, this band leads the way, with expertly written and devilishly fun songs that make children want to learn about how they can help the planet.