Big Buncha Buddies by Keith Munslow and Bridget BrewerSpring 2017 Music
When the best children's artists draw on the vicissitudes and joys of childhood, the results, whether hilarious or soulful, are plainly crafted with understanding and empathy. That is certainly true of this well-produced album from singer-keyboardist Keith Munslow-notable children's music veteran, member of the New Orleans jazz-swing-R&B Superchief Trio band, Bill Harley collaborator ("It's Not Fair to Me," 2013), creator of "Build-a-Book," a New England-based literacy enrichment program for schools-and his outstanding new songwriting/performing partner, writer, singer, and sketch comedy artist Bridget Brewer. With complementary musicality, humor, and a well-pitched sense of theater, the pair delivers a creative, funny and thoughtful tribute to friendship and kid-dom. Expect giggles and toe-tapping participation as Munslow and Brewer, joined by other polished instrumentalists in a mix of musical styles (boogie-woogie, pop, country), capture a child's uncertainty about that first day in preschool or kindergarten ("Stick Pony"), how a canine companion can change a kid's life ("Stray Dog"), and how well-intended good ideas can have unintended consequences ("That Was a Bad Idea" and "It's An Adventure.") Kid fun predominates, but listening to the lullaby-soft last track, "Don't Grow Up Too Fast," adults may find their heartstrings tugged by the yearning notes of acceptance for the inevitable.