Hear Diagonally Records
Ages 3 to 8
Chicago-based folk-pop children's recording artist Justin Roberts, a sophisticated, James Taylor-ish singer-songwriter, is among the best craftsmen of sweet and silly kid tunes out there, making irresistible music out of small, well-observed moments from the lives of children and parents.
In this new CD, a kid goes a comic extra mile when he cleans his room in "Pick Up Pears"; the title track pays tribute to reluctant nappers; and a dad and child share firefly magic in "Dad Caught Stars." It's great stuff, with terrific instrumentals and a high parent-pleasing factor that makes repeat play a treat, not a trial.
Local fans can see Roberts with percussionist Todd Washington in a concert of tunes from the new CD and from Roberts' award-winning past releases, "Yellow Bus" and "Great Big Sun," on Sunday at 11 a.m. at McCabe's, 3101 Pico Blvd., Santa Monica. Tickets are $3 to $6. (310) 828-4497.
Teddy Bear Tunes, Vol. 1
Rounder Kids Records
Ages 1 to 6
A snuggly, well-produced roundup of original and classic songs, from a rockin' "Dance With Your Teddy Bear" to an atmospheric "The Teddy Bear Picnic." This celebration of those cozy little bear companions is sung with lively warmth by Eugene Ruffolo and performed by top pro musicians, including percussionist Manolo Badrena, bassist Mark Egan, keyboardist Jon Cobert and Eric Weissberg on guitar and mandolin.
-- Lynne Heffley