Friday, February 25, 2011

"What A Zoo!" CD Review...

We recently had the chance to review the newest release from Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights, What A Zoo!



“BEST KIDS’ CDs of 2010: Electric guitars and Leeds’ belting vocals make this rock-and-roll. You won’t be able to resist the urge to sing along pretending your hairbrush is a microphone. Most of the tunes provide you with a great way to free your inner rock star.” – The Washington Post

“Leeds has one of those big, beautiful rock ‘n roll sopranos that can go full-out or soft and tender, and she uses it to full effect. Her tuneful melodies and rich, funny and thoughtful child-respecting lyrics give depth and irresistible zip to songs.” – Lynne Heffley, 2010 Parents' Choice® Gold Award review of Joanie Leeds’ I’m a Rock Star

Building on the momentum of her 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award-winning album, I’m a Rock Star, independent children’s musician Joanie Leeds brings her attention to the animal kingdom with the April 12 release of her new kids’ CD, What a Zoo! (Limbostar, $15.00, for ages 2 – 9, run time 37 minutes). Joining Joanie and her band, The Nightlights, is the critically acclaimed “hip hop for kids” musician, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. Gifted with a soulful, “rock solid” voice and an instinctive knack for capturing the essence of any style she goes for, Joanie Leeds has delivered, with each new release, music that speaks to kids in a friendly, non-patronizing way and is imbued with artistic values that thrill admiring adults. Her presentation is notable for its child-appropriate clarity, yet vocally Joanie soars easily through a remarkable array of styles with such an enviable power and dexterity that it’s easy to forget her intended audience is under age 10. Joanie truly rocks! What a Zoo! presents ten rockin’ Joanie Leeds originals and four covers, each with its own distinctive personality that salutes every child’s fascination with our animal friends. The lyrics are thought provoking and packed with educational value. “My Butterfly” explores metamorphosis, “Sea Cow” and “Big Blue Whale” focus on endangered species, and the delightful, two beat novelty song “Tofurky” emphasizes responsible eating. Other songs are just plain fun. “Happy As A Clam” wends its way through the many animal-isms that pop up in our daily conversations, while the classic “Pony Boy” provides a sweet country touch. A brilliantly eclectic presentation of the beloved children’s folk ballad “Froggie Went a’ Courtin’“ updates Joanie’s authentic swing phrasing to include a super hip appearance by guest rapper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. While the album is light-hearted, Joanie’s cover of the Phish song “Possum” does let kids know what happens when you don’t look both ways when crossing the street! What a Zoo! offers a perfect setting for Joanie’s vocal virtuosity and impeccable good taste. Its sophisticated humor is rooted in real life experiences and guaranteed never to wear thin with the repeated listenings this CD is bound to get. The Washington Post named Joanie Leeds’ 2010 release, I’m a Rock Star, one of the best kids’ CDs of the year. In addition to winning a Parents’ Choice® Gold Award, the album was honored with a NAPPA Award, its title track was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and the song “More Cowbell” reached #1 on WXPN’s Kids Corner. Joanie’s songs have been spinning regularly on dozens of “kindie rock” radio programs and podcasts, including Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live. Previous to I’m a Rock Star, Joanie released two albums for adult listeners: My Job Application Knows More About Me Than You Do (2000) and Soul From My Footsteps (2004), a Parent’s Choice® Recommended children’s album, City Kid! (2008), and a children’s holiday CD, Challah, Challah (2009). Joanie’s City Kid Live! DVD, released in 2010, won three Telly Awards.What a Zoo! will be available online at, , , and at specialty toy and bookstores across the country."

What we thought: The kids really loved the upbeat feel of this CD and I loved the kid-friendly lyrics that also appealed to me as a mom:) I also liked the educational aspect of these songs. My kiddos were not only thouroughly entertained by What A Zoo!, but they also learned a lot about animals while listening to this CD. Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights really know how to get the kiddos up on their feet and singing and dancing along. This is definitely one of the most requested children's CDs at our house:) ABCD Diaries gives What A Zoo! an A+!

Disclosure: ABCD Diaries was given a copy of this CD for review purposes only. We were in no other way compensated. The opinions expressed in this post are ours and ours alone.

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