Children's Toy & Media Reviews Since 1978

Featured Album: Cousins Jamboree by Hope Harris

Cousins Jamboree

Cousins Jamboree
Spring 2011
Parents’ Choice Silver Award Winner
Holcomb Rock Road, LLC
$15.00

July 24th is Cousins Day. To honor that, this week’s featured album is Hope Harris’ Cousins Jamboree.

Originally from Lynchburg, Virginia, and now residing and playing in Richmond, Virginia after years in New York, Hope Harris combines country and swing with a little touch of show music for a very pleasing blend on her second children’s music CD. Unlike her first album Julie the Starfish and Other Lullabies which was more subdued, Cousins Jamboree takes a decidedly more energetic approach. Songs such as “Howdy Hello,” “Hang on Friend,” “I Love Apples,” and the fun loving title track all exude country warmness and good time celebration. Though the majority of the album is danceable party music, when Harris turns her pen to such “lesson” songs as “Good Manners,” “Seatbelt Buckled,” and “A Little Bit Afraid,” she does so with style and avoids becoming obvious or preachy. Her cover songs like the lovely “Down in the Valley,” or the Andrew Sisters-esque “Five Little Monkeys,” sit well next to her finely crafted originals. The album closes with the picturesque “Holcomb Rock Road,” which plays like a taste of cool country water. Harris has a clear and friendly voice that reminds one of Kate Taylor and Patsy Cline. She is joined by a gathering of talented musicians, including Jeff Allen, Doug Yowell, Wells Hanley, Capathia Jenkins, Elizabeth Bruce, Ernesto Villa-Lobos, and Rob Friedman. Cousins Jamboree is produced by Rob Friedman, who is the co-producer of the Dan Zanes’ family albums. The CD is packaged in eco-friendly cardboard, and includes a booklet with all the lyrics, for families to learn, enjoy and sing along with.

Though you can’t stream Cousins Jamboree right now, you can listen to Picasso, That’s Who! (And So Can You!), the newest album by Hope Harris, on Spotify.

Review by Lahri Bond   ©2011 Parents’ Choice