Sound Off!

One of the Best Family CDs Ever!

by Kathy O’Connell

CD: Happy Accidents by Billy Jonas
Billy Jonas’ brilliant second album stands among the best family CDs I’ve ever heard. Jonas’ signature rhythms open the CD, urging you to keep your “Eyes Wide Open” to solve problems.

The call-and-response of “Who’s Gonna Make Our Music?” reflects Jonas’ inclusive philosophy of “bangin’ and sangin’” with “WE’RE gonna make our music.”

The standout on this outstanding work is the 5-song “Wake up Suite” that closes the album by saluting morning ritual. Familiar melodies blend with clever lyrics urging a “Two-Minute Shower,” a hip-hop “Brush Your Teeth,” and the rhythmic litany begging the kid to “Eat Something” (“or you’ll shrivel up and blow away”). Blame Jonas if “mac and cheese for breakfast” hits your table.

Jonas’ magic with multi-track production enhances Happy Accidents with the only element missing from his live concerts. Enjoy Happy Accidents between Jonas’ touring dates. www.billyjonas.com

Teaching Tool: Musiplication with Kat Vellos
This excellent rhythmic teaching tool does double duty for double-Dutch calls and recess activities. Vellos’ CD teaches a rap for each number from 1-10, but don’t mistake this complex mix of concepts and counting for a preschool tool. Vocabulary lessons line the album cover, defining numerical words from songs such as “quintet” and “quadruple.”

Vellos’ intimate, low-range delivery works well with her subject matter. If repetition is the key to learning math skills, the beats on Musiplication hit a bullseye. Kat Vellos may convince me what years of teachers couldn’t: that math can be fun. www.katmath.com

Song/Video: “I’m Just a Bill” from Schoolhouse Rock
Your kids’ post-election political awareness should make this brilliant blast from the past a hit. Whet their appetites with this favorite (satirized on “The Simpsons”), then pick up the whole collection. You can find the words at www.schoolhouserock.tv/Bill.html

Kathy O’Connell is a contributing writer to MetroKids and host of the Peabody-award-winning Kids Corner, weekdays 7-8pm on WXPN 88.5 FM.