Review by Casey – father to three-year-old Marshall, husband to Tabitha, PDX Kids Calendar webmaster and lover of all things music
While my tastes in music vary, every now and then I just can’t resist a good old-timey tune, and if his following is any indication, Professor Banjo proves that lots of families in the PDX area love a good old-fashioned barnburner, too. Professor Banjo has been entertaining both parents and kids alike in the Pacific Northwest for some time, taking his down home, Americana pickin’ music with him wherever he goes. His music embodies that lovely slice-of-life, trip down nostalgia lane for families looking for some good fun, and a classic tune to cut a rug to.
The professor’s latest CD, PB and Jam, serves up a tasty combination of classic tunes reminiscent of times long ago. Most songs come in nice ‘bite size’ portions that make it easy to enjoy, whether it be quick road trips to the park, or just providing the kiddos some musical accompaniment while waiting for dinner to be served. Some of the old classics are here (“Oh Suzanna,” “Spotted Pony,” “Keep on the Sunny Side”), as well as some fun little ditties that the kids are sure to enjoy (“Let’s Grow Beards” is a personal favorite!).
One of the most enjoyable facets of this CD is Professor Banjo’s guest musicians who accompany him on several tracks—all of whom are under the age of 14. Listening to these kids join him in some pickin’ and grinnin’ brings me so much joy. These kids are accomplished musicians, and prove that the joy of music is truly ageless. 13-year-old Riley Calcagno has been playing old-fashioned fiddle his entire life, and is even a classical violinist. The Small Time String Band is comprised of 8-year-old Eli and 12-year-old Oliver. Olympia, Washington’s Fiddle-I-Ay introduces 11-year-old Maggie and 7-year-old Ruby on fiddle, washboard and mandolin. Maggie and Ruby are joined by their parents Erik and Emily, and aim to make you smile—and even dance—to their fun-filled classic tunes.
Overall, I plan on revisiting PB and Jam often, whether I’m just hanging with my 3-year-old son around the house, or even if I’m riding on the bus to work. Either way, I’m sure to get a belly full o’ good old music no matter what the situation.
You will be able to purchase PB and Jam on CD Baby starting September 1, 2011. We will also be giving away a copy later this week … stay tuned!
PDX Kids Calendar was provided a free preview copy of this CD for review.