Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Mr. Jon & Friends

Mr. Jon & Friends

Fall 2013 Music
Ages: 2 - 15 yrs.
CD Price: $15.00

The married duo of Jon & Carrie Lewis have played gentle and inspired folk and rock for a decade, during which they have performed shows and recorded CDs for adults. In 2008 they had a son, and in 2009 Jon started working in the children's department of the downtown Frederick, MD library doing programs and shows for large groups of kids. These two events inspired the couple to start songwriting for children, and they began performing at birthday parties, kids festivals, and ultimately recording their first CD for children and families, called Mr Jon & Friends.

The twenty-song album features fresh arrangements on tried and true traditional children's songs such as "The Wheels On the Bus," "If You're Happy and You Know It," "The Ants Go Marching," "Hokey Pokey," and " Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." The remaining thirteen tracks include original songs and one cover ("Matilda the Gorilla" from the songwriter Mary Rice Hopkins).

The opening "Movin Groovin'" is a delightful piece of acoustic pop, "Popcorn" is lovely folk, featuring Jon's fine guitar and Carrie's pleasing piano, while "Dolphin" pairs a gorgeous melody with enchanting lyrics. Elsewhere, "I Love Counting" is a marvelous mandolin-backed counting song, while "Racing Car" sounds like Springsteen doing kids music. Many of the album's songs have nature-based themes, with "Snake in the Grass," "Summertime," "Spooky Spider," and the sweet "Rainy Day" showing the couple's talent for inventive and captivating original compositions. The album ends with some Three Stooges style snoring, and a short skit with "George the Monkey," which is probably very entertaining when performed live with a puppet, but does not translate very well on CD.

The album comes in attractive packaging, though lyrics are not included and their website has not been launched at the time of this review. The core of Jon & Carrie Lewis' music is quite good, and one hopes that with the aid of a discerning producer, their next children's music CD will live up to the promise they display on this respectable first outing.

Lahri Bond   ©2013 Parents' Choice
Lahri Bond is a father, a writer, music historian and an art professor in Western Massachusetts. His published books include Spinning Tales Weaving Hope (with the Stories For World Change Network) for New Society Press and People of the Earth (coauthored with Ellen Evert Hopman) for Destiny Books.

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