Monday, May 5, 2014

Bari Koral Family Rock Band - The Apple Tree and The Honey Bee: A CD Review

NEW YORK -- Here's the buzz:  One of the most popular kids'/family recording artists on the scene today, Bari Koral, takes an adventurous leap forward with the Bari Koral Family Rock Band's fourth album, The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee, set for release in May. (Loupyloo Tunes, $10.98, for ages 1 - 7, run time 34 minutes.)

Over the past seven years, Bari Koral has established herself not only as a beloved performer but also as a leading force in the "yoga for kids" movement.  Bari's catchy, pop-friendly tunes and interactive live shows featuring a creative blend of music and movement have gained her legions of fans, while many of her songs are also widely used in kids' yoga classes and preschool classrooms.  As a kids' yoga expert, Bari lectures nationally on the subject.  She has trained more than 1,000 preschool teachers in the art of integrating yoga and music into their classrooms, and she has presented her yoga-and-music for kids at the White House Easter Egg Roll for two years running.  Watch for Bari as host ofYogapalooza, the world's first yoga-based, movement-and-music TV show for kids, coming soon on the Veria Living Network.

For The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee, Bari decided a musical stretch was in order, so she brought her band to Nashville to record the album under the guiding hand of legendary producer Brad Jones.

Bari Koral explains, "Being in Nashville and working with Brad Jones was magical.  He told me, 'I want you to sit back, relax and let me be in the driver's seat,' so I opened myself up to all that Brad had to offer, which was a lot!  What a gift it was to let Brad 'drive' this album.  He added his high level of musicianship, which is off the charts (he sings and plays bass, piano, and many stringed instruments), and he brought in Nashville guitarist Dan Cohen and backing vocalist Molly Felder to round out our band's sound."

Brad Jones, described by music journalist Rick Clark as "one of the most self-directed and disciplined guys I know in music," has worked with everyone from Matthew Sweet, Jill Sobule, Marshall Crenshaw and Ron Sexsmith to Justin Townes Earle, Yo La Tengo, Over the Rhine, Chuck Prophet, and Josh Rouse.  Jones produced Josh Rouse's highly laudedNashville and 1972.

The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee leads off with "Dancing Bear," a rocking, good-times tune with a great dance beat, which features Bari Koral "trading fours" with Dred Scott's excellent bass guitar work.  Bari wrote "Big Truck" à la Johnny Cash, and Dan Cohen's twangy guitars combine with Bari's impressive country vocals to give the song an authentic "on the road" feel.  Shifting gears with 18-wheel precision, Bari turns the corner on the next song, "Birthday," a poppy anthem of love and security.  Other highlights include the New Orleans flavor of "Roller Coaster," spiced with vocal "whees" that are sure to delight, some mighty fine banjo pickin' on "Yes & No," and the humorous, two-beat "Back to the Farm," which is guaranteed to get kids moving.  The album's "good-bye song," Give A Hug," brings The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee to a sweet conclusion.

People Magazine named Bari Koral's 2012 release, Anna and the Cupcakes, one of that year's coolest albums for kids.  Bari's songs are in regular rotation on Sirius/XM Radio's Kids Place Live, and her recordings have been honored with two Parents' Choice Awards and two NAPPA Awards.  Enthused Jeff Bogle of Out With The Kids, "What would Norah Jones sound like if she decided to up the tempo a bit and make music geared towards young people?  My guess is that she would probably emulate the music The Bari Koral Family Rock Band is making right now."

Before entering the world of family music, Bari Koral spent the better part of eight years touring as a successful folk/pop singer, ultimately becoming one of the top grossing acts on the college circuit, frequently compared to such singer/songwriters as Jewel, Norah Jones, and Joan Osborne.

Previous Bari Koral Family Rock Band recordings include Anna and the Cupcakes (2012), Rock and Roll Garden (2010), and Bari Koral Family Rock Band (2009).

Highlights - Summer 2014

June 15         Hard Rock Café, Philadelphia, PA

June 21          Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, Amherst, MA

July 17           Madison Square Kids Series, NYC

July 30           Newport Festival Family Concert, Newport, RI

Sept. 21          Monterey Jazz Festival, Monterey, CA

My Review:

Music is a universal language that no matter where in the world you live, it touches you deep down in your heart. It has powers stronger than almost anything. The power to get you moving, cry, laugh, smile, sing along (even when you may not think you can sing) and music helps teach both young and old concepts like no other medium out there. 

Our family LOVES music. We have a very eclectic collection, from Contemporary Christian to Country to Classic Rock and tons of children's music in between! It has been so fantastic introducing my girls (at five and seven years of age) to some of my favorite music and dancing and singing along to classics for sure. It is also a great medium to touch on topics like self esteem, love, feelings, how to treat people and so many other life lessons.

Recently I was introduced to a group that was new-to-me and I am so glad to have discovered them. 

Bari Koral Family Rock Band's upcoming release, The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee is so much fun! Whether you are eight or 80 you will find yourself getting up and dancing and singing along in no time flat. The CD seems very influenced by pop-rock and even some bits of country come out in several songs. Our family favorites included When I'm Five, Apple Tree, Roller Coaster, and Back To The Farm. But honestly, the entire CD is fantastic and I look to add more of this groups previous works to my collection. It has been the go-to CD for movement time in my home day care as well, and I am pretty particular about the music I use for the kids! I am very happy with this CD and know it will be a part of our family music collection for a long time to come.

I highly recommend this CD and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: The Apple Tree & The Honey Bee will be available at, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and at independent retail outlet throughout the country. It releases May 13, 2014

***I received a complimentary copy of this CD, courtesy of Waldmania PR, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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