“Have you ever heard of such traditional songs as â€œLittle Lap-Dog Lullabyâ€ and â€œKing Kong Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me Oâ€? Now you will! Veirs, who is known for her adult albums, has remade old folk songs that most people have probably never heard. These are beautiful bedtime songs, sure to send you into dreamland with images of foxes, elephants, horses and starlit nights.”
– Moira E. McLaughlin for The Washington Post
Laura’s Fourth Annual “Two Beers Veirs” New Year’s Celebration at the Laurelthirst Pub will be a star-studded event again this year.Â Veirs’ band includes Nate Query, John Moen, Chris Funk (all Decemberists), Jon Neufeld (Jackstraw) and Annalisa Tornfelt. Five local luminaries will join them during their set: Willy Vlautin (Richmond Fontaine), Sallie Ford, Ritchie Young (Loch Lomond), Israel Nebeker (Blind Pilot) and Kevin and Anita Robinson (Blue Giant). Black Prairie and Scott McCaughey’s Minus 5 will play opening sets.
Few sites inspire the kind of fear in independent musicians that Pitchfork does.Â Known for long-form reviews from writers that seem to relish any opportunity to eviscerate an album with a critical eye, the Raven Marching Band Camp didn’t know quite what to expect from the bastion of hipsterdom when word came down that they were reviewing it.Â (A cursory search couldn’t turn up any other Childrens titles in its vast trove.)
Happily, writer Joshua Love concludes:
“Tumble Bee is a welcome addition to contemporary children’s music, not only because it’s sufficiently involving to appeal to adults, but also because it further demonstrates that songs for kids don’t have to be cloying or sanitized.”
(Cloying is a popular descriptor on the site.)
Meanwhile children across the land–an equally discerning and even less inhibited audience–have been weighing in with their own critical approval which has been entertaining and delightful:
“My daughter keeps pressing her closed fingertips together (“more, more”) at the end of each song.” -www.ohdeedoh.com
“At the first starting, it just shivered me, like this. [Eliott demonstrates.] Woh-oh-oh-oh!!! And I don’t know what’s going on! I think it’s an earthquake! It just shivers me.” – Eliott, four and three quarters
“This is a good song for jumping and spinning around” -Tess, 5
“My daughter asks to listen to this album as she falls asleep, and I find myself wanting to do the same!” – intheknowmom.net
Read the entire Pitchfork review here
A Child’s Garden of Song; We Sent a Kid to Interview Laura Veirs
A BUNCH OF GROWNUPS talking about a kids’ record is fine and well, but we knew we needed to keep Tumble Bee‘s target audience in mind. So we sent guest interviewer Eliott Black on a special assignment. At a mere four and three-quarters years old, Black possesses the inquisitive prowess of a young Terry Gross, and it was his job to hold Veirs accountable to her primary audience. When Black wasn’t demonstrating his invented dance moves to “Jump Down Spin Around,” he really got to the meat.
ELIOTT BLACK, AGE FOUR AND THREE QUARTERS: “Tumblebee” is my favorite, and also “Jump Down Spin Around.” At the first starting, it just shivered me, like this. [Eliott demonstrates.] Woh-oh-oh-oh!!! And I don’t know what’s going on! I think it’s an earthquake! It just shivers me.
LAURA VEIRS: You get excited when you hear those first beats? There are a lot of voices on that song, and there are drums, so I think that’s exciting.
What was your inspiration for the album?
Laura Veirs: Tucker and I had our son right after my July Flame record came out. I toured a bunch for that but then I was pretty tired out by being a new mom and by touring so much. I wanted to make a record, but something different than I’ve done, and also something where I didn’t have do all the songwriting (which takes a lot of energy and time which I didn’t really have then).
Also, we realized that there are some great children’s records out there, in particular Peggy Seeger’s Animal Folksongs for Children. We thought: “This is a cool art form, let’s try doing a really GOOD album for kids, one that our friends would like, too.”Â Practically speaking, it was great to have new songs to sing to our son, too.
Read the rest at No Depression
It sounds as though youâ€™ve found, as well, that thereâ€™s a crossover between what works for children and what works for adults.
I hope so. Really itâ€™s not the three year-olds who have Â£15 or $15 to buy a recordâ€”itâ€™s the parents. Theyâ€™re the ones that are going to be putting it on. And I really wanted to make something that they would want to pick up. I mean there are great childrenâ€™s records out there, but I think in general the bar is set a little low. People are searching for something good, and I hope we can provide them with something.
Read the rest at Popmatters
Hot dog!Â In addition to supporting your local record store, find it at these convenient e-retailers:
Get it from Lauraâ€™s own Raven Marching Band Shop (now available as a download & CD/LP+download bundles!)
Get the CD from Amazon (psst: on super-sale for a limited time, only $9.99!)
London Times CD of The Week
“It sort of creeps up on you. I was five songs into Laura Veirs’ new record before I realised it was an dalbum of children’s songs. …So despite the ostensible targeting of Tumble Bee it’s a sensible purchase for Veirs fans of any age.” -London Times
“Children like Laura Veirs.Â Nothing strange about that – they also like furry animals.Â So there is something unsurprising aboout her creation of an entire album dedicated to the ears of the tinies:Â 13 songs for the young, some written by Jimmie Rodgers, Woody Guthrie, Harry Belafonte, all arranged by longstanding collaborator Tucker Martine to draw on the most innocent timbres of the Americand folk tradition.Â It is, almost inevitably, charming.”Â – The Independent
“Most new parents are a bit lost when faced with the dilemma of weeding out the good childrenâ€™s music from the bad. For musician couples, like singer/songwriter Laura Viers and her producer/husband Tucker Martine, the solution is simple; make your own. On the appropriately titled Tumble Bee: Laura Veirs Sings Folk Songs for Children, Viers and Martine, along with special guests BÃ©la Fleck, Basia Bulat, Colin Meloy (Decemberists), and Jim James (My Morning Jacket), explore some of the genreâ€™s oldest tunes, including work songs (â€œJump Down Spin Aroundâ€), Civil War tunes (â€œSoldierâ€™s Joyâ€), and even a calypso (â€œJamaica Farewellâ€). Each cut is tastefully arranged and never cloying (kudos for allowing â€œAll the Pretty Little Horsesâ€ to retain its subtle darkness), and Viers’ simple, honest delivery helps to keep the mood fun, yet stable and sweet, without the inevitable sugar rush.” – All Music
“Slowly but surely, confidently and quietly, Laura Veirs has become a significant presence among American folk artists.
…Following in the footsteps of Woody Guthrie, Peggy Seeger, and Pete Seeger, Veirs and Martine have plumbed the American songbook for tunes that might help reignite in todayâ€™s children a passion for singing and song.” – Popmatters
“Tumble Bee is a lovely album through and through. Fans of Elizabeth Mitchell’s and Dan Zanes’ family albums should be especially drawn to it, though this trawls narrower, folkier waters.Â It’s a small gem, and while it’s not actually a Folkways album, it’s a kindred spirit to that tradition. Highly recommended.” – Zooglobble