If you're looking for something a little different to play for the kids, check out the self-titled disc from Little Mo' McCoury (aka, Ronnie McCoury with help from his dad's stalwart Del McCoury Band). The New York Post dubbed it “A great bluegrass album for kids…a great introduction to bluegrass – for anyone,” and that's an apt description.
Each track is introduced by a child, as McCoury gives the banjo treatment to classics like “You've Got A Friend in Me,” “This Land is Your Land,” “Monkey and the Engineer,” “The Big Rock Candy Mountain,” “I've Been Working on the Railroad,” “He's Got the Whole World In His Hands” and more. It's a little “young” for most Pop Stops readers… but I have to tell you, after putting this on, I've been happily humming “Monkey and the Engineer” all week. For more information, check www.mccourymusic.net.
Speaking of bluegrass attacks, Billy Burnette (who spent most of the last decade as a latter day member of Fleetwood Mac) has teamed up with country singer-songwriter Shawn Camp to record The Bluegrass Elvises Vol. 1. The 13-track disc is a blast – as Burnette and Camp let out the stops and pretenses and add banjos and fiddles with a touch of rockabilly flair to the Presley catalogue, offering new versions of “Don't Be Cruel,” “All Shook Up,” “Jailhouse Rock,” “Good Rockin' Tonight,” “Burnin' Love,” “Blue Suede Shoes” and more. For more information, check www.americanrootspublishing.org/bluegrass.html.
Joan Osborne has never quite returned to the big time after her song “(What if God Was) One of Us” stormed the pop charts over a decade ago… but she's continued to record and tour. Her latest disc, Breakfast in Bed is now out and finds the singer paying tribute to classic ‘70s soul hits. She covers “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” and “Heat Wave” which also appear in the motion picture “Standing in the Shadows of Motown,” as well as hits like “I've Got to Use My Imagination,” “Midnight Train to Georgia,” and Hall & Oates' “Sara Smile.” She also drops in a handful of Osborne originals that sound like they could have been penned and recorded in the ‘70s. For more information, check www.joanosborne.com.
The soundtrack to Ken Burns' World War II mini-series The War is now out on Sony/Legacy, and includes a wistful torch piano song from Norah Jones in “American Anthem,” and a couple new songs from jazz great Wynton Marsalis, along with classics from Count Basey, Bing Crosby, Bennie Goodman, Nat King Cole and more.
If you want to discover some new artists who have an allegiance to the gay/lesbian community, Columbia offers Music with a Twist: Revolutions, a varied but strong 11-song sampler compilation that features songs from The Gossip, Sarah Bettens, Kirsten Price, Dylan Rice and more.
For more information, check www.musicwithatwist.com.