I had the chance to enjoy some amazing performances at the Folk Alliance International conference last weekend. The acoustic music that wafted through the halls of the Memphis Marriott Downtown was so diverse and compelling, I walked around grinning until late into the night. What's more, I discovered a number of groups who are doing some engaging music for children. I'll mention two of my favorites here and bring more in-depth interviews in coming posts.
Among my favorite recordings was the Grammy nominated, "I Love: Tom T. Hall’s Songs of Fox Hollow.” Originally written and recorded by Country Music Hall of Fame singer/songwriter Tom T. Hall, (he had a number one hit with I Love back in 1974), these simple but poignant tunes tell of life at his farm at Fox Hollow. The remake, by Nashville duo Eric Brace and Peter Cooper, breathes new life into this treasure trove of songs. Cooper says he remembered loving these melodies as a kid and with the birth of his own child, wanted to bring them to a new audience. Lucky us. — songsoffoxhollow.com
A second musician I was excited to discover was Billy Jonas and the Billy Jonas Band from Asheville, North Carolina. Here's a group that creates imaginative music for families. Jonas does a wonderful job incorporating interesting harmonies enhanced by a range of instruments, from bicycle bells and tubas to hammered dulcimer and percussion instruments of all stripes. He sings about watermelons, cats, even Mount St. Helen. At one time, Jonas considered studying philosophy but his creative bent got the better of him. As a listener, I'd say that proved a wise decision.