Friday, June 8, 2012

The Okee Dokee Brothers: Can You Canoe? CD/DVD (Review)

CYC Album Cover 

As childhood friends, Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing spent summers at their neighborhood creek building makeshift rafts, fishing for crawdads and dreaming of great river adventures.
Now, as The Okee Dokee Brothers, they have realized these boyhood dreams via a great adventure on the Mississippi River, culminating with Can You Canoe? This new CD-DVD released on May 15th (Red Eye Distribution, $16/$8.99 digital) and is the first release in a planned Adventure Album series for families.

It all began last June when Joe and Justin embarked on a canoe trip in Minneapolis and continued down the river for the next 30 days until they arrived at the St. Louis Gateway Arch. During their month-long journey on the Mississippi, they camped, canoed, filmed and most importantly, composed the songs that make up their new album for kids and families.

Can You Canoe? was produced by Dean Jones in his Hudson River Valley straw-bale studio. Guest appearances from Garth Hudson (The Band), Elizabeth Mitchell (You Are My Flower), as well as Morgan Taylor andRachel Loshak (Gustafer Yellowgold) add sparkle to these joyful songs.
The songs on the album range from direct references of the river (“Can you Canoe?,” “Mr. and Mrs. Sippi,” “Haul Away Joe”) to more general topics in the outdoor motif (“The Bullfrog Opera,” “Campin’ Tent,” “Thousand Star Hotel”).The Okee Dokee Brothers also use the river as a metaphor to address deeper themes such as the struggles in a friendship (“Brother, Along for the Ride”) and life’s changes and phases (“Roll on River”).

The 40-minute supplemental film tells the story of The Okee DokeeBrothers’ trip while including educational segments, camping shenanigans, music videos, interviews and pristine nature scenes.All the footage was filmed on location along the Mississippi River, including a visit with The Original River Rat and a group of young Tom Sawyer-Huck Finn-Becky Thatcher look-alikes in Hannibal, MO.
Joe and Justin draw inspiration from their experiences while providing a creative framework for the audience to explore their own imaginations. “We hope a project like this can inspire kids to take an active role in their lives, get outside and make their dreams realities,” they explain. All the songs and footage on this CD/DVD set are tied together by themes of rivers, friendship, and especially outdoor adventure.

My Thoughts:

This CD/DVD combo takes you on a fun filled musical adventures spent on the Mississippi by the Okee Brothers.  Even though this is their third album, it was the first I had heard about them, let alone listened to their music.  With summer right around the corner, this CD will get both you and your child in the mood to spending time in the great outdoors, having memorable adventures.  With banjos, fiddles and even pots and pans being banged, each of the tracks on this CD will have th whole family tapping their feet and dancing around. 

The first time I put this CD on to play, the first song came on, "Can you Canoe?"  W"hat a name for a song?", I thought.  But, after hearing the lyrics, I was hooked by this duo.  Savannah and I both loved the son, Rosita, which had a latin feel to it.  And, with Savannah's middle name being Rose, her Daddy is always calling her Rosita.  Don't tell her the song was about an insect.  She was too busy dancing and clapping her hands to listen to the words. :-)

As for the accompanying DVD, which offers footage of their trip and of the Okee Dokee brothers playing music, this was a great way to tie in these nature/outdoor inspiring songs.  My husband and I enjoyed the trip footage, and talked about one day taking the girls on a canoe trip, to really appreciate the outdoors and nature around them.  Before they arrived, we enjoyed taking scenic canoe trips down the Connecticut rivers and taking in the beauty that surrounded us.  If you really stopped to listen, it was so peaceful around us. 

Back to this CD/DVD review...I am so happy that I was introduced to the Okee Dokee brothers, and will definitely be watching for future releases, as well as picking up past releases, to share with my family.


Click here to order this CD/DVD combo directly from the Okee Dokee Brothers website for only $15.00.  In addition, you can also listen to snippets each of track prior to buying!

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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