Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kid-Friendly CD Worth Picking Up -- Someone Else's Shoes, The Best Foot Forward Series (Review)


Recess Music, a company dedicated to helping kids value a world that is wise, fair, and generous hearted, recently released Someone Else’s Shoes on CD back on July 31st, the third in its “Best Foot Forward”series of CDs.  Other titles in the “Best Foot Forward” series include Recess Music’s Big Bully and U R SOME 1.

All the songs on Someone Else's Shoes highlight empathy as a key ingredient for living in harmony with others.  The album features 15 tracks that showcase contributions by a sampling of some of today's most gifted kids' musicians, including two-time GRAMMY®winners Cathy Fink &Marcy Marxer, four-time Emmy® winning composer/performer Jamie Broza, and Parents' Choice® and NAPPA winner Swingset Mamas.

Someone Else’s Shoes opens with a feel-good beat and terrific vocals by Swingset Mamas on “Take A Walk In Someone Else’s Shoes.” Compelling rhythms also underscore important messages about respect, appreciation, and  empathy on The Uncle Brothers’ “Team Work” and Troubadour’s “You Hurt My Feelings.”  Other album highlights include the Appalachian folk sounds of “Give A Little Love Away” by Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer,  Cliff Tetle’s retro vocal stylings on “Everyone Can See A Different Me,” and Jamie Broza’s exceptionally sweet ballad, “Be Nice To Old People.” Kids are sure to enjoy the rhymes on The Hill Brothers’ “There’s No Place For Bullies In Our School,” Jamie Barnett’s guitar picking on “Being With You,” the hand-clapping, happy beat underpinning The Happy Crowd’s “Say Something Nice About Someone,” the sheer musical variety within Jim Papoulis’ “Feel The World Dancing,” and Cosima’s “What A Difference,” featuring blues harp and vocals that have more than a hint of Emmylou Harris.  Rounding out Someone Else’s Shoes are offerings from Kelsey Friday & The Rest of the Week, Mike Soloway, Dan Dan Doodlebug, and Mr. KimWebster.
Recess Music’s “Best Foot Forward” series could be thought of as the musical component to a hip, up-to-date, and entirely relevant “course in manners” that reinforces a profound subtext, which points to how to survive life together and encourages kids to conduct their lives on an elevated plane.  Almost all children really want to have friends and be good playmates, but to achieve these objectives they must learn key social structures and conventions, such as how to say, “I know how you feel” or how to live by the rule of “no put-downs” toward others. Recess Music’s founder/producer Nancy Doan explains that she decided to focus on social empathy with Someone Else’s Shoes because, “When children learn to ‘walk in someone else’s shoes,’ they become better people, more understanding, more helpful to those who are in distress, and better able to celebrate other people’s triumphs, as well as their own.”  Nancy hopes that the Recess Music “Best Foot Forward” trilogy of Big Bully, U R SOME 1, and Someone Else’s Shoes will help to encourage discussion among parents, children, and educators about caring, understanding, social justice, and global peace, as well as the particular challenges caused by the unfortunate presence of intimidation and bullying behavior on our social landscape.

Recess Music’s Wild Child was featured in USA Today as one of kids’ music superstar Laurie Berkner’s  “Eight Greats for 2011.” Scholastic Parent & Child highlighted Wild Child in its November 2011 issue and includes La Bella Stella in its June 2012 issue. Parents Magazine featured Wild Child and Big Bully in its January 2012 iPad/Tablet edition and La Bella Stella in its April 2012 iPad/Tablet edition.  Recess Music’s Ocean Motion received both a Parents’ Choice® Award and a NAPPA Rising Star honor in 2011, and Big Bully and Wild Child likewise wonParents’ Choice® Awards.  Big Bully was also honored by WXPN’s Kathy O’Connell in MetroKids magazine as one of the “Top Ten Family CDs of 2011” and was one of only six albums included in a DailyCandy Kids “Best Kids Music of 2011” feature, which praised Big Bully as “uplifting folk-pop performed by an all-star cast.”

Someone Else's Shoes will be available online at, and its international affiliates, iTunes, and brick and mortar retailers throughout the U.S.

CD Details: SOMEONE ELSE'S SHOESFor ages 4 - 11.
Label: Big Round Records
SRP: $12.99
Run time: 46 minutes.

My Thoughts:

This summer we have had a blast listening to the assortment of kid-friendly CDs I was sent to review.  From hip hop to rock, to folk and bluegrass, the music genres ran the gamut. Who knew that there were so many great kid-friendly companies out there putting out amazing music.  With  Someone Else's Shoes, which has 15 tracks, taps today's most gifted kids' musicians like two-time Grammy winners Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, along with four-time Emmy Winning composer/performer Jamie Broza, to offer a CD that highlights "empathy as a key ingredient for living in harmony with others."  

With feel good, toe tapping tunes, both parents and children will not want to stop listening to the CD.  Now that I have two daughters, I hope that as they grow, they learn to respect each other, as well as lean on each other for support.  Many of these catchy tracks deal with team work, respect, empathy and appreciation -- all traits I hope to instill in them, which makes this the perfect CD to listen to as a family.  Even though my daughters' can't understand or appreciate the lyrics of these songs, I know that when they get older they will.

Don't ask me to choice a favorite song, as they were all great, and provided a positive message.  I did, however, find myself clapping along to Say Something Nice About Someone and Feel the World Dancing.  This CD about empathy is worth picking up and sharing with your children, as it will encourage discussion among parents, children and educators about caring, understanding, social justice and global peace, along with bullying and respecting your elders.  What a way to share the love music with teachings of empathy all on one CD.  Someone Else's Shoes has done just that, and pulled it off beautifully.

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

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