on October 12, 2006
My family and I LOVE Elizabeth Mitchell... in a big way. So when I say that this new CD is my favorite, it's not something I say lightly. But it's true - and it's not just my new favorite Elizabeth Mitchell CD - it's my favorite CD period. Why? It's just fantastic. The songs are beautiful, simple, nostalgic, fun, full of character, love, warmth and magic. It's Elizabeth Mitchell at her best - with just her voice and guitar and husband and child accompanying her. Simple and perfect.
And our kids love it, too. My daughter (aged almost 3) has had a special love for Elizabeth Mitchell ever since she was 2 months old (when we first heard of Elizabeth Mitchell). Ms. Mitchell's beautiful, soothing voice and captivating melodies has always put my daughter into a kind of hypnotic trance.... and this CD is no exception. Our son (nearly 1.5 years old) really loves this new one, too. His reaction, however, is to hop up and down vigourously (his version of dancing).
And the best thing of all is not that just this CD will calm and relax the kids, or entertain them, but us parents love it, too. The songs are either old favorites (like the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On") or familiar ("Little Liza Jane" and "Peace Like a River") or new ones (to us) that are catchy enough to learn and sing along. But the songs are never corny or hokey like so many other children's CD's are these days. This is real music that will become a treasured part of your family.
I can't recommend this CD (or Elizabeth Mitchell - and Dan Littleton and Storey) highly enough. Everyone should go buy it immediately - unless you know me personally, in which case you'll be getting it from me as a gift!!!
on December 13, 2006
Have you had it with loud, super silly kid's music that repeats endlessly in your head, long after you've heard it? Does your child wake early, and want to listen to music? Do you want a mellow and sweet way to start the day with your child?
If so, Elizabeth Mitchell's new CD might save your child music weary self. You Are My Little Bird is a collection of simple, unassuming and peaceful songs that will have you and your child singing and humming along. The music is all acoustic and the sweet little voice of Mithcell's daughter and husband add depth and beauty to the new, classic, and multicultural songs that span this CD.
I've learned many new songs to sing with my toddler from this CD. It is usually the first music we listen to early in the morning. Today I left the CD on when my daughter and I went upstairs and my husband actually left it playing!
Some of my personal favorites on the album include "Who's my Pretty Baby", "Little Bird, Little Bird" and "Peace like a River." These simple, beautiful songs are gems to hear, to sing, and watch your child react to.
Mitchell breathes new life into classic songs and nursery rhymes. She turns expected songs from Bob Marley, Neil Young, and even the Velvet Underground, into accessible, fun, children's tunes (or tunes for any age, for that matter). My little girl loves hearing Storey, Elizabeth's daughter, singing throughout the album.
I am thrilled to have found Elizabeth Mitchell. My daughter and I will be singing our favorites for years, I am certain.
This CD is from the incredible Smithsonian Folkways Collection. There are several other great CDs in this collection all honoring the great traditions of folk music through time. - Katy Farber
on November 4, 2006
I randomly grabbed this CD in a bookstore after a long and desperate search for some kid-friendly music that didn't involve singing hamsters, Disney characters or--dare I say it--Raffi. I took it home and played it for my daughter (18 months) and we were both instantly hooked. It is the #1 CD played in our house and my little girl has even learned to pop it in the CD player herself! My husband, who has a severe allergy to anything cutesy-poo, has enjoyed it, too. It is such warm and sincere music, alternately toe-tapping and soothing. I appreciate songs like "Little Bird" that have complex rhythms and melodies. I laughed so hard when I finally realized that "3 Little Birds" is a cover of the Bob Marley classic. Awesome! I have given this as a gift to friends and hope you will do the same. We need to be sure Ms. Mitchell gets the recognition she deserves and hopefully makes more delightful, authentic music with her charming family.
on December 28, 2011
I wouldn't be here if not for Elizabeth Mitchell. Not in a "here on this planet" manner of speaking, but writing about music for kids and families. A webforum's random note suggesting her kids' music debut You Are My Flower prompted an impulsive purchase; listening to the album, brief though it was, opened my ears to the possibilities in listening to (and making) music with kids. It and its successor, You Are My Sunshine, became beloved and well-worn recordings in our household.
I mention this for two reasons: one, to express my debt of gratitude to Ms. Mitchell for that first album; and two, to give you a sense of my bias heading into the review of Elizabeth Mitchell's 3rd solo CD for kids and her first for the venerable Smithsonian Folkways label, You Are My Little Bird (2006). The pairing is so obvious that it makes you wonder why nobody had thought of this sooner. Mitchell's previous kids' albums (including another album made with her college bandmate Lisa Loeb) always relied heavily on traditional songs discovered or made famous by such Folkways standbys as Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, and Elizabeth Cotten. (She also liked covering Bob Dylan songs, too, part of the albums' unique charms.) The folk approach (homemade sound, often only accompanied by husband and musical partner Daniel Littleton) also made it sound very Folkways-like.
This album is loosely organized around the avian theme of the title, with songs such as the traditional "Little Bird, Little Bird" and the Spanish-language "Los Pollitos" (The Little Chicks). (The use of non-English-language tracks continues the trend seen in the Mitchell-Loeb Catch The Moon album.) The album also includes slightly less traditional (but no less avian) covers of Neil Young ("Little Wing") and Gillian Welch/David Rawlings ("Winter's Come and Gone"). Some songs encourage listener participation, such as on "Little Liza Jane," which names cities familiar to the artists, while one of the album's standout tracks, "If You Listen," a sweet folk-pop track, encourages the listener to search for certain sounds (birds, different instruments). If there's a key song thematically here, this is it.
Another one of my favorite tracks is the cover of the Velvet Underground's "What Goes On," which, well, rocks in a way few if any other Mitchell's kids' music tracks do. It fits in well with an album which takes the homemade sound of her previous CDs and builds upon it in different ways -- the significant (but not distracting) presence of daughter Storey, the gradual building of voices in the opener "Little Liza Jane," the banjo on "Little Bird, Little Bird" (recorded by another stellar kids' musician and banjo player, Pete Seeger).
I can't discuss this album without mentioning Mitchell's voice, which is the sweetest and best voice in kids' and family music today. The crystal-clear quality of her voice is not only pleasant to hear, it's also essential to understanding the lyrics so you can then sing the songs to the kids in your life. (In fact, if I have one complaint with the album it's that some of the non-Mitchell-penned liner notes take up valuable space which could've otherwise been used to print lyrics.)
Like the other Mitchell CDs, the sense of calm that permeates the album makes it appropriate for a wide age range, but it's probably best for kids ages 2 through 7. If, like me, you are familiar with Elizabeth Mitchell's work, you will not be disappointed by this latest album -- it retains the simplicity and homemade sound of the earlier albums while expanding upon it in new and delightful ways. If, like me a number of years ago, you are unfamiliar with Elizabeth Mitchell's work, You Are My Little Bird is an excellent introduction. The album is a gift to kids and adults alike. Highly recommended.
[Originally published in slightly altered version at Zooglobble.]
We have a 7-month-old, and honestly, after about two months of the typical lullabies (though we did find some good ones on the Ellipsis Arts label), I was about ready to pull my lullaby-loving ears off. So I started searching for music that my daughter, my husband, and I would all enjoy - and through my research, found this astoundingly talented, beautifully voiced, cheeky performer. The great thing about this album in particular is the range - it's got fun, upbeat, catchy tunes like "Little Liza Jane" and "Who's My Pretty Baby," and softer, gentler fare like "Down in the Valley" and "If You Listen." She even does a lovely version of Woody Guthrie's spoken word "Grassy Grass Grass."
Her music is wonderful - she has a gorgeous voice, and she backs up some of her songs with kids singing with her and her husband. They are a gifted bunch - and it wasn't long before we'd bought the entire group of Elizabeth Mitchell's CDs. I can't recommend them highly enough, either for new parents desperate for something they're happy listening to and singing along to, or for parents of preschool children wanting to find something their kids can relate to. Enjoy!
on March 8, 2007
I gave this cd to my grand daughter for Valintine's Day - not only did she love it right off the bat but my son and daughter-in-law have been learning the songs on their guitars. They mention the cd everytime we talk.
on November 5, 2006
Elizabeth Mitchell has a well deserved reputation for her children's music. Her homemade (quite literally being recorded out of her home in the Catskill mountains with her husband and musical partner Daniel Littleton) and intimate recordings draw heavily on old-time folk, blues, and country songs adapted into what has become a wealth of musical classics for youngsters. "You Are My Little Bird" is a compilation of some of her best work over the years and deftly reflects her contributions to the genre. Highly recommended for family and community library CD music collections for young children and showcasing seventeen titles with a total running time of 34 minutes, the individual pieces include Little Liza Jane (2:24); Whose My Pretty Baby (1:53); Zousan/Little Elephant (1:39); Little bird, Little Bird (2:28); Three Little Birds (2:33); What Goes On (2:53); Pom Na Tu Ri/Springtime Outing (1:20); Buckeye Jim (2:01); Peace Like A River (2:57); Los Pollitos/The Little Chicks (1:51); Winter's Come And gone (1:59); Little Wing (2:39); Lilly Pond (0:59); The North Wind (0:39); If You Listen (3:12); Down In The Valley (2:21); and Grassy Grass Grass (0:56).
on February 17, 2007
I teach preschool and my students request these songs day after day after day. And I am happy to hear them again and again! I have bought this CD as a gift for many families and all of them have fallen in love with it. Can't recommend it highly enough!
For one thing, Mitchell includes songs by Bob Marley, Lou Reed, Neil Young and Gillian Welch/David Rawlings. The inclusion of a Welch/Rawlings tune is a clue to the aesthetic as well. Parents who adore Welch's Time (the Revelator) will feel very much at home with this CD. The arrangements are spare in the best sense of that word. There is a simplicity, a purity and a strength that is refreshing for anyone annoyed to the point of sociopathy by other children's CDs. What I like about this CD is that it makes both my girls and I want to dance and sing along. I guess what I am getting at is that listening to Mitchell is like reading great children's literature and watching a great kids movie (e.g., My Neighbor Totoro). Mitchell's music speaks to the music lover in all of us. I would be perfectly confident giving this CD to someone who loved folk music whether or not they had kids. My only complaint about the CD is the lack of lyrics in the ample booklet.
on November 13, 2010
Just the best. I buy this album or ("You Are My Sunshine" or "You Are My Flower") everytime I need to get someone a baby gift. The better I know/like someone...the more albums I buy them. Here is the thing - I find myself listening to these CDs on the rare occasion I am alone in the car. I have Led Zeppelin, Jim Morrison, Liz Phair, Haydn's "Orlando Paladino," and the Rosary in my CD changer right now (to give you an idea of my taste), in addition to Elizabeth Mitchell. The only two CDs I always keep in there are a) the Rosary (I like the one narrated by Father Scallon myself) and b) Elizabeth Mitchell. With six kids ages 1-11 I can tell you that sometimes we need to just relax...and other times we need to rock out. Ms. Mitchell will do both. I cannot remember how I stumbled upon her years ago (or why it's taken me so long to write a review...oh yeah...all the kids....) - but I am so glad that I (notorious cheapskate) plunked down a lousy few bucks for her music. You can't put a price tag on the joy her music will bring you.