A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Blue Clouds is a heartwarming collection of original, pop/rock covers, and traditional songs that makes precious listening for the whole family. Renditions of David Bowie, Bill Withers, Van Morrison, Jimi Hendrix, and Allman Brothers tunes join traditional songs from Korea, Japan, England, and the U.S., along with several originals on this album. Mitchell's signatures are her inviting voice, skilled musicianship, and song sense that celebrate the richness and joys of childhood. This time around, though, Mitchell delivers tunes with a sense of developing maturity. These are soulful songs that kids of all ages can grow along with for years to come.
What's the story?
Originally an indie-rock artist, Elizabeth Mitchell turned to making kids' music in 1998. Since then, she and husband Daniel Littleton have released seven albums with help from their daughter Storey and other musical family and friends. The song "Blue Clouds," and eventually this album, grew out of a bedtime story the family enjoyed together every night.
Is it any good?
Elizabeth Mitchell brings a serenity, sincerity, and depth to music unlike any other artist. It's music that resonates in your soul whether you're a wee little one or a big old grown-up. Mitchell's musical sensibilities lend themselves beautifully to her interpretations of traditional and cover songs and well-crafted originals. Her inviting voice blends seamlessly with acoustic guitar, fiddle, banjo, glockenspiel, gentle percussion, and this time, a harmonium's drone, which threads a breath of peace throughout many of these songs.
For those familiar with Mitchell's previous albums, you many notice a subtle difference with BLUE CLOUDS -- there's an unexpected maturity to these songs, making it absolutely one of her best albums yet. Standout tracks are many and include: "Froggie Went a-Courtin'," "Arm in Arm," "San Toki (Mountain Bunny)," "Kooks," "I Wish You Well," "Summer Is Icumen In," "May This Be Love," "Blue Sky (Little Martha Intro)," and "Blue Clouds."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the mood of this album. What are the song's messages and how do they make you feel? Does Mitchell's music match the mood of the songs, and if so, how?
Mitchell includes well-crafted cover songs from pop and rock artist that may be familiar to older family members. Consider listening to the original versions of Mitchell's covers. What's special about the songs, and why did Mitchell chose to record them the way she did? How do the different versions compare to each other? Do you like one better that the other?
Mitchell also includes two traditional songs from Asia on this recording: "San Toki (Mountain Bunny)" from Korea and "Yuki (Snow)" from Japan. Mitchell first sings each song in the native language, followed by interpretations in English. Try singing along and consider how learning songs in other languages can help you learn about different cultures.