A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this music.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Bill Harley's irreverent, refreshing songs and stories are filled with themes that will be familiar and funny to school-aged kids. There's a fair amount of good-natured teasing of parents and other grown-ups.
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What's the story?
With folksy charm and warmth to spare, Bill Harley's newest CD is a two-volume collection of 10 live-in-concert recordings before an audience of enchanted kids. Equal parts singer-songwriter and storyteller, Harley delivers spoken-word riffs on subjects familiar to all school-aged kids while never forgetting to make delicious fun of their parents.
Is it any good?
YES TO RUNNING! doesn't bother with any of the conceits so often heard on contemporary children's CDs. There's no (apparently obligatory) reggae track, no hit-you-over-the-head message of wholesome values or self-esteem. With just an acoustic guitar, a voice, and a personality, Harley heads straight for the imagination and the funny bone, while spinning a darn good yarn.
It's hard to pick a highlight because the whole album is so good, but "Mom and the Radio" has to be one of the funniest send-ups of "hip" parents ever. "The Teachers' Lounge" exposes the deep, dark mysteries that lie behind that universally-forbidden door.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about "Mom and the Radio," a story/song that describes hating the music your mom loves, then finding it stuck in your head. Can you think of a song that you can't stop singing? "Is Not Is Too" is about a brother and sister fighting -- over just about anything. Are these experiences familiar to you? What are some ways to avoid fighting with your sibling?