Performed by Renee & Friends. CD. Approx. 33 min. One Melody Records. 2015. $11.91.
RedReviewStarPreS-Gr 3—Singer/songwriter Renee Stahl and producer Rich Jacques have put together a dozen original songs that focus on friends, family, and love. Largely mellow ballads, they feature instrumentations including guitar, banjo, and electric piano. Most tracks are collaborations cowritten by Stahl and Jacques, with the musician also featured on the song. These songs tend to be a bit more sophisticated than the usual fare for kids and families, making them an excellent bridge between the two—music for kids and music for their parents. Opening number "Gather Round" (cowritten and performed as a duet with Lisa Loeb) is a folksy ballad filled with harmonies about getting together with loved ones. Other collaborative standouts include "You Were Meant to Be" (featuring Glen Phillips), "Are We There Yet?" (featuring Colin Hay), "Starfish and Coffee" (cowritten by Prince, duet with Maya Rudolph). One exceptional highlight is "Happiness" by Clark Gener, performed solo by Molly Shannon (a childhood friend of Stahl's) with Kazumi Shimokawa on piano.
VERDICT This is truly music for all ages.

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