Children’s entertainer Laura Doherty and her band mates are set to release their latest full-length studio release this winter. In A Heartbeat, Ms. Doherty’s third full length studio release is a fun record for preschoolers, kindergartners, and their parents even whether it is the first time said audiences will have heard her music or not. There is much that can be said about this new release. It is difficult to know precisely where to start. But this critic will attempt to do so. Both children and their parents will appreciate the musical variety presented on this record. From songs that celebrate the simple things to sillier songs such as ‘Domingo The Flamingo’ to the cover of the Nat King Cole hit, ‘Paper Moon’, there’s something for everyone on In a Heartbeat. As with so many children’s albums that have come before, that variety and originality makes this record more proof of what makes children’s albums just as enjoyable as anything for grown-ups. Considering that, this new album has made itself an early contender for this critic’s list of the year’s top new children’s albums.
Laura Doherty’s new album is so enjoyable because of its variety both musically and lyrically. Whether it be for the lyrics or just the music, both kids and kids at heart will enjoy this record. Right from the album’s outset, Doherty offers her listeners a song that is simple both musically and lyrically in ‘I’m a Little Fish.’ The song’s folk style musical side will impress both children and their parents equally, especially if said parents are fans of folk music. Lyrically, it comes across as just another children’s song on the surface. But one could argue that on a deeper level, it is a song that metaphorically celebrates the simple things such as appreciating the world around one’s self and friendship. There’s even a subtle message about not giving up on one’s goals. Many readers are likely thinking right now that this critic is grasping at straws. But given the time to think about the song’s lyrics set against the gentle folksy melody, it makes sense. Doherty sings, “I’m a little fish swimming in the ocean/I’m a little fish swimming in the sea/I’m a little fish swimming in the water/I’m a little fish swimming so free.” That last line speaks volumes. It presents a positive message about appreciating everything around one’s self. Still not convinced yet? Ok. Doherty goes on, using an octopus and a crab to illustrate her messages as she sings, “I’m gonna get to where I’m goin’/I’m gonna wiggle to the other side/I’m gonna get to where I’m goin’/With you by my side.” That Doherty could combine so many messages into one song without the song becoming too busy is a tribute to her writing talent. That she and her band mates could bring to life said lyrics in a song that clocks in right at three minutes is even more impressive. It’s just the first proof of what makes this album so enjoyable.
‘I’m a Little Fish’ is just one example of what makes In a Heartbeat fun for families with younger children. It is just the starting point of that argument. Doherty and company offer listeners plenty of songs with positive messages and that celebrate the simple things in life. It also has its own share of sillier songs that will still entertain parents thanks to their musical side. Case in point, ‘Domingo The Flamingo.’ This Latin-tinged song about a flamingo named Domingo will have parents dancing just as much as their children thanks to its infectious musical side. The inclusion of timbales, steel drums and other Afro-Cuban instruments and rhythms makes for a moment that is just as perfect for teaching as it is simply for enjoyment. This is especially the case being that this song comes right after a catchy tune celebrating drumming and drummers. On a side note, this critic is a drummer. So it’s nice to finally hear someone give proper respect to drummers and drumming. The two songs together are enjoyable and silly. They also make for a great collective chance to teach young listeners about different musical styles around the world and about different instruments. That in turn could lead to lessons about different cultures. Yet again, listeners have one more reason to enjoy this record. The enjoyment doesn’t stop here, either.
Staying on the matter of teaching different musical styles, any parents that have any interest in the world of classic jazz will appreciate Doherty’s cover of Nat King Cole’s hit song ‘Paper Moon.’ That Doherty would include this song in her new album is important. That’s because it would seem that so few of today’s younger audiences (including listeners in their twenties, thirties, and even forties) are fans of this classic style of music. To her credit, having heard this song, it would actually be interesting to hear Doherty craft a full album of jazz standards for children. She has more than proven that even with this shortened version of the song made famous by Cole, she has the chops to write a jazz record. Of course the same applies if she were to craft a record centered on any of the musical styles presented throughout her new record. In a Heartbeat contains so many more songs that can serve as examples of what makes it such an enjoyable record. That would take far too long. But it goes without saying that when it is released February 11th, every parent and teacher will find their own example of what makes this a fun record. But they can only do that by ordering her new album via her website, http://www.lauradohertymusic.com. Families and classes can also hear Laura Doherty’s music live as she tours the Midwest. Her complete tour schedule is available on her official website and her official Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/pages/Laura-Doherty/40482713807. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.