Grammy®-nominated rocker Tracy Bonham will make her first venture into the world of family music Friday when she releases her debut family music album, Young Maestros Vol. 1. The 11-song record is short, clocking in at just 29 minutes, but still offers plenty for audiences of all ages to enjoy, not the least of which being its varied musical arrangements. They will be discussed shortly. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own share of enjoyment. It will be discussed a little later. The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later. Each item noted here is important in its own way to the album’s presentation. All things considered, they earn the album a spot on the list of 2021’s top new family music albums.
Tracy Bonham’s debut family music album, Young Maestros Vol. 1 is a work that leaves audiences looking forward to its follow-up in the best way possible. That is proven in part through the record’s varied musical arrangements. Throughout the course of the album’s nearly 30-minute run time, it presents listeners with arrangements whose stylistic approaches and sounds span the musical universe. ‘Background Singers’ for instance takes listeners back to the golden age of Rhythm and Blues as it pays tribute to…well…background singers. The subtle keyboard line, guitar, and bass join with the subtle vocals to present the noted stylistic approach and sound. ‘Shake Like a Rattlesnake,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, uses its country music style sound and stylistic approach to conjure thoughts of country music legend Johnny Cash. As a matter of fact, there is a moment in the song’s chorus and its refrains in which she will have listeners thinking of Cash’s timeless hit ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’ More specifically, her refrains sound like Cash’s as he sings in his chorus, “I hang my head and Cry.’ Cash isn’t the only country music legend to whom Bonham pays tribute in this record’s musical arrangements. ‘Song Without an Ending’ immediately lends itself to thoughts of Hank Williams’ timeless song, ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’ As if that is not enough, Bonham even pays tribute to Julie Andrews with references to Andrews take on the big screen adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music. That is quite a wide spread of musical styles and arrangements, and it certainly does not end there. When the varied arrangements and styles noted here are considered with the rest of the album’s musical content, the whole builds a solid foundation for the album. Building on that foundation is the engagement and entertainment offered through the album’s equally diverse lyrical content.
The lyrical content featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements follows one central theme of music and music theory. The matter is discussed through a variety of musical topics ‘Big Beats,’ whose musical arrangement is a direct tribute to a certain well-known song from Sir Mix-a-Lot, and ‘Beats to a Measure’ are both songs that address basic counting in music. ‘Feelin’ Pretty Major,’ with its throwback 1960s style pop rock style arrangement and sound, also notes beats. It additionally approaches the topic of major and minor thirds, and other chord structures. One of the most notable of the songs here, in terms of its music theory-related content comes early in the album in the form of ‘All The Blackbirds.’ The song is actually a unique pneumonic device meant to help young listeners who might be learning how to play piano. Bonham does not immediately come out and make that clear. Audiences have to listen close in order to catch the subtle connection, but it is there. That Bonham could so creatively find a way to help young pianists develop their talent in this case is impressive. Considering this, the other lyrical content noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the overall lyrical content featured in Young Maestros Vol. 1 does well in following the theme of the album’s title. It and the album’s musical content collectively goes a long way toward making the album successful. Even with this in mind, there is still at least one more item that makes the album work. That last item is the record’s sequencing.
As already noted, the album’s musical arrangements are unique of one another throughout the course of its 29 minute run time. The album’s lyrical content varies from on to the next, too, even as it centers on one central theme. The record’s sequencing plays into that variety in both aspects. It ensures that the content in both cases constantly changes, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment. At the same, the sequencing also ensures that the energy in the record’s songs stays stable from start to end. That energy seems to stick within a specific range from one to the next, never getting too slow and soft or too fast and loud. That the energy remains so stable throughout shows even more why the record’s sequencing is so important. When that overall importance is considered with the importance of the record’s overall content, it makes the album’s overall presentation even more engaging and entertaining. All things considered, the record more than proves it deserves a spot among this year’s top new family music albums.
Tracy Bonham’s debut family music album, Young Maestro’s Vol. 1 is an impressive first family outing for the Grammy®-nominated rocker. Its positives start in its musical content. That content proves diverse throughout, reaching across the musical universe. It features some country and bluegrass alongside some kindie pop and even R&B and hip-hop. This alone ensures a wide appeal among audiences. The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s music arrangement is diverse in its own right. That is even as it follows one central lyrical theme. The diverse lyrical content featured here touches on basic music theory concepts, making it a great tool for any elementary level music educator. The sequencing of all of the noted content puts the finishing touch to the recording, bringing everything full circle. That is because it ensures the record’s content changes up constantly. Each item noted is important in its own way to this album. All things considered, the album proves itself an enjoyable new family music offering that will appeal to a wide range of listeners. Young Maestros Vol. 1 is scheduled for release Friday through Melodeon Music.
Pre-orders for Bonham’s new album are open now.
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