The Okee Dokee Brothers Tops This Year’s Phil’s Picks Best New Family Music Albums List

Courtesy: Okee Dokee Music

Family music entertainers have, like acts in every other genre across the music universe, been adversely impacted this year by the global COVID-19 pandemic.  Their live plans have been put on hold for the foreseeable future.  In the same vein, while the pandemic has put a (hopefully) temporary hold on live music, it has not prevented acts within the realm to release new albums.  That means that a list of the year’s top new Family Music albums is just as qualified as that for any other genre.  This year’s list of top new Family Music albums features new titles from some of the most well-known names within the realm, including but not limited to this year’s list topper The Okee Dokee Brothers, Paul Winter, and Justin Roberts.  It also features some younger acts, such as Roger Day, Greg Lato, and Lindsay Munroe.  Between them and others, this year produced many enjoyable albums within the Family Music world. 

The list of this year’s best new records, offers the Top 10 new albums in the genre and five honorable mention titles, for a total of 15 albums.  Without any further ado, here is Phil’s Picks 2020 Top 10 New Family Music Albums.

PHIL’S PICKS 2020 TOP 10 NEW FAMILY MUSIC ALBUMS

  1. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Songs For Singin’
  2. Alastair Mook & Friends – Be A Pain: An Album For Youn (And Old) Leaders
  3. Justin Roberts – Wild Life
  4. Red Yarn – Backyard Bop
  5. David Gibb & Brady Rymer – Songs Across The Pond
  6. Paul Winter – Light of the Sun
  7. Flor Bromley – Fiesta Global
  8. Lindsay Munroe – I Am Kind
  9. Joanie Leeds – All The Ladies
  10. 123 Andres – Hola Amigo
  11. Rolie Polie Guacamole – Avocado
  12. Roger Day – Invincible
  13. Sara Lovell – Night Life
  14. Greg Lato – Create My Own World
  15. Ants Ants Ants – Colors All Around

Next up from Phil’s Picks is the list of 2020’s Top 10 New Country/Bluegrass/Folk/Americana Albums.  Stay tuned for that.

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Musical Variety, Socially Conscious Lyrics, Strong Sequencing Makes ‘Hola Amigo’ Another Successful LP For 123 Andres

Courtesy: Sugar Mountain PR

Family music entertainer 123 Andres officially returned today with his latest album.  The veteran singer-songwriter/performer is scheduled to release his new album Hola, Amigo Friday.  The 10-song album continues to cement his place in the realm of family music thanks in part to its musical content.  This item will be discussed shortly.  Its positive lyrical themes add to its appeal and will be addressed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of this latest presentation from 123 Andres.  All things considered, they make the album another easy candidate for a spot on any critic’s list of the year’s top new family music albums.

123 Andres’ latest full-length studio recording Hola, Amigo is another positive presentation from the veteran family entertainer.  It is a work that audiences of all ages will appreciate.  That is thanks in part to the album’s musical arrangements.  From beginning to end of the 25-minute album, listeners are presented with a wide variety of musical styles.  ‘Boomerang,’ which comes late in the album’s run, is an infectious hip-hop style composition.  It is followed immediately after with the bluegrass style sound of ‘Hambone.’  The album takes another distinct turn from there with the reggae style approach of ‘Goodbye’ and ‘Hello, Friend,’ the album’s last two songs.  The latter of the pair even adds in a touch of ska for good measure.  This is especially interesting to note because the album opens on a similar stylistic note in its title track.  ‘Keep It Up,’ the album’s second entry, offers listeners a touch of a southern-tinged soulful work at its base, yet again showing the album’s musical diversity.  ‘Un Amor Tan Grande’ (which translates roughly to ‘Such A Great Love’) offers listeners a more pure Latin sound in its arrangement, even further showing the diversity in the album’s musical content.  ‘Rainbow’ meanwhile presents audiences with a neo-folk sound that will appeal to older listeners.  Between all of the arrangements noted here and the rest of the album’s musical arrangements not addressed here, it becomes increasingly clear just how many different styles of music are featured in this record and why that variety is so important to the album’s presentation. It will most certainly appeal to a wide range of listeners.  It is just one part of what makes the album stand out, too.  The record’s lyrical themes play their own pivotal part to the record.

The lyrical content featured throughout the body of Hola, Amigo is important to address because of the positive messages delivered throughout.  Case in point is the lyrical theme at the center of ‘Boomerang.’  Its theme is that of anti-bullying.  Guest artist Konshens The MC states right from the song’s outset, ‘Bullies never win.’  He notes in the song’s lead verse, “The words flow in the wind/Round and round/Like the circle/Ending up where they being/Give a smile/Get a smile/Be nice to your friend/And watch you friend be nice to you/The cycle never ends/Like hands ticking around the clock/Spin the wheel that never stops/Good things come back to you/When given from the heart/Love, peace and light is what I spread everyday/See whatever you say returns to you/Like a boomerang.”  He continues in the song’s second verse, “Like the fetchin’ dog/That’s bringing the ball back/Your words have a way of returnin’ to you/Positive or not/But boomerangs are words are tossed/That travel far/ But are never lost/And come into your atmosphere/Now you understand it clear/every word we say/Holds a little bit of weight/They lift up or break down/Be careful what you say now/Using them for good things…cause whatever you say returns to you like a boomerang.”  That last part of the second verse is a little difficult to understand sans lyrics sheet, but that aside, the song’s overall message is crystal clear.  This is a work that reminds listeners that they need too be conscious of the words they use with others.  What’s important here is that this message is important not just for children, but for adults, too.  That is especially obvious considering who is in the White House and the effect that his words have had on the nation.  He has made far too many people think it is okay to use hurtful words to others.  Considering that, adults need to be reminded about the importance of their words just as much as their younger counterparts.  It makes this song an unquestionably important part of this album, and just one of the album’s most important lyrical presentations.  ‘Hambone,’ which immediately follows ‘Boomerang’ is a key lyrical presentation in its own right.

‘Hambone’ is important because it is a sociopolitically aware presentation.  It addresses the current civil rights issues that are covering America right now.  Guest artists Cathy Fink, Uncle Devin, and Lolita Walker sing in this song in a call and response presentation, “What were you holding in your hand/I was holding a big old sign/On your sign/What did it say/We want justice/We want change.”  The group continues, “Black lives matter, yes they do/We have lots of work to do.”  From there, the group proceeds to say the names of recent Arican-American victims of violence at the hands of law enforcement, including Trevon Martin, Tamir Rice, and George Floyd.  The roll call of sorts takes up the second half of the song, reminding audiences of how many African-Americans have been victimized by the lesser element of America’s law enforcement community.  That 123 Andres would take the time to join the current civil rights movement and do so in such a straight forward fashion will certainly connect with older listeners.  At the same time, it will also serve as a starting point for adults to have a conversation with younger listeners about what is going on in the world today in regards to police brutality and race relations.  It’s just as serious an issue as that of being careful of the words that we use.  ‘Keep It Up’ is one more way in which the album’s lyrical themes prove pivotal to its presentation.

‘Keep it Up,’ which features a guest appearance by fellow family music entertainment act Sugarfree All Stars, is a work whose lyrical theme encourages listeners to not give up when things get difficult emotionally.  This is yet another theme that is accessible for older listeners as well as younger audiences.  The group sings in the song’s  lead verse, “You’ve worked so hard/You’d better get some rest/This challenge isn’t over/here’s another test/And it feels hard/And it feels wrong/Why do you have to go through this when you’re so young/I have a friend who went through this, too/He told me to tell everyone/Especially you/Don’t give up/Keep it up/Fill your love with all the love around you that will make you strong/It’s okay to cry/but dry your eyes and sing your song.”  The group continues in the song’s second verse, “You’ll realize/That you’re so strong/One day it will be you helping someone sing this song/You will stand up and fall again/You’ll understand this is the game/You have a song/Don’t lose your faith/We are your team/We’re here to stay.”  This is a song that lyrically, will help any young listener feel better in those difficult emotional times.  It is just as welcome and important an addition to 123 Andres’ new album as the other songs addressed here and the rest of the album’s entries.  When it is considered with all of those songs, no doubt is left as to the importance of the album’s lyrical themes.  They clearly play just as much an important part to the album’s presentation as the album’s musical variety.  The two elements together, make the album a strong presentation in its own right.  Even with the impact of the two elements together, there is still one more element to examine here – the album’s sequencing.

As has already been noted, the musical content presented in Hola, Amigo is varied.  One could go so far as to say that considering the album’s overarching lyrical themes, that variety in musical styles plays into the bigger statement of this album, that of collectivity and unity.  While that noted diversity is key in its own right, the varied styles also bring with them, different energies.  The album’s title track/opener is a laid back reggae style piece that presents a relaxed energy.  The energy picks up from there in a series of mid-tempo works that while stylistically different, still present a stable energy that will keep listeners engaged through this aspect.  ‘Fly, Shine, Soar,’ which comes just after the album’s midpoint, ‘Rainbow’ breaks up the album’s energy, serving as the only point at which it really pulls back in its energy.  The whole thing ends in the same relaxed, reggae style as it opened in ‘Hola, Amigo,’ essentially bringing everything full circle for the album both musically and in terms of the album’s energy.  Simply put, the sequencing of Hola, Amigo ensures a stable energy presentation from start to end even as the album’s musical styles change from one to the next.  When this is considered along with the impact of the album’s musical and lyrical content, all three elements join to make the album a presentation that is just as positive a presentation as any of this year’s other family music albums.

Family music entertainer 123 Andres’ new album Hola, Amigo is a powerful new presentation from the veteran performer/singer/songwriter.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical content, which will appeal just as much to grown-ups as it will younger listeners.  The same can be said of the album’s lyrical themes.  They present messages that will resonate with listeners of any age.  Some will even  resonate even more with those older audiences than their younger counterparts.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  It gives audiences a variety of musical styles from one song to the next while also ensuring the album’s energy remains stable throughout at the same time.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album.  All things considered, they make the album yet another of the best of this year’s top new family music albums.  It is available now.  More information on Hola, Amigo is available along with all of 123 Andres’ latest news at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.123andres.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/123conandres

Twitter: http://twitter.com/123conandres

 

 

 

To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.