The Okee Dokee Brothers’ most recent album, Can You Canoe?, is a wonderful album not just for children but for the whole family. While it was marketed as a children’s album, even parents will find this Grammy award winning album enjoyable with its mix of Americana, Dixieland, and even a touch of semi-Celtic sound. The bonus DVD included with the CD is an excellent companion piece as the visuals expertly bring to life the images that are likely to run through listeners’ minds as they listen to the songs, right from the album’s opener and title track.
The album’s opener is a wonderful, relaxing song that evokes images of a canoe trip with sunny skies overhead and the sounds of nature all around. That is exactly what audiences see in the bonus DVD as it opens. What’s more it’s quite the first impression. Again, one reminds one’s self that this album was marketed as a children’s album. But the reality of the song is that it could just as easily double as a general folk song, with its themes of enjoying the simple things in life. For instance, the duo sings on not needing candy bars and car toys, and of needing only the sound of the water instead of amplifiers. These are themes that both kids and their parents will appreciate and that will never grow old with each listen.
The gentle vibes of the album’s title track are broken only slightly as the duo launches into the semi-Celtic sea shanty style song that is ‘Haul Away Joe’ before moving into more of a Dixieland sound in the fun little song, ‘Mr. & Mrs. Sippy.’ This song will no doubt have kids singing along as the pair spell out Mississippi through song and a story about Mr. and Mrs. Sippy. From the fun and goofiness of ‘Mr. & Mrs. Sippy’, listeners are transported back to the album’s original, gentler vibe in the album’s fourth track, ‘Bullfrog Opera.’ Much like the album’s opener, the guys sing of the simple things in its chorus. They sing in the chorus, “The moon becomes a streetlight in Central Park/And the river is a train/Brooklyn bound/The stars turn into pearls/On high heeled girls/Getting ready for a night on the town/Let’s take ‘em to the/Bullfrog opera/And the raccoon’s masquerade ball/We’ve got Broadway tickets to see a chorus line of crickets/and the loons are playing Carnegie Hall.” These are such simple lines. But it is their simplicity that makes imagining such visuals so easy. And for younger listeners, it will hopefully ignite their imaginations enough to make them want to turn off their televisions and electronics and want to experience these same visuals for themselves. The Okee Dokee Brothers are definitely to be commended for making a song that is both so deep and simple all at the same time here.
The first small portion of Can You Canoe? is front loaded with lots of wonderful material for both kids and their parents. The fun doesn’t end after the first quarter of the album though. There are fun songs about a mosquito named Rosita, taking a ride on a train, and lots more for the whole family to enjoy. They can enjoy them together now as the duo’s album is available now both in stores and online. The album can likely be purchased at the Okee Dokee Brothers’ shows, including the group’s upcoming show in Carrboro on April 13th. Fans can get a full listing of the guys’ tour schedule on its official website, http://www.okeedokee.org and on its Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/okeedokeebros.
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