Laurie Berkner Debuts Her Take On Hanukkah Standard

Courtesy: Two Tomatoes Records

Family music entertainer Laurie Berkner is doing her part to help the Jewish community celebrate Hanukkah this year.

Berkner debuted her take on the traditional Hanukkah song, ‘Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel‘ Friday. Her version of the traditional Jewish standard stays true to the song’s roots. The main differences between her rendition and others is that she omits certain lines, shortening the song in this case, and of course the instrumentation.

The instrumentation in this case is more keyboard-driven, while other renditions are presented in various other fashions. There are renditions that are presented in semi-folk fashion, others that are more rock oriented, and others still that are presented in in a near Dixieland style (believe it or not).

More information on Berkner’s new take on ‘Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel’ are available along with all of her latest news at:




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Laurie Berkner Cements Her Place In The Family Music Community Again On Her Latest LP

Courtesy: Two Tomatoes RecordsWaldmania PR

Veteran family music entertainer Laurie Berkner has made quite the successful career for herself over the years, producing so much music for listeners of all ages.  Her music has made her one of the most respected figures in the world of family music.  Let’s Go!, her latest album — scheduled for release Friday through Two Tomatoes Records – continues to cement her reputation and her place in the family music community.  That is proven in part through the record’s musical arrangements.  They will be addressed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the record’s musical arrangements also plays into the album’s appeal.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements.  It will be discussed later, too.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of Let’s Go! All things considered, they make the album another successful offering from Laurie Berkner.

Laurie Berkner’s latest album Let’s Go! – her 14th album – is proof of why she remains one of the most respected figures in the family music community today.  That is proven in part through the album’s featured musical arrangements.  The arrangements – 16 in all – continue to offer audiences the familiar blend of kindie pop and pre-school style arrangements for which she has come to be known throughout her career.  Building on that is the fact that the sounds within the arrangements consistently give audiences something different from one to the next.  This will be addressed a little more later in the discussion on the album’s sequencing.  Adding to the appeal even more in noting the arrangements is that they are generally relatively short in their presentation.  The shortest of the featured arrangements clocks in at only 39 seconds, while the longest comes in at three minutes, 23 seconds.  In other words, not only are the album’s musical arrangements familiar in their stylistic approach, but they are also varied in their sounds and anything but long.  Those relatively easy run times ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment in their own way, ensuring even more appreciation for the noted stylistic approaches and sounds.   Keeping all of this in mind, the musical arrangements that are featured in Let’s Go! go a long way toward making this new offering from Laurie  Berkner worth hearing.  They make up only a portion of what audiences will appreciate from this recording.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements adds to the record’s appeal even more.

The lyrical content that accompanies the musical arrangements in Let’s Go! are important to examine because as Berkner noted during a recent interview, she crafted this record during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and was very careful about the record’s lyrical themes.  She was even tentative about releasing the album’s title track as a single, noting, “A pandemic is a strange and challenging time to make and release a new album.  What’s really important? What’s going to change completely by tomorrow? I didn’t expect a song about handwashing to end up on this album, or a song about wearing a mask, and I waited to release the title track until after we were no longer under strict stay-at-home orders because … well, where were we going to GO?”  That tentative nature paid off.  Yes, there is a pair of songs here that are related to the pandemic – ‘The Superhero Handwashing Song’ and ‘The Superhero Mask Song’ – but by and large, the lyrical themes are more everyday and in turn accessible.  As the title hints, the album’s title track/opener is a work that reflects a child’s desire to just get out and get active.  The song’s’ subject goes so far as to state that he/she is “at the door” before asking, “Where are you?/I’m ready/Let’s go/I can’t wait/How much longer will it take?”  Every parent can relate to this situation, the child just so excited to get out and go on whatever outing may be taking place.  It can be annoying, yes, but is also so endearing.  No parent can deny that feeling of joy that a child’s excitement generates in themselves. 

On a completely different note, ‘It’s Hard To Be 3’ will connect with younger listeners.  The song comes from the vantage point of a 3 year-old.  The child states here that for everything he/she says, the grown-ups say the exact opposite, adding, “If I say dog/they say cat/If I say this/They say that/If I say yes/They say no/If I want to stop/They want me to go/So I’ll say something I’m sure I know/It’s hard to be three.”  This statement seems minimal on the surface, but in the bigger picture, it is important because it reminds grown-ups of what is so easy to forget – they need to take the time to try to communicate with their children and empathize with their struggle as they develop.  It really serves as a wonderful starting point on those all-too-important discussions with parents about parental psychology and family dynamics.  To that end, it is another key way in which the album’s lyrical content proves so important to its whole. 

‘Beautiful Light’ is yet another key way in which this record’s lyrical content proves so important to the album’s presentation.  This song is a simple yet so moving song that promotes self-confidence in children.  Those reminders are just as important for children, if not more so, as for adults.  Berkner reminds children they are “beautiful lights” and that they “shine so brightly.”   The young person here reminds himself/herself, in relation,  “I’ll make my  beautiful way this world/I have a beautiful heart just like you/A heart that’s beating and connecting/A heart that knows what’s true/A heart that laughs/A heart that lives/A heart that loves/A heart that gives/I have a beautiful heart just like you.”  All of this collective content is sure to put a smile on any child’s (and grown-up’s) face.  Anyone who is not touched by this song is either just cold or not human, and as of yet, beings from other worlds have not been proven to exist here on Earth.  It is certain overall to motivate and move any listener.  What’s more it shows even more, the diversity in the album’s lyrical content and the accessibility thereof.  Keeping that in mind, this song works with the others noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical themes to show the importance of the album’s lyrical content.  The lyrical content, together with the record’s musical arrangements, join to point to one more of the album’s important elements, its sequencing.

The sequencing of Let’s Go! is important to note because it brings together everything already examined and completes the record’s presentation.  It has already been noted that in regards to the record’s musical arrangements, each song gives listeners something different.  The drums, bass, and guitars in the album’s opener will get children moving.  At the same time, older audiences will agree that they join to make a sound that is comparable to the Strangeloves’ timeless hit single, ‘I Want Candy.’  The rhythm from the timbales and the guitar riff is undeniably similar to Berkner’s song here.  ‘When It’s Cold,’ which immediately follows, changes things with a lighter, piano-driven work.  The bluesy approach and sound here immediately changes things up.  Ironically, it has its own classic rock-style sound and approach here.  Meanwhile, a song, such as ‘I Saw a Butterfly’ changes things again, this time presenting more of a neo-folk approach.  That inference is made through the use of the fiddle, mandolin and guitar alongside Berker’s vocals.  It’s yet another way in which the sequencing of the album’s musical arrangement proves so important.  That aspect of the sequencing shows that Berker, Producer Dave Darlington, and all others involved clearly thought about spreading out the stylistic approaches to ensure listeners’ engagement and entertainment even more.  It is hardly the last way in which the sequencing of the arrangements prove important.  ‘Jumping Jack’ accounts for the noted kindie pop sound previously noted that the record exhibits.  ‘Happy New Year,’ which comes late in the album’s run, presents an infectious, funky, Latin-tinged sound and stylistic approach.  Once more, here is proof of the time and thought put into the record’s sequencing at least in the matter of the album’s musical arrangements.  It ensures the diversity in the record’s musical arrangements does its own part to keep listeners engaged and entertained.

Staying on the topic of the musical arrangements, the sequencing of the arrangements also plays into the sequencing in terms of the arrangements’ energies.  The energies in the album’s plays directly into the album’s pacing.  As already noted, the album is composed of 16 songs that run a total of 33 minutes.  In other words, the record is actually a relatively short presentation.  Even in that relatively short run time, the album’s energies are well-balanced, rising and falling in all of the right points.  This strengthens the role of the album’s sequencing that much more.

The sequencing’s importance is proven one last time in examining the album’s lyrical themes.  Right from the outset, the album takes on a child’s building energy as he/she gets more excited about going out on a family adventure.  From there, the album presents a song about a child just being cold (not in the heart strings fashion, but just the reaction to winter), and then to a child’s excitement at trying to decide what to be for Halloween.  That is just the first three of the album’s songs.  From there, the album turns to the COVID-19 pandemic, but only for the moment, before turning to the fascination of simply seeing a butterfly fluttering along and then to the excitement of going on vacation.  From that point on, the lyrical themes change just as much from one to the next right to the album’s end.  Simply put, audiences will note here that just as much thought was put into the album’s sequencing in regards to its lyrical themes as to its energies and musical diversity.  All things considered, the sequencing of Let’s Go! does just as much if not more than the album’s content to make it appealing.  It puts the finishing touch to the album, bringing everything together to complete the album.  When all things are considered wholly here, the album in whole leaves no doubt as to its success.

Laurie Berkner’s latest album Let’s Go! is another strong new offering from the veteran family music entertainer.  It offers much for listeners to appreciate, not the least of which is its diverse musical content.  The album’s featured musical arrangements present Berkner’s familiar blend of kindie pop and pre-school stylistic approaches, while clearly also showing other influences.  That means that they will appeal just as much to grown-ups as to children.  The lyrical themes that flesh out the album are just as diverse as the album’s musical arrangements.  They speak to and for children in so many ways.  The album’s sequencing puts the finishing touch to its presentation as it brings everything together, completing the record’s presentation.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the whole of the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they make the album unquestionably one more of the album’s best new family music offerings.  Let’s Go! is scheduled for release Friday through Two Tomatoes Records.

More information on Berkner’s new album is available along with all of her latest news at:




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Laurie Berkner Band’s New Hits Compilation Will Be A Hit In Any Pre-School Setting

Courtesy:  Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie

Courtesy: Two Tomatoes Records/Razor & Tie

The Laurie Berkner Band released its latest hits compilation The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection this month.  The compilation of songs is not the first hits collection released by Berkner and her band mates.  However, it is still an enjoyable collection in its own right.  This is especially the case for any early childhood educator, as audiences will learn in listening to the compilation.  It is loaded with songs that are a good fit for any pre-school setting.  One of the best of those songs is ‘My Energy.’  This is a great song as educators can use it to get kids moving and get out their energy.  ‘Mahalo’ is another good addition to this collection of songs.  That is because it proves to be a multi-purpose song.  That will be discussed at more length later.  Perhaps most interesting of all the songs in this collection, is the inclusion of the standard ‘The Cat Came Back.’  That, too will be discussed at a later point.  It is a good addition to this collection, regardless.  And it isn’t the only positive addition to the record in whole, either.  ‘Drive My Car’ harkens back to another standard.  And the record’s opener ‘Walk Along The River’ is a wonderful celebration of one of childhood’s joys much like ‘Running Down The Hill.’  These are each positive additions to The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection as are the compilation’s other tracks in their own right.  Altogether, the songs culled together for this record prove why it is a welcome addition to any pre-school classroom.

The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band is a welcome addition to any pre-school classroom setting.  The reason being the songs culled for the compilation mix together catchy, simple tunes with lyrics that teach equally simple lessons.  The end result of that combination is a grouping of songs that proves to be a useful teaching tool for any early childhood educator.  One song that proves this is the up-tempo ‘My Energy.’  This song is a great tool in itself for said teachers.  Berkner sings more with her young listeners than to them about having so much energy.  Interestingly enough, the song’s musical style contradicts its title and its lyrics.  That’s not to say that it doesn’t possess any energy.  Rather, its energy is not as frenetic as one might think.  That aside it will still have young listeners singing and dancing along.  So to that extent, it still proves to be a good addition to this compilation in its own right.

‘My Energy’ is a good addition to The Laurie Berkner Band’s new hits compilation.  It serves as a good tool for pre-k teachers looking for a way to get kids active in the classroom whether in sun, rain or other inclimate weather.  It helps get kids’ energy out while also entertaining them at the same time.  That dual use makes it one of the record’s best pieces.  Staying on that same thought pattern, ‘Mahalo’ is another great addition to this compilation as it too proves to be a dual-use song.  On one side, the song introduces young listeners to a whole new culture through the use of traditional Hawaiian music and instrumentation, and the most basic of Hawaiian language.  On the other, Berkner and her band mates give teachers a way to start a lesson on manners having crafted a song here that centers on the words “thank you.”  That in itself could lead to discussions with young children about being grateful for what they have.  The song comes in at just over two minutes.  For such a short song to have so many purposes makes it even more worth the listen, and even more valuable an addition to this latest hits compilation from Berkner and her band mates.

The songs that make up The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band’s new hits compilation each possess the ability to both educate and entertain young listeners in a variety of ways.  That is evidenced in the previously noted songs.  While many of the songs on this compilation offer a good balance of education and entertainment, there are those pieces that are strictly there for entertainment.  They add their own layer of enjoyment, too.  One of the most interesting of those songs is Berkner’s rendition of the children’s standard ‘The Cat Came Back.’  The song is rooted in Harry S. Miller’s 1893 song by the same name.  Since its first publication over a hundred and twenty years ago, the song has seen its lyrics change multiple times as it has been passed down from one generation to the next.  The rendition handled by Berkner and her band mates here is just as entertaining as any other rendition.  Unlike the original in which the cat died, Berkner is content having the cat survive a train wreck and come back once more.  The train element is a constant in many of the song’s variations.  However its use within the context of the song has varied within each of the song’s variations.  Adam Bernstein’s walking bass line drives the whole thing, making it all the more enjoyable and one of the compilation’s best moments, too.  It proves to be one more reason for any early childhood educator to add this record to their daily lessons.

‘The Cat Came Back,’ ‘My Energy,’ and ‘Mahalo’ are each excellent examples of why The Ultimate Laurie Berkner Band Collection is a welcome addition to any pre-k classroom.  They are just a few examples of what makes this album so enjoyable for young listeners and teachers alike.  Listeners will also enjoy ‘Drive My Car’ as it harkens back to another standard in the form of ‘Bear Hunt’ with its use of sound effects and acting out behaviors.  ‘Walk Along The River’ and ‘Running Down The Hill’ both celebrate the joys of childhood in their own ways.  They, too will entertain young listeners as well as older audiences.  The same can be said of any of the compilation’s twenty-plus songs that haven’t been noted here.  Collectively, the songs on this record will impress any listener whether they are familiar with Berkner’s previous work or not.  The record is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct from Berkner’s website at  Fans can also check out her official website for all of her latest news and tour schedule updates.  They can also keep up with the latest from Berkner and her band mates via Facebook at To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at