It’s been a while since I’ve suggested new kindie music here. But like those persistent tulips that insist on trying to bust through the ground despite the inches of snow still littering my landscaping, I’m resurfacing from my winter fog and getting back in to the swing of things!
Today I’m talking about a new album that was released March 10th from the GRAMMY award-winning duo of Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. Dancin’ In The Kitchen is their 44th album. Let that number sink in a bit. 44 albums. Pretty amazing.
Fink and Marxer say they took inspiration for their latest release by Marlo Thomas’ Free To Be…A Family, and Dancin’ In The Kitchen extends the idea of inclusiveness and diversity to a new generation of listeners. Both of these albums should be included in any family’s music library.
Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer have called upon a great range of guest stars to create an album full of variety in tone, instrumentation and messages. The title track “Dancin’ In The Kitchen” starts off the album with a celebration of family life, aided by The Savoy Family Cajun Band who provide a fun zydeco feel. They also collaborate on the track “Home,” incorporating the mandolin, fiddle, accordion and other instruments to produce a dreamy waltz that’s as comforting as your favorite blanket. “From Scratch” was written by Justin Roberts, recalling fond memories of baking with a loved one and the strong bond that activity creates.
A focus on what family means and can look like are prominent themes throughout the album. “Family Song”, a toe tapping, sing-along written by Uncle Ruthie Buell and sung by The Canote Twins, celebrates the diversity of what defines family. “I Belong to a Family” reiterates that while not all families look the same, the foundation of love and belonging is constant.
“Soccer Shoes” is about a kid whose parents are divorced with joint custody, and the solutions parents make to ease the transition and make kids feel care for and loved. John McCuthcheon’s “Happy Adoption Day” celebrates the journey a family makes through the road of adoption.
“Howdy Little Newlycome / Ceildh House Polka” is probably my favorite track on the album, though I do have a soft spot in my heart for Irish folk music. Cathy Fink received permission to use the poem written by Woody Guthrie (which welcomes a new baby in to the family), but puts in Irish spin on it with the help of the band Cherish the Ladies.
Also appearing on the album is “Everything Possible”, a lovely lullaby about a parent’s undying and unconditional love for their children, written by Fred Small, originally appearing on Fink and Marxer’s 1992 album Nobody Else Like Me: Celebrating the Diversity of Children. It received some controversy as a family song because of reference to gay and lesbian families, and Cathy writes about this experience and the decision to re-record this song recently in an article on The Huffington Post.
Storytelling is featured on this album on tracks like “Dinnertime,” told by Kim Harris, about the individual phrases and noises that folks in a large family make to be heard at dinner time. “Who’s In Charge of Naming the Colors?” by storyteller Andy Offuitt Irwin is a poignant essay from the point of view of a child in a mixed race family who questions why colors are named the way they are, especially skin tones.
Other songs included in the album are the math-driven “Birthday Pup” (which sounds like a distant relative of the Chicken Dance); the complex family tree of “I’m My Own Grandpa” with Ryders in the Sky; “Twins”, with another appearance by The Canote Twins; and “Dancin’ in the Kitchen Reprise”, a faster, instrumental faster first of the first song, bookending the album with a sense of joy.
However, I’m also giving away a copy here on the blog to one lucky reader! All you have to do is enter the Rafflecopter widget below by 11:59pm on Friday, March 20th. Open to anyone 18 and over in the contiguous United States.
Good luck, and I hope you enjoy this album with your own family, no matter how it’s defined!
Disclosures: I was provided a copy of these products for review purposes. All opinions are 100% completely my own. Full Of It is a participant in the iTunes Affiliate Program. If you click on some of the product links above, I will receive a small commission which in turn helps run this site. Don’t fear, I only recommend tunes that I think you’ll love!