18 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Repetition, repetition, repetition: it’s the cardinal rule of kids’ music, and the first one Dan Zanes lines up to break on this wide-ranging, musically adventurous album of spirituals, Zulu chants, sea shanties and shaggy-dog folk-rock. But then the former Del Fuegos frontman doesn’t make “kids’ music”, exactly; he makes “age-desegregated” music—meant for entire families, who don’t necessarily need to hear songs about ex-girlfriends and bars, on the one hand, or dinosaurs and fruit salads, on the other. Some of the musical pairings here are so unlikely as to be pure genius: the Kronos Quartet meets Leadbelly on “Grey Goose” while Nick Cave sounds positively cuddly on “Sweet Rosyanne”. Elsewhere, the Blind Boys of Alabama provide harmonies on the rousing gospel spiritual “Welcome Table” (nicely updated here with lyrics about the American civil rights movement) and Natalie Merchant guests on the lovely, lilting “Loch Lomond”. There are familiar voices from past Zanes albums, too, like Barbara Brousal’s vocals on the Spanish-language “Mariposa Olé” or Father Goose’s rowdy dancehall rhymes on “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” and “Pata Pata”. Cosmopolitan and rootsy at the same time, Catch That Train! doesn’t talk down to kids, because it’s not really talking to them at all—just making great music and hopefully inspiring families to cook up some of their own.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Repetition, repetition, repetition: it’s the cardinal rule of kids’ music, and the first one Dan Zanes lines up to break on this wide-ranging, musically adventurous album of spirituals, Zulu chants, sea shanties and shaggy-dog folk-rock. But then the former Del Fuegos frontman doesn’t make “kids’ music”, exactly; he makes “age-desegregated” music—meant for entire families, who don’t necessarily need to hear songs about ex-girlfriends and bars, on the one hand, or dinosaurs and fruit salads, on the other. Some of the musical pairings here are so unlikely as to be pure genius: the Kronos Quartet meets Leadbelly on “Grey Goose” while Nick Cave sounds positively cuddly on “Sweet Rosyanne”. Elsewhere, the Blind Boys of Alabama provide harmonies on the rousing gospel spiritual “Welcome Table” (nicely updated here with lyrics about the American civil rights movement) and Natalie Merchant guests on the lovely, lilting “Loch Lomond”. There are familiar voices from past Zanes albums, too, like Barbara Brousal’s vocals on the Spanish-language “Mariposa Olé” or Father Goose’s rowdy dancehall rhymes on “Choo Choo Ch’Boogie” and “Pata Pata”. Cosmopolitan and rootsy at the same time, Catch That Train! doesn’t talk down to kids, because it’s not really talking to them at all—just making great music and hopefully inspiring families to cook up some of their own.

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