The Acoustic Dreamland series has proven so successful for the Putumayo label that this is the fifth release, and I'm sure it will hardly be the last. Yes, it's a drift-away collection of sleepy-bye ditties to ease young minds into lethean peace, perhaps even bliss, but the disc is equally efficacious in narcotizing the ministering adults, so children may well have to move over and share the fields of milk and honey with their progenitors. Thus, I'm appending a hazard alert to this review:
CAUTION! Putumayo Kids Presents: Acoustic Dreamland will most likely conflict with every adult listener's frantic hurtling lifestyle and induce healing lassitude, starry smiles, and rolling waves of mellifluity. You've been warned.
'Member the Allman Bros. hit Blue Sky? Betcha thought Greg, Duane, or Dickey Betts wrote it. Nope, it was Elizabeth Mitchell, and she offers an unreleased version in a markedly cloudier take here, still back-roadsy but much later in the day, late afternoon verging on evening, and very much like a James Taylor cover. Oops!, did I say 'James Taylor'? Well, William Fitzsimmons follows Mitchell with Taylor's You Can Close Your Eyes, breathy, pensive, gold-flecked with purpling horizons. Kesang Marstrand, however, is one of two women who have most fully captured the essence of lullaby with her In the Land of Dreams, high Bjork-ish voice similar to an older child's. The composition itself is an invitation to float off to storybookland, then Frances England presents an even younger version of Marstrand in Here With Me, a lyrical reassurance that treasured progeny are safe, secure, and cherished.
The purpose of a lullaby, after all, is to divert attention from the frequently rude real world and then to inculcate hopes, aspirations, and warmth. The directness of the singer and the artfulness of softening all the jagged edges is crucial, so the songs here are unencumbered by any too-muchness, instead sticking mainly in strummed guitars and vocals, though wafting violins and other understated symphonics gently sneak in every so often, strains of eternal and angelic pastorality. Rick Scott doubles that up in the closing cut, Next Time, featuring a chorus of backing vocals bedding the entire enterprise in the family-feeling so reassuring to a young heart at one of the most vulnerable times of the day.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2011, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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