Billy Kelly’s The Family Garden Review




“… An endearingly oddball sense of humor.” – NPR, All Things Considered

“Totally winning in its goofiness … there are going to be some families who absolutely love love love this disk.” – Zooglobble

“A 1-2-3 punch of catchy tunes, witty lyrics, and songs that are fun for the whole family … This one easily lands on the list of best kids’ music of 2009.”,Children’s Music

“Imagine if Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld wrote lyrics for all-ages music played by an acoustic Weezer.  I cannot recall a funnier, more intelligently conceived debut family record.”  – Out With The Kids

Lewisburg, PA (Jan. 31, 2011) – With jaunty aplomb, independent recording artist Billy Kelly announces the April 5 release of his third family album, The Family Garden (YAY Music, $12.00, run time 37 minutes, for ages 2 and up).  Says Billy, “If, from a production standpoint, my last disc was a topiary garden then this one is (as the name suggests) the family garden.  It’s loose, it’s a hodgepodge, it’s friendly, comfortable, and just about anything goes. And man, those tomatoes are gonna be delicious.”

The Family Garden leaps spryly from country to ragtime to rock.  The music is peppy and fun, featuring songs for all age groups, from the interactive “I’m Thinking of an Animal” for the preschool set to a tune for older kids titled “It’s Close Enough,” which pays tribute to all things ALMOST perfect. Parents will dig Billy’s cover of the B-52s’ classic “Rock Lobster” — high-spirited rock and roll played with wild abandon.  Molly Ledford from the band Lunch Money co-wrote and joins Billy in singing the sweetly sincere “We Could Be Pen Pals.”  There’s even a patriotic country song written for Billy’s dad. “That Old American Flag” is based on the true story of a father-and-son project, erecting a 25-foot flagpole outside Billy’s childhood home. Other highlights include “Coney Island Washboard (a ragtime tune dating back to the 1920s), “It’s a Wonderful Life” (a tribute to Billy’s favorite movie), and the album’s title track, an ode to the joys of digging in the dirt with the whole family. Particularly noteworthy is “The Invention of the Straw,” which Billy describes as “a real up-tempo number, chronicling the amazing, albeit factually inaccurate, story of the invention of the drinking straw. This is a truly strange song, even for me. It’s loaded with completely false information from beginning to end. This song asserts, among other things, that Nancy Reagan was Queen of England in 1997. Also, it has a good beat and you can dance to it.”

On January 1st, 2009  Billy Kelly made a New Year’s resolution to record a CD of some of the songs he had written over the years for his two daughters. A few months later Thank You For Joining The Happy Club was released.  Much to Billy’s delight, the album was rapidly embraced by kids’ music bloggers, kids’ music radio programs, and, most importantly, by kids!


February 19 – Symphony Space, NYC
February 20 – Café Nola, Frederick, MD
March 5 – Pittsburgh Children’s Museum, Pittsburgh, PA
March 26 – Coolidge Corner Theatre, Brookline, MA
May 14 – World Café Live, Philadelphia, PA
May 22 – 92YTribeca, NYC

The Family Garden equals family fun.  I found Billy Kelly’s music to be very catchy.  Actually as I write this review I have,  The Family Garden song singing in my head.  I’m so amazed by all the wonderful children’s music available these days.  I don’t remember listening to kids music when I was young.  I’m pretty confident that there were not nearly as many musicians then as there is now.  Boy, kids this generation just have so many more options!

The Family Garden is a children’s album that isn’t just for children.  The lyrics and music are definitely designed for the whole family.  I really dislike kids albums that have high pitched annoying voices and luckily Billy Kelly sings like a normal human being.  I especially like songs- The Family Garden, I’m Thinking of an Animal, and Why Is The Moon Following Me?, and Scootdootdoodlydoo.

Here is my three year old dancing to the music.  He was really dancing well until I brought out the video camera.  He is a little shy in the beginning, but eventually starts to feel the music again.

I love the fact that this album is upbeat.  This is the kind of music I like to listen to with  my kids while I”m making supper and they are playing Play-doh at the table.  I can easily bop around the kitchen and cut up veggies to the beat and sometimes even break into a group dance party.  After I write this review I’m uploading this CD to my Ipod.

I received a copy of The Family Garden to review, however all opinions are my own!

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