What A Zoo! Joanie Leeds and the Nightlights Review





BEST KIDS’ CDs of 2010:  Electric guitars and Leeds’ belting vocals make this rock-and-roll. You won’t be able to resist the urge to sing along pretending your hairbrush is a microphone. Most of the tunes provide you with a great way to free your inner rock star.”  The Washington Post

“Leeds has one of those big, beautiful rock ‘n roll sopranos that can go full-out or soft and tender, and she uses it to full effect.  Her tuneful melodies and rich, funny and thoughtful child-respecting lyrics give depth and irresistible zip to songs.” Lynne Heffley, 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award review of Joanie Leeds’ I’m a Rock Star

NEW YORK (Jan. 31, 2011) – Building on the momentum of her 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award-winning album, I’m a Rock Star, independent children’s musician Joanie Leeds brings her attention to the animal kingdom with the April 12 release of her new kids’ CD, What a Zoo! (Limbostar, $15.00, for ages 2 – 9, run time 37 minutes).  Joining Joanie and her band, The Nightlights, is the critically acclaimed “hip hop for kids” musician, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.

Gifted with a soulful, “rock solid” voice and an instinctive knack for capturing the essence of any style she goes for, Joanie Leeds has delivered, with each new release, music that speaks to kids in a friendly, non-patronizing way and is imbued with artistic values that thrill admiring adults.  Her presentation is notable for its child-appropriate clarity, yet vocally Joanie soars easily through a remarkable array of styles with such an enviable power and dexterity that it’s easy to forget her intended audience is under age 10.  Joanie truly rocks!  Time Out New York Kids enthused about I’m a Rock Star, “The title track – with its hint of mid-career Alanis Morissette – is a terrific jam, while the rocking-chair anthem ‘Give Me a Hug’ is a tender, parent-pleasing tune … if she can win over my discerning kid, then Joanie Leeds is indeed a rock star.”

What a Zoo! presents ten rockin’ Joanie Leeds originals and four covers, each with its own distinctive personality that salutes every child’s fascination with our animal friends.  The lyrics are thought provoking and packed with educational value. “My Butterfly” explores metamorphosis, “Sea Cow” and “Big Blue Whale” focus on endangered species, and the delightful, two beat novelty song “Tofurky” emphasizes responsible eating.  Other songs are just plain fun.  “Happy As A Clam” wends its way through the many animal-isms that pop up in our daily conversations, while the classic “Pony Boy” provides a sweet country touch.  A brilliantly eclectic presentation of the beloved children’s folk ballad “Froggie Went a’ Courtin’“ updates Joanie’s authentic swing phrasing to include a super hip appearance by guest rapper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. While the album is light-hearted, Joanie’s cover of the Phish song “Possum” does let kids know what happens when you don’t look both ways when crossing the street, And “Mosquitoes” is unapologetic about squashing those little bloodsuckers!  What a Zoo! offers a perfect setting for Joanie’s vocal virtuosity.  Its sophisticated humor is rooted in real life experiences and guaranteed never to wear thin with the repeated listenings this CD is bound to get.

What a Zoo! will be available online at www.citykidmusic.com,  amazon.com, cdbaby.com, and at specialty toy and bookstores across the country.


I’ve been on a good music kick lately.  I recently discovered the musical talents of Jamie Broza, Billy Kelly, and now Joanie Leeds. Finally a girl!  I almost always prefer women musicians.  Okay I like Jack Johnson, Iron & Wine, and Coldplay and a few more male lead singers, but by and large I usually prefer women.  It must be a kinship kind of thing:) I read a review of Joanie Leeds before I listened to  her music and the review mentioned that she has a voice similar to Alanis Morissette.  Back in the day I was a big Alanis Morissette fan.  I guess I’m still an Alanis Morissette fan, but she isn’t making music these days she is busy being a mom herself.  Anyway,  I was skeptical that being compared to Alanis Morissette was an accurate comparison.  But as I was busy cooking supper one night and listening to this album I immediately heard a familiarity in her voice.  The voice and tone- I had heard something like it before!  It seemed like Alanis Morissette.  Call it the power of suggestion, but I DO think there is a similarity in their voices.

I caught my eldest son studying the lyrics again.  If I have a new album playing he has a strong desire to hear every word.  Therefore he stands very intently near the CD player so that he can hear EVERY word.  Don’t think about interrupting him.  Here he is staring at the CD player almost as if he could read the lyrics from it.  The best word for my eldest is intense.  I think you see why:)

We found What A Zoo!  to be a great CD.  All the Animals, Mosquitoes, Froggie Went A Courtin’, and Big Blue Whale are my personal favorites.  Mosquitoes is a perfect song for my family in the summer as we live in Minnesota and the mosquitoes can be vicious here.  I love the part in the song where she says ‘they need a good old-fashioned smack down”.  That really is the only thing you can do with a mosquito.  I can see my family singing this song as we swat our own mosquitoes this summer.  Joanie’s version of Froggie Went A Courtin’ really shows off her pipes.  I believe I had heard this song before, but her take on this classic is memorable.  And I love Secret Agent 23 Skidoo’s small part in the song.  It definitely adds a modern twist that is very catchy.

If you are looking for new modern family friendly music I recommend Joanie Leeds and the Nighlights’ What A Zoo! You can pre-order a copy here.

I received this CD to review, however all opinions are my own.

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