Soothing tunes for the road

La Bella Stella from the Celebrate Earth music series Is your family one of those that tends to leave on road trips early in the morning? Or maybe you are the opposite – you like to hit the road when the sun goes down and drive through the night. Either way, if you’re like me you prefer some quiet-yet-catchy tunes for those times when you want the children just to sit back and relax in the car – maybe – gasp! – even going to sleep. If that’s the case then I’ve got a new recommendation for you: La Bella Stella. We’ve road tested this album on several long trips and it seems to invite the kind of quiet listening that makes for stretches of road trip bliss.

Why do I love these songs? There are several reasons. One is that they have a lot of information in them, and it’s the kind of information my kids love. For example, the eminently sing-able “Galaxy Song” by Andy Z describes the entire solar system and galaxy, the Earth’s position in both, and what it means that we rotate the sun. “Pluto” by Rocknoceros tells the sad story of how this former planet “lacks the girth” to keep its status in our solar system. “Gravity” by AudraRox explains why we don’t “float up into the clouds”.

Second is the varied nature of the songs. From the spoony, croony sound of “I Love the Dark” by Tom Knight to the jazzy, strummy “Nocturnal” there’s lots of variety here. There are a number of truly pretty songs on this album including “Shadow” by Mary Kaye, whose voice reminds me of Natalie Merchant and who sings beautifully about the frustration of trying to hug her shadow. The acoustic harmony of “So Long to the Day” by Charity and the JAMBand might just be so soothing that you put it on repeat for the duration of your drive. And I’m pretty sure that if my boys were younger when this album was released, the gorgeous “Neptune Lullaby” by Steve Hennessy would have made it into our regular bedtime playlist.

Finally, there’s a song about baby animals, which in my family is automatically going to shoot to number one on the charts. Although Teddy no longer pretends that he is a baby chick or a baby purple elephant (sigh) he does love anything to do with babies of any variety. “Safe at Home” is a simple counting tune about the different baby animals going home to bed, the kind that kids love. And yes, number six is baby chicks “to the coop they have gone.”

La Bella Stella is part of the Celebrate Earth series from Recess Music; for something a bit more rowdy I also recommend Wild Child, which celebrates animals. Be warned though – you’ll definitely find yourself singing the tunes on that album every time you visit the zoo if our trip last weekend to see the cheetahs and giraffes is any indication.

Note too, that when you buy these CDs (or the others from the Celebrate Earth series) part of the proceeds go to an appropriately themed charity. In the case of La Bella Stella it’s the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center, which educates about astronomy, aviation, and the Earth. So you can do good for your own family and for others.

I received a free review copy of this CD, but was under no obligation to write about it. The opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.

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