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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Glenn Colton - Songs, Smiles & Surprises

Glenn Colton - Songs, Smiles & Surprises
2005/2009, Glenn Colton

Songs, Smiles & Surprises isn't Glenn Colton's greatest hits package, but it certainly comes close. Mr. Ducky Wucky makes an appearance in "Mr. Ducky Wucky's Vacation", and fan favorites such as "Another Brand New Day", "Conga Line Fever", and "Everybody Needs A Hug" are in abundance. Colton also tackles some classic children's songs along the way ("I've Been Working On The Railroad", "Michael Row The Boat Ashore") while continuing to help children relate to the world around them. "Building Bridges" is all about finding ways to overcome the differences between people and learning to live together; a positive life lesson in a comfortable arrangement that the whole family will enjoy.

"The Truth" is a song that teaches about appropriate choices with a little story that shows how the truth can deflate potential conflict. It's a cute setup that places the issue in accessible terms for children but will also be entertaining for the children-at-heart in the audience. "The Three R's" addresses respect, responsibility and really good manners in a fun arrangement that's danceable and very accessible to young listeners. "Down On Grampa's Farm" matches animal names with their sounds in entertaining fashion, while "Welcome To The Show" plays with different musical styles in a number guaranteed to get little (and big) feet moving. As an extra treat, Colton includes two songs here that might a bit more adult oriented. "The Man From Ketchikan" is the heartwarming story of a small-town Alaskan man and the kindness he extended to a stranger while sharing his personal history and that of his town. The song serves as a reminder that small sometimes have the greatest impact. "The Man From Ketchikan" also illustrates that Colton can write serious songs that dwell beyond the realm of children's music. Colton reinforces this knowledge with "Coventry City", the story of a young man who returns home to find that things have changed, and not for the better.

Songs, Smiles & Surprises is vintage Glenn Colton, at his most congenial best across the eighteen songs presented here. The simplicity of arrangement on his songs written for children can't be mistaken for a lack of depth. In fact it is much harder to know when simplicity should reign in music than it is to go all out with each song. Glenn Colton displays both the melodic deftness and quiet confidence in arrangement that marks a great artist. The reactions of kids to his music is proof positive of his ability to convey a message to his audience, and the reactions of the adults in the audience will convince you that this multi-talented performer is doing exactly what he was meant to do: Making the world a brighter place.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Glenn Colton at, Smiles & Suprises is available from multiple sources:  Amazon: CD, Amazon: MP3, CDBaby and iTunes

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