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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fern - Hopping Into Easter with Fern

Fern – Hopping Into Easter With Fern
2012, Fern’s Music/Fern Forest Enterprises
Fern is a musician, songwriter and educator who writes and plays songs for children ages 0 to 7.  Long recognized for the quality and energy in her songwriting, Fern’s work has been trumpeted by Boston radio stations WERS and USA Today.  Fern has six children’s albums under her belt, and entertains children all throughout New England.  Fern’s latest effort, Hopping Into Easter With Fern, brings the usual blend of sentimentality, intelligence and snappy songwriting that has characterized Fern’s recording career thus far.  Together with her sidekick, Charlie the six foot tall chipmunk, Fern enchants her listeners with a personable style and a sense of childish wonder. 
Fern kicks things off with a song about the Easter Bunny and how he gets all over the world on Easter Eve.  The speculative folk-country number lists through many of the travel options of the hallowed hare, ultimately settling on magic as the means.  At just under two minutes this is a light snack that kiddos will enjoy.  “Powder Puff Bunny” is a funny little tune that celebrates the multi-colored eggs the Easter Bunny leaves on Easter number.  It’s a catchy number that will have the pediatric set dancing about, and will likely drive parents bonkers by the third listen.  Fern digs into a jazzy version of “Peter Cottontail”, complete with finger snaps and some pretty snazzy piano work.
It’s off to the islands for “The Chocolate Bunny”, with Fern spinning the tale of one piece of Easter booty to a reggae beat.  Fern deconstructs her chocolate bunny right before our very ears, ending up with the inevitable tummy ache.  It’s a cute number that kids will appreciate.    “The Easter Duck’s Parade” has romper room cadence of the sort that has pervaded children’s albums for the last three or four decades.  The bouncy feel will keep little ones interested, and the real live duck sounds add some amusement.  “Little Peter Rabbit” goes for a repetitive build, repeating key phrases while exploring new actions for the song’s subject.  This one is aimed at the younger portion of Fern’s audience, and the older kids will be getting antsy before the song is half over. 
“Here Comes Spring” is done in classic folk song style with perhaps just a touch of Appalachian flavor.  The repetitive nature of the song may wear on some listeners, but from a folk song perspective this is fairly standard.  “Pretty Flowers – Just For You” is a sweet little children’s ballad, and is perfectly written for Fern’s audience.  There’s an air of lullaby here, and Fern’s builds in some great atmosphere in the dual piano/synthesizer arrangement.  “Eggbert, The Easter Egg” takes on a vaudevillian style in the arrangement, while sounding like the sort of cutesy novelty children’s tune that Dr. Demento might have played in his prime.  It’s a cute little number that sounds like it should accompany a Rankin & Rankin television special.  Fern closes out her celebration of Easter with “The Egg Hunt”, speculating on whether all the eggs have been found.  It’s a catchy closer that the kids will appreciate.
Fern, along with her friend Charlie the Chipmunk, gets her audience.  That’s a fact that’s very apparent on Hopping Into Easter with Fern.  She displays that enigmatic je ne said quoi that makes a local or regional children’s favorite what they are.  At the same time, Fern’s voice could be a tough sell, to a wider audience.  The personality and charisma that Fern displays on Hopping Into Easter With Fern is unmistakable, but her tone and pitch both have their rough spots, and vocal purists just won’t be able to last long here.  The kids will love the music, of course, and just like artists such as Raffi and Sharon, Lois and Bram before here, the songs will occasionally drive parents out of their minds.  But Fern is the real deal, and she survives and thrives among the toughest music connoisseurs for one reason – she’s real. There’s nothing fake or contrived here.  In this way, Fern finds her own moments of musical beauty.
Rating:  3.5 Stars (Out of 5)
Learn more about Fern at 

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