Music Review: Spin Your Web by Mary Kaye

Spin Your Web is a children’s music CD filled with 13 original songs by Mary Kate, a singer-songwriter who hails from Maine. It has a real mix musical components that should appeal to both kids and adults.

Cover artwork of the Sping Your Web CD depicting four children standing in front of a colorful spider web.The music might best be described as world fusion. That’s a handy catch-all to describe independent music, artistry that doesn’t fit marketing labels.

Mary Kaye’s songs often remind me of folk-rock, but then she’ll zing something unusual such as a pop fiddle dance tune. Is there such a thing as pop fiddle?

The second track, "B.B. Dickinson," is reminiscent of reggae, but with a heavy horn section requiring some 16 musicians. While listening to this song I could imagine one of my daughter’s friends grooving out because his parents are devoted reggae fans.

That’s what sets Spin Your Web apart from most of the kid’s music we own. Mary Kaye’s melodies are mature, but with kid-oriented lyrics. Every mom and dad I know plays music from their pre-parent lives for their children — and the kids enjoy it. So if toddlers can handle sophisticated rhythms, why not give them kid-friendly lyrics too? B.B. Dickinson may have a reggae flavor, but the song is about a "super girl detective."

This has been my first exposure to Mary Kate. I’ll be honest. At first I wasn’t impressed. As with all the music we play in our house, I need to hear a tune several times before it grows on me.

What hooks me about Mary Kaye is her voice. The folk flavor of her songs may be biasing me, but she has a powerful, thoughtful voice. She’s not exactly singing ’60s protest songs, but I’ll be damned if she doesn’t make a spider spinning her web sound inspirational (and a bit educational too).

For pure entertainment value, the songs Pig Party, Let’s Get Dressed, Waiting and Soup have the quickest pace, making good dance music for my 27-month-old. And by "dance" I really mean jumping around, or holding someone’s hands and twirling feverishly in a circle. It’s a sort of fired up enthusiasm that just bursts out of her.

I have to count "Blueberry Dreams" as my favorite song, a beautiful little ditty about picking blueberries and plunking them into a pail. We have blueberry bushes in our backyard and go picking at a local organic farm a few times during the summer. If I were one to edit home movies of my daughter into little art films, Blueberry Dreams would be the soundtrack.

Two side-by-side photos of Little Miss picking blueberries on a farm.

[This CD was submitted for review by the musician.]

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