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There are many factors that go into account for longevity – consistency, material, and audience retention being the most important. The last one is key, especially for children’s musicians, who cycle through a listener base every 3-5 years. For a truly transcendent few, the first two elements have made the third a non-factor. Included on that short list is Laurie Berkner, the Queen of Children’s Music.
In her second decade as one of the industry’s gold standards, The Laurie Berkner Band has returned with its 13th release, Waiting For the Elevator. A frequent subject in kid’s music is impatience, and the title track addresses it with tact and humor. “A Dollar” delivers a simple math message, “Did You Go To Ohio?” explores road trips, and “Do You Hear The Bells?” is a delightful real-life story with guest vocals by Broadway lead Gavin Creel (Waitress, Hair!, Hello Dolly):
I can hear the bells out my window
I can hear the way that they sing
And every time they chime
I can tell the time
I just count how many times they ring.
One size doesn’t fit everyone anymore. A 50-minute album of acoustic guitar tunes doesn’t remain in rotation very long. With that in mind, Laurie and company use rap, funk, acoustic, and sweet harmonies to make their points while keeping primary focus on entertainment. Family time is covered, with “I Love You Daddy” followed swiftly by “A hug From My Mama.” Kids being proud of learning is the subject of “I Know How That Works.” Laurie explains how to deal with negative emotions in a positive way on “I Am Angry (Yes I Am).” And the CD closes with a Spanish version of one of her most popular songs, “Somos Los Dinosaurios.”
Laurie and veteran keyboard player Susie Lampert comprise the heart of the Berkner Band. Drummer Bobby Golden and bassist Brady Rymer (oh yeah, him!) ably complete the quartet, which looks to continue their genial domination of children’s hearts and minds leading into 2020. For all she’s accomplished with her past recordings, Waiting For the Elevator proves to be lucky number 13 for Laurie Berkner.
Here is a recent “Fan-Tastic Friday” video post of Laurie singing “Googleheads”: