"Tumble Bee" by Laura Veirs

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Tumble Bee, the first children’s record from the prolific Laura Veirs (whose last release, July Flame, was dubbed “a perfect Sunday afternoon record” by The Oxford American and “sweet and irresistible” by Rolling Stone) inspires listeners to lean in close and hit replay. The youthful innocence in Veirs’ voice lends itself well to the jaunty spirit of the album. The recording covers a wide range of folk songs, from early 20th century work songs to the ballads of Jimmie Rodgers, Woody Guthrie, Peggy Seeger and Harry Belafonte.

Veirs and renowned record producer Tucker Martine, her long-time collaborator on seven of her eight records, have created a piece of art that is sure to appeal to children as well as adult fans of Veirs’ previous work. The album features guest appearances by Colin Meloy (Decemberists), Jim James (My Morning Jacket), Bela Fleck and Brian Blade (drummer for Bob Dylan) among many others. As Smithsonian Folkways recording artist Elizabeth Mitchell says, “This is a luminous, smart, essential and truly extraordinary album.”

Inspired by the birth of her son and by countless fans who’ve told her over the years how much their kids love her records, Veirs became curious about the history of American children’s music. She and Martine listened to hundreds of songs from the past several centuries, including Harry Smith’s famous Anthology of American Folk Music. They selected what Veirs calls, “a sampling that reflects our richness as a people.” Tumble Bee was recorded at home in the spring of 2011.

“Many of these songs have been forgotten throughout the years,” says Martine. “We wanted to bring these beloved songs to a new generation with an instrumentation that both honors their traditions and creates something unique.”

A joyous testament to this collective history, Tumble Bee embodies both the uplifting and fearful moments of childhood. Much more than simply a record for children, Tumble Bee defies category to stand on its own as a vibrant, sonically beautiful recording; listeners of all ages will revel in Veirs at her prime. “I love this record,” says acclaimed songwriter Sufjan Stevens. “Laura’s folk songs for children prove that the best children’s music never gets old.”


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