How delightful and how warm to find New Orleans’ own Johnette Downing praising and prescribing for the next generation. She wants kids to read, and so they should. She spreads out the magic of reading in such tunes as “Readers Are Leaders,” and even if I’m not completely convinced, I want to be. The playing, never less than tasty, pushes the gentle didacticism and could stand on its own should Downing ever decide to make music for grown-ups. I’m happiest with Gina Forsyth’s fiddle, but Downing, self-producing, multi-tracks herself into a mini-orchestra with string things, voices and “percussions.”
Some of the songs are actually stories. Said stories feature lazy, greedy snakes, crawfish and possums, outshone by valiant and selfless oysters, crabs and deer. Hey, I know this record is supposed to sell the young ones on the idea of the future. But can I stand under its awning awhile? Life’s better here.
-Andrew Hamlin, Offbeat Magazine