From its opening four minutes – Michael Holt’s acapella narrative of his life’s loves from childhood to the present – The Dawn Chorus is clearly a storytelling album. A veteran musician whose musical past includes time in the cult band The Mommyheads, Holt’s album draws on his more than 20 years of songwriting experience to create a 15-track expression of love to the world. While the melodies are anchored by Holt’s lively piano, The Kids play with more instruments than an elementary school music class – tom toms, glockenspiel, triangles, steel drums, and a guiro all make an appearance. The sound is a good compliment for The Dawn Chorus’ all-ages messages of care for yourself, other people, and nature. Tracks like An Animal Invitation, which is narrated by animals, and The Ballad of Isaac and Jyllian, a new take on the story of Jack and Jill, make the most of the band’s cute and quirky style.

Published in Volume 65, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 13, 2011)

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