It takes a lot for a CD to earn its scratches. Well-worn records of my childhood meant they were played over and over so much, we knew the lyrics by heart. Bruised knees weren’t a sign of rough play, but having been pounded one too many times as we mimicked the drum beat of our favorite songs. Well, it may be time for my kids to rack up a few bumps of their own, thanks to the effervescent, contagious sounds of Josh & the Jamtones’ Bear Hunt! What starts out as ode to gospel with “Swing Low” quickly segues into a mix of storytelling and songs that make themselves known–in the best possible way. The title track takes attentive listeners on an imaginative journey that carries them through the entire play list. By the time we got to “I Love U,” the sound had shifted to a ska-like beat, reminiscent of one of my favorites, The Specials. (“I think we’ve heard this song before,” claimed my 9-year-old, a kid who’s been listening to the band since she was in utero.) While the music may at times appear familiar, it is never unoriginal. Other favorites include the you-can’t-sit-still “Everybody Dance!” and the delightful pairing of “The Snow is Falling Down” and “Snow Day,” making the impending season a little more ‘bear-able.’ As our musical adventure began to wind down and my girls and I regained our breath, I couldn’t help but smile to myself. I expect we’ll be rocking out a lot more this season.
In a Nutshell: Surrender to the beat of a fresh new sound that dares to be different–and succeeds.