The Debbie and Friends project captured my interest on a few levels. First, and perhaps most trite, is the fact that it is straight-outta- Boston. Where places like NYC and Seattle are often seen as hot spots for family music, bands like Debbie and Friends are putting Boston on the map as well. And when lead singer Debbie Cavalier isn’t getting the kids up and dancing, she is working as Dean of Continuing Education at Boston’s Berklee College of Music.
Debbie is also an experienced talent in the industry. Before releasing her first album in 2007, she worked in music publishing with children’s entertainment acts like Shari Lewis, Buffalo Bob Smith of Howdy Doody, and Sesame Street’s Bob McGrath. But make no mistake, Debbie also knows how to play ball with the newbies and their tech tools. Debbie & Friends is currently holding a remix contest for her first official single off the new album, using GarageBand as the mixing tool. And for an independent kids’ act, this band has an impressive website.
And then there are the music videos. I am a sucker for quality music videos, mostly because my daughter loves watching them with me and they are a great alternative to watching TV. Before it became a kindie genre staple, Debbie & Friends were creating music videos starring an animated version of Debbie. Featuring modern, distinctive animation by Planet Sunday, one of the videos was even used in an episode of 24 this season.
As for the music itself, Debbie and Friends are gearing up to release their latest CD, More Story Songs & Sing Alongs on March 30. Their new album, sent to me for review, is full of the bright, interactive family-pop that is made for backseat and live concert fun. Songs like “So, So Happy” are catchy upon first listen, and I can see easily see why this band is booked almost every weekend with a new gig. “Willy Won’t” is a sing-along ready jam with some piano work that had me thinking “Sweet Home Alabama.” For those who like their music & movement mixed in, the band also does their own musical take on “Simon Says.” There is even a gospel-inspired tune, based on a classic story we all know, called “I Think I Can.” And for beat-loving kiddies like my own little disco queen, Debbie includes a remix of her previous kiddie hit “Little Red Riding Hood.” Finally, Cavalier even calls in a favor from old friend Bob McGrath for closing tune “Until Next Time”.
Debbie and Friends’ More Story Songs & Sing Alongs can be purchased at their official site on March 30. In the meantime, we look forward to seeing even more music videos…and maybe a DVD collection someday?