On music

Back before pop diva Lisa Loeb became a household name, she and Elizabeth Mitchell performed together at Brown University. While Mitchell didn’t achieve Loeb’s fame, she possesses no less talent—and on her album for children, You Are My Little Bird (Smithsonian Folk ways), she demonstrates how the simplest music-making can be the most moving.

On “Little Liza Jane,” backed just by hand-clapping, Mitchell lifts up her soft voice in a way that will charm the crabbiest tot. Grown-up lovers of folk music will find Mitchell hard to resist too. “Who’s My Pretty Baby” splashes just the right amount of slapback electric guitar atop Mitchell’s gossamer vocal. Part of the Smithsonian Folkways project, Bird honors American roots music without seeming like a dusty, academic exercise.

More of my favorite albums for children:


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