Cat Doorman Songbook & Little Red Wagon App

Kids Music Review

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Julianna Bright is a visual artist and musician who has been hard at work on two projects for children. Under the moniker Cat Doorman, Julianna recorded the 14 track Cat Doorman Songbook, which was released yesterday along with Little Red Wagon, its companion iPad app.

The Cat Doorman Songbook is at once current and a little old-timey. On first listening I loved it but worried that it might be too challenging for my kids; it's very pretty, kind of weird (I mean that in the best way possible), and does not sound like your typical kids' fare. I was totally wrong. They had an instant love connection, asking for the album by name. It's beautiful, and young listeners take great pleasure in the sweet and offbeat songs, featuring performances from members of the Decemberists, Corin Tucker Band, Old Light, Golden Bears, Black Prairie and Built to Spill. The CD is packaged with a gorgeous illustrated 20 page hand-lettered lyric booklet.

"Little Red Wagon" is Bright's adaptation of the children's classic, "Little Brass Wagon," and it establishes her sound and frame of reference along with her cover of Syd Barrett's "Effervescing Elephant" and songs with telling titles like "Let's Dress Up" and "Inspiration." The resulting album is an awful lot like childhood itself - fun, mysterious, sweet, unusual.

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Songbook meets adventure game in the app, which follows a girl and her wagon to the dairy, bakery, garden and the orchard in search of picnic supplies. The journey is peppered with surprise animations and characters, all hand-illustrated by Bright to produce a book-like experience. Players can choose instrumentation for the classic children's song and follow along with lyrics and musical notes. The app for kids 2-6 was made in collaboration with Night & Day Studios, the team behind Peekaboo Barn, Eric Carle's My Very First App and Ed Emberley's Shake & Make.

• Learn more: Cat Doorman and Night & Day Studios

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