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"Yawn. . ."
Louisville Lullabies (Lyracon)
By Tim Roberts
To swipe a phrase from a well-known action-adventure television show from the 1980s (not sure if it's "The A-Team" or "Dynasty"), "I love it when a good music compilation comes together" – when musicians contribute a song to package of music that's focused on a theme or an issue. Twelve Louisville musicians (and one poet) have done that with Louisville Lullabies, a collection of gentle songs that relax and soothe, intended for anyone who has, or was, a child. Which means it's intended for all of us.
Among the performers you'll hear are Lucky Pineapple, danny flanigan, Alistair Shell, Leigh Ann Yost, Justin Lewis and Emily Caudill, Arnett Hollow, Carter Wood, Ron Whitehead, Harry Pickens, Heidi Howe, Yardsale (featured in this month's cover story), Sandpaper Dolls, and Love Jones.
What's most outstanding about this compilation is that, unlike a lot of traditional lullabies (where baby falls from the treetop in a hard wind, and daddy buys the kid a mockingbird and diamond rings to make up for it), many of the songs seem to be sung about children, not to them (most notably flanigan's "Benjamin," Yost's "My Baby," and Howe's "Made in Korea"). The relationship between parent and child is deeply personal and nurturing, and songs that reflect that relationship are the best kinds of lullabies.
But that's not to say the other tracks don't work as lullabies, though. Ron Whitehead's ebullient narration of "For My Children: A Lullaby" (with Harry Pickens providing tender background music) reflects all the hope and wonder and joy of being a parent.
Justin Lewis and Emily Caudill do a front-porch-casual, unplugged cover of "Dream a Little Dream of Me" (complete with crickets chirping and other nighttime noises in the background), and "Dark and Lovely" from Love Jones oddly fits in with the whole lullaby theme because of just one line: "My heart breaks each time you hold me."
Anyone who is a parent, or even a grandparent, knows of the sweet bond that comes with a child's embrace, one that momentarily encompasses the entirety of life from the time he or she is born until there seems to no longer be a need for your attention, when there might not be a need for lullabies. And that's what breaks the heart. But only a little bit.
All proceeds from the sale of Louisville Lullabies goes to the Home of the Innocents.