Dad of Divas' Reviews: CD Review - Joanie Leeds - What a Zoo!

Monday, February 14, 2011

CD Review - Joanie Leeds - What a Zoo!

About the CDBuilding on the momentum of her 2010 Parents’ Choice® Gold Award-winning album, I’m a Rock Star, independent children’s musician Joanie Leeds brings her attention to the animal kingdom with the April 12 release of her new kids’ CD, What a Zoo! (Limbostar, $15.00, for ages 2 – 9, run time 37 minutes).  Joining Joanie and her band, The Nightlights, is the critically acclaimed “hip hop for kids” musician, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.

Gifted with a soulful, “rock solid” voice and an instinctive knack for capturing the essence of any style she goes for, Joanie Leeds has delivered, with each new release, music that speaks to kids in a friendly, non-patronizing way and is imbued with artistic values that thrill admiring adults.  Her presentation is notable for its child-appropriate clarity, yet vocally Joanie soars easily through a remarkable array of styles with such an enviable power and dexterity that it’s easy to forget her intended audience is under age 10.  Joanie truly rocks!  Time Out New York Kids enthused about I’m a Rock Star, “The title track – with its hint of mid-career Alanis Morissette – is a terrific jam, while the rocking-chair anthem ‘Give Me a Hug’ is a tender, parent-pleasing tune … if she can win over my discerning kid, then Joanie Leeds is indeed a rock star.”

What a Zoo!  presents ten rockin’ Joanie Leeds originals and four covers, each with its own distinctive personality that salutes every child’s fascination with our animal friends.  The lyrics are thought provoking and packed with educational value. “My Butterfly” explores metamorphosis, “Sea Cow” and “Big Blue Whale” focus on endangered species, and the delightful, two beat novelty song “Tofurky” emphasizes responsible eating.  Other songs are just plain fun.  “Happy As A Clam” wends its way through the many animal-isms that pop up in our daily conversations, while the classic “Pony Boy” provides a sweet country touch.  A brilliantly eclectic presentation of the beloved children’s folk ballad “Froggie Went a’ Courtin’“ updates Joanie’s authentic swing phrasing to include a super hip appearance by guest rapper Secret Agent 23 Skidoo.  While the album is light-hearted, Joanie’s cover of the Phish song “Possum” does let kids know what happens when you don’t look both ways when crossing the street!  What a Zoo! offers a perfect setting for
Joanie’s vocal virtuosity and impeccable good taste. Its sophisticated humor is rooted in real life experiences and guaranteed never to wear thin with the repeated listenings this CD is bound to get.

The Washington Post named Joanie Leeds 2010 release, I’m a Rock Star, one of the best kids’ CDs of the year. In addition to winning a Parents’ Choice® Gold Award, the album was honored with a NAPPA Award, its title track was a finalist in the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and the song “More Cowbell” reached #1 on WXPN’s Kids Corner. Joanie’s songs have been spinning regularly on dozens of “kindie rock” radio programs and podcasts, including Sirius/XM’s Kids Place Live.  Previous to I’m a Rock Star, Joanie released two albums for adult listeners: My Job Application Knows More About Me Than You Do (2000) and Soul From My Footsteps (2004), a Parent’s Choice® Recommended children’s album, City Kid! (2008), and a children’s holiday CD, Challah, Challah (2009).  Joanie’s City Kid Live! DVD, released in 2010, won three Telly Awards.

What a Zoo! will be available online at,,, and at specialty toy and bookstores across the country.

My Take on the CDWe were BIG fans of Joanie's last CD "I'm a Rock Star". With catchy songs that go on and on this past CD was one that my kids still play over and over again today. We just started listening to this CD and I can say that it is a new sound to Joanie. We still hear some of the great musical interludes and catchy tunes, yet at the same time, there is a bit of difference in the overall tenor of the music. It still is up in the air whether these songs will become instant hits. My kids do have a few of the songs that they liked on the CD, but for some reason they were not clamoring to listen to the CD over and over again as they did the first.

I do not say this to be critical, as I still thought that the CD was a good one and one that Joanie should be proud of, I simply state the fact that the music is not the same as the last album, which makes it a bit different for our kids as well.

I will say though that this CD will definitely provide you with a toe-tapping musical romp that will pass you by in no time. Your kids will definitely be drawn to Joanie, as mine were, and if you like this CD, you should definitely check out her other two albums, I'm a Rock Star, City Kid and Soul from My Footsteps.

All opinions expressed in this review are my own and not influenced in any way by the company.  Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider. Please refer to this site's Disclaimer  for more information. I have been compensated or given a product free of charge, but that does not impact my views or opinions. 
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