Acoustic folk-pop artist Laura Doherty really does shine like a star on her second album for children. Her clear, easy-to-understand vocals are the highlight on each of the 13 songs. Her expert guitar skills are joined by instruments such as the banjo, mandolin, ukulele, and button accordion. The songs, most written by Doherty, are a nice combination of upbeat, lively tunes like “Rocket Ship,” where she is joined by delightful children’s voices, and more gentle offerings like “I’m a Tree.” The fantastic “Tap Dance,” featuring Reggio “The Hoofer,” will have children moving and trying to shuffle step and keep the beat. A must-have for children’s music collections.–Veronica De Fazio, Plainfield Public Library District, IL
(Laura Doherty Music)
Rated 4 stars Doherty honed her acoustic skills for more than a decade as a teacher and Wiggleworms director at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Her second album is symbolic of Chicago’s stellar artist scene, from the whimsical cover art by Laura Berger to her talented troupe of backup musicians. Darling ditties like “Tap Dance,” a throwback to the rollicking jazz of the Roaring Twenties, and the snap-your-fingers “Jake the Snake,” demonstrate Doherty’s true gift—getting even the shyest wallflower to wiggle across the dance floor.
Laurie Berkner is without a doubt the brightest female star in kids music (and quite possibly the biggest star, period), so I've been surprised that there haven't been more artists who've attempted to follow in her footsteps. There are obviously lots of successful female artists, for the most part, however, artists like Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances England, Molly Ledford, and Ashley Albert have taken different paths than Berkner's taken, that of melding bright pop takes on traditonal kids' music with catchy new melodies.
But if your family enjoys Berkner and would like to know if there's more where that came from, the answer is, yes, indeed, Laura Doherty is one of the best artists making music for the preschoolers in your life.
On her second album Shining Like a Star, Laura Doherty plumbs a slightly less traditional, slightly less pop-py line than Charlie Hope, with such as with the wurlitzer-like keyboard on "Rocket Ship," the country/western-dusted "Quiet as a Mouse," or the circus organ on "Ferris Wheel." Like Hope, Doherty's blessed with a clear voice that elevates the material -- her samba take on the Joe Raposo classic "Sing" is excellent.
Targeted at kids ages 2 through 6, the songs on 33-minute album are very preschool-subject-focused ("Hula Hoop" is about, you guessed it, hula hooping), which may eventually limit the number of times you can handle hearing Shining Like a Star with your kids, but it'll take you longer than with most albums to reach that point. That even happens with Laurie Berkner albums eventually.
Even though she reminds me (in a good way) somewhat of Laurie Berkner, Laura Doherty is charting their own course in the kids music world. Even if she never reaches the heights of popular success Berkner has, on their latest albums, Doherty show off their talents in a way suggesting she, too, may be around for years to come. Recommended.
A few month's ago I bought the newest Adele CD. The first time I popped it in the CD player in the car, my 2 year listened to Rolling in the Deep and immediately said "AGAIN!" I was thrilled; what good musical taste my son had.
But then he kept saying "again" and as talented as Adele is after the bazillionth time through Rolling in the Deep I was going a little cuckoo!
So when I received Laura Doherty's new CD, Shining Like A Star, I was only cautiously optimistic. We'd tried introducing our little man to new music since he "met" Adele, but with no luck. But I held my breath, put on Ms. Doherty's CD and waited for "More Adele, mama!"
And it didn't come!
We listened to the whole CD and then we listened again. And then he started asking for specific songs. His faves are the "tomato song" (really called Vegetable Party), "snake Jake" (Jake the Snake) and "popcorn" (really called....well...Popcorn).
We have sung, we've danced and we are happy, because not only is this great kid's music, but it has been really nice for me too! I love Ms. Doherty's folky voice and her lyrics are so catchy that my 2 year has memorized several of the songs! In fact, we often hear him singing himself to sleep with one of her songs.
This is our first Laura Doherty CD, but it certainly won't be our last!
Oh, and Adele? It was nice knowing you.
Chicago Mom Must-Haves
Laura Doherty’s Kids in the City CD
Listen up: Here’s kid music that adults love, too. She’s working on a new album now (go, Laura!), and until it comes out, we’ll bop along with her debut’s bright songs about city living.
July 18, 2011
PREVIEW SUN JUN 13 2010
Laura Doherty: Pajama Party In The Park @ Welles Park, 6/15
There is a fine line in children's music between the monotonously boring and the oh my goodness get me out of here. Laura Doherty however never comes close to this place. She nurtures adults with inner children present, as well as children themselves. With a full understanding of the demand that comes with being a children's performer as well as an adult at a kids show she has the ability to appease all ages. Laura also has a has a massive a quirk factor, (She can be seen wearing a hot dog hat explaining the toppings of a Chicago style hot dog for one of her songs) and refers to "Wheels On The Bus" as the "Freebird" of kid music which is completely correct. Getting the kids groove on in full swing is a task she easily masters and seeing her play is a great way to chill and get silly with fun music.
The former director of the Wiggleworms program at The Old Town School Of Folk Music took a daring leap and decided to go full time at the kids music gig showing an intense passion for bringing joy in the world via sweet folk inspired kids songs. Her latest release Kids In The City has a beautiful cover of the Bachrach classic "Raindrops Keep falling On My Head" which allows everyone to sing along with a smile.
Laura and her band are throwing a Pajama Party this Tuesday in Welles Park to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Wiggleworms! Bring the kids to this one of a kind event where everyone is invited to come in appropriate attire.
The event is all ages and starts at 6:30. Welles Park is located at 2333 W. Sunnyside Ave. For more information call 773-728-6000
— Aharona Ament /
Time Out Chicago Jan. 2010
In review of the decade, Laura Doherty is listed as one of the "best things to happen to Chicago kids"! Check out #5.
"Kids in the City" was rated one of the Top 10 children's CDs of the year by Time Out NY Kids, Dec. 2009.
9/25/09 Chicago Parent Magazine
KIDS IN THE CITY, by Laura Doherty, Laura Doherty Music, $13.99, www.lauradohertymusic.com; ages 3-7.
I also enjoy recommending new artists, especially when they are Chicago-based. If you are familiar with the early childhood Wiggleworms program at The Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, you are already familiar with Laura Doherty. She is the director of Wiggleworms and has been teaching there f or more than 10 years.
Her new CD is wonderful and as her press materials state, this CD is for the "urban toddler," though children and parents everywhere will delight in these songs. Using Chicago as her inspiration, the CD is filled with fabulous songs about skyscrapers, the L and the zoo.
The first time I heard "Kids In The City" it reminded me of a cross between Laurie Berkner and Ella Jenkins. Pick up the CD, give a listen and see if you agree.
Sept. 2, 2009Dig this new CD from Laura Doherty, the Early Childhood Music Program Director at Chicago's famed Old Town School of Folk Music. Kids in the City is full of breezy urban folk tunes featuring the Natalie Merchant-like vibe of Doherty's vocals. Click the link to read the full review.
July 1, 2009
Check out this nice review of Laura and her kids music, from the "Almost Librarian", Valerie Baartz.