Music fans of a certain age can take comfort in the fact that so many of their favourite childhood musicians are not only still around, but relevant to new generations. Case in point: Fred Penner.
At 70, the beloved children's singer-songwriter is still going strong. With a long-running CBC TV show, honorary doctorates, the Order of Canada, a dozen albums, and nearly as many Juno nods under his belt, Penner recently hosted the Polaris Music Prize and regularly performs alongside a who's who of Canadian music VIPs. Hear The Music, the musician's 13th album, features Basia Bulat, Alex Cuba, Alfie Jurvanen (Bahamas), Ron Sexsmith, Terra Lightfoot, the Good Lovelies, Rosalyn Dennett and others. Veteran producer Ken Whiteley captures the magic.
The 14 tracks here sound and feel like the work of a folk-pop supergroup committed to boosting children's self-image, awareness and confidence. Hard to imagine a better reason for making music. "This Is My World," "Humility," "Hold Your Head Up," "Courage," "Celebrate Being" — there really isn't a weak link here — are dreamy, warm, sometimes multilingual, and most times moving music for children and grownups. Fred Penner's music and his message are as relevant and necessary as ever. (Linus)