Eugene Weekly : Music : 3.19.09

Kids’ Music That Parents Like

I think Woody Guthrie once said, “Kids’ music is any music that kids like.” Well, there’s a good chance that kids will like Kinderqueen, the new CD of folk songs for young people by Kathryn Claire of Circled By Hounds fame. Claire was a favorite local folk singer before adding her pipes to that popular Portland-based Irish band. 

There’s something very friendly about Claire’s delivery, and thanks to her bright fiddling and Paul Brainerd’s pedal steel and dobro, every song has a down-home comfort that makes you feel like you’re on the front porch of grandpa’s farmhouse. Claire’s selections include “Turkey in the Straw” and “The Ants Go Marching,” which may seem a little tired to parents who have heard numerous versions of these standards, but the songs are easy to sing along with and no kid will be able to resist chiming in with a “Hurrah!” on “Ants.”

The last half of the CD has a zip that’ll get your kids to slip on their dancing shoes. Starting with the Irish jig “Maggie Brown’s Favorite,” followed by John Denver’s “Country Roads,” which I never tire of hearing in almost any version, and “Growling Old Man and Grumbling Old Woman,” on which Claire’s Circled By Hounds cohort Matthew Hayward-Macdonald contributes a hilarious talk-over. Some of the songs are utterly hummable, like “Getting To Know You” and the closing track “Peace Like A River,” and would make great lullabies. Kids . . . come early to Claire’s release party and make your own crown! Kathryn Claire celebrates the release of Kinderqueen at 6:30 pm Friday, March 20, at Tsunami Books. Donation. — Vanessa Salvia

Faery Folk

British musicians KatieJane Garside (you read it right — there’s no space there) and Chris Whittingham of Ruby Throat make music that comes across as the spawn of a short-lived love affair between an American cowboy and a forest nymph. The result plays like a hybrid between Ye Olde English balladry and the new, hyphenated hybrid American folk music that’s been dominating mainstream indie rock for the past several years. Put another way, Garside’s faery folk music sounds sort of like what might happen if Regina Spektor developed a severe, permanent case of laryngitis and decided to keep making music anyway.  There’s a New Age-y aspect to Ruby Throat’s songs about newts and angels, and it must be said that some folks might find Garside’s wispy soprano irritating after a spell. But those who aren’t bothered by Garside’s weird vocal inflection and can decipher her poetic utterances will find the sum of the instrumentals and Garside’s plaintive moan to be haunting, unassuming little masterpieces. Ruby Throat’s ancient sound is just the kind of thing that the American music scene can’t get enough of right now, but since this is Ruby Throat’s first U.S. tour, seeing them now means you’ll be able to say, “I saw them first” should they happen to balloon into indie folk’s Next Big Thing. Ruby Throat and Rasputina play at 8 pm Wednesday, March 25, at the WOW Hall. $14 adv., $16 door. — Sara Brickner