Bright Siders Overcome Dark Side of the Mood

Entertainment Music

Dealing with negative emotions in a positive manner requires a deft touch. But it doesn’t necessitate a PhD or years of planning. All it takes is a little TLC. Child psychiatrist Kari Groff, MD, and musician Kristin Andreassen decided more than a decade ago that kids needed a “Free To Be You Are Me” focusing strictly on developing life skills to handle a plethora of feelings. Under the monicker the Bright Siders, their resulting A Mind Of Your Own is a hodgepodge of song styles and sketches, with a number of talented guest stars (including actor Ed Helms). 

A Mind Of Your Own from the Bright Siders

The Bridge Siders are valiantly attempting to fill a void in the space for very young listeners. If your child requires a musical intervention to center them, perhaps there are more direct ways to proceed. A Mind Of Your Own has a pretty low ceiling, one I’d estimate at approximately six years old. My ten-year-old heard the sketch “The New Kid” and remarked, “I’ve never walked up to somebody and said ‘Hello, New kid’.”

The duo (and producer Chris Eldridge) confront sadness, embarrassment, phobias, harassment, creativity, and individuality. The standout tracks on the collection are “Bully This,” a Clash homage about facing physical and verbal bullying and “The Moon and the Stars and Me,” the song that sparked the entire project. “Moon” dances around the topic of nightlights and the sundry imaginary things that bump in the dark. Anybody who felt otherwise safe and sound in their own room until the sun went down – and then needed some gentle illumination – will get where Andreasssen and producer Chris Eldridge are coming from.

A Mind Of Your Own is available from the Bright Siders website, Smithsonian Folkways websiteAmazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the Bright Siders’ song “The Moon and the Stars and Me”:

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