It takes a lot to get my younger son (10) to sing along with what he now considers “little kid music.” Since I started reviewing children’s music before he was born, he’s heard (and seen) performers that cross cultures, countries, and languages. Color me stunned that Kelli Welli‘s deceptively simple “Peanut, Pinenut” got him singing from the back seat, doing his version of a British accent on the climactic “It’s a Brazil nut!” on the chorus. It’s one of the standout tracks that will entertain younger music enthusiasts on her latest CD, Let’s Go, Pistachio.
Portland musician Kelli Caldwell has stayed busy during the pandemic – in part because she has seven-year-old twins. Her latest CD draws on country and American folk music and clearly sets the table for a return to live performing, with participation songs like “Jumpin’ Beans” and “The Hat Song,” which practically commands listeners to find suitable chapeaus to pretend they are astronauts and cowboys.
Girl power is the underlying concept of the Dolly Parton-esque “She’s So Bright,” which champions performance throughout adversity and disability. “The Smilers” draws comparisons to Oregon original Red Yarn, as does “Kickin’ It with My Chicken” (right down to the puppet in the song’s video). Kelli turns the “are we there yet” concept around on complainers on “We’re Almost There,” which can be sung on trips from diverse locations including the supermarket and standing outside grandma’s home for a socially distanced visit (with no available bathroom). Speaking of bathrooms, get your toddlers motivated to brush their teeth and drop their pants with “Tinkle Tinkle Toot.”
For the title track’s video for “Let’s Go, Pistachio,” Kelli enlisted the innovative Gunnar Madsen. Using a Chuck Berry riff, the song (and video) features a boisterous pistachio nut whose oversized personality and frenetic energy (possibly ADHD) drive his friends to distraction.
It’s a good bet that if your kids like this musical pistachio, they’ll go nuts for all 15 tunes on Let’s Go Pistachio.
Here is the video debut of the title track to Kelli Welli’s new CD, “Let’s Go, Pistachio”: