More Than Kids Music for the Oot ‘n Oots

The Oot ‘n Oots don’t consider themselves primarily children’s musicians. The pride of Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada, the Cipes is a family band in the literal sense (a bunch of brothers and one daughter/niece) producing songs reminiscent of the gentle, whimsical soft rock released by Donovan and early Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd. Their latest collection, Ponderosa Bunchgrass and the Golden Rule  contains a dozen tracks that espouse concepts we should all know, yet somehow forget to practice much of the time.

The new CD from the Oot ‘N Oots

The Oots are interested in big, deep thoughts and address them with singalong choruses and power ballads. “Ponderosa Bunchgrass” opens Part 2 (it’s side two of the actual vinyl version of the collection) with a girl who walked along her own path. Think Malala Yousafzai or Greta Thunberg. The Oots’ frontwoman singer is Ruthie Cipes, who delivers strong vocals on tracks like “Thank You, Universe” and the spaghetti western theme, “Once Upon A Dream.”

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There’s a heaping helping of Donovan (with a sprinkle of Buffalo Springfield) on “The Bird and the Monkey and Me.” A mariachi band transforms “Teeny Tiny Horsey” from a novelty number into a spirited Tex-Mex tune. Since I’m busy name-dropping classic rockers, how about the Robert Fripp/Dave Gilmour-esque guitar solos on “The Golden Rule,” disbursing its edicts of tolerance, kindness, and patience:

Hey, it’s not opinion or a point of view
It’s a simple universal truth
Treat others the way you want to be treated, too
Follow the golden rule

The Oots feel that by classifying them solely as “children’s music,” it diminishes the impact of their songs. As they point out, everyone was once a child – so their CDs are for current kids, former kids, and future kids. Ponderosa Bunchgrass and the Golden Rule emerges from the embers of the 1970s era of “family music” and fully inhabits their persona like a newly-refurbished log cabin…with piled-high shag carpet and groovy bellbottoms. Ponderosa Bunchgrass and the Golden Rule is available from the Oot ‘n Oots’s websiteBandcampSpotify, and Apple Music. Here is the video for the band’s song, “Thank You, Universe”:

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This post was last modified on October 18, 2021 11:06 am

Jeffrey Cohen

Born and raised in New York (with a brief sojourn in New Jersey during his preteen years), Jeffrey Cohen lives in New York with his two sons. He has reviewed children's music for the past 14 years on his own blog. Jeff's podcast, "MrJeff2000 Explains It All" is available through iTunes.

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