Artificial intelligence can turn on a coffeemaker and cook a pizza, but it’s far from replacing us. To make that clear for techno-savvy kids, Kelli Welli has titled her third family collection Robots Don’t Tell Jokes (8 LB Gorilla Records). Still, your friendly family cyborg may harbor a secret desire to share a funny thought—and it might even make you crack a smile.
The colors of the rainbow translate into a brilliant array of human possibility in “Rainbow Love Song,” quietly addressing the LGBTQ community without rubbing it in the noses of more conservative-minded parents. An all-star platoon of kids artists contributes backup vocals, including Flor Bromley, Claudia Robin Gunn, Kymberly Stewart, Twinkle Time, Elena Moon Park, Red Yarn, and Joanie Leeds. The latter also provides harmonies on “I Will Miss You,” a mothers’ lament about the joy of watching children grow, become independent, but then no longer need the kind of emotional assistance from their toddler days:
I will miss your little hugs
And the way you snuggle up
As we’re reading favorite stories or reading lullabies
I will miss the way you look at me
And the wonder in your eyes
Every time I have the privilege of teaching something new
There must be something in the water in the Pacific Northwest. Kelli Welli joins the host of notable talents from the region, such as Red Yarn, Johnny Bregar, and Recess Monkey. Robots Don’t Tell Jokes features her take on traditional material, such as “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star,” “Five Little Ducks,” and “Five Little Frogs.” She also exhibits her range with opera (“Stinky Shoe Reprise”), Irish punk (“Stinky Shoe”), and the country-tinged “Dognado,” where her home is overtaken by convivial canines. And Kelli puts the family in family music with appearances by her own kids. Robots Don’t Tell Jokes, but there’s something funny going on and Kelli wants to make sure your children are a part of it.