Tommy Gardner,
Kangaroo Waffles & Other Treasure
(Blackwater, 2007)

With Kangaroo Waffles, Tommy Gardner promises kid-friendly music that won't drive parents bonkers -- and he delivers on that promise.

The songs are aimed at younger school-age children and feature sing-along lyrics with solid music behind the message-laden tunes. While the arrangements are occasionally repetitive and the songs are unrelentingly cheerful (even "The Monster," which provides strategies for dealing with grief), the optimistic tone and impressive tongue-twisters made this adult enjoy singing along.

Several themes dominate the album. Imagination is encouraged ("Imagine This" and "Next Harry Potter"), as is personal growth ("Choices" and "One"). Several songs address school issues: "Summertime" describes the building anticipation for summer vacation as the clock creeps towards 3 p.m.; "Lunch Trade" is a graduate level seminar in negotiating trades so everyone gets the meal they want; "Bully Bubba" provides strategies in understanding and dealing with bullies; and "The Gnome" explores the mysteries of spelling words with silent letters.

All but one of 14 tracks are original compositions; the sole cover is Harry Chapin's "Flowers are Red," a sad story of a teacher who steals a young boy's imagination and vision. Overall, the music is more complex than many songs written for children and the occasional instrumental solo or reggae beat adds layers to the tunes. I have found myself listening even when children aren't in the room.

[ visit the artist online ]

review by
Michelle Doyle

13 March 2010

Agree? Disagree?
Send us your opinions!

what's new