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Musical Mention: Only Jesus – Austin Stone Worship

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Fresh from Austin Stone Worship comes their first(?) album for kids.

ONLY JESUS

1. Jesus Forever
2. King of Everything
3. Only Jesus
4. You Made Everything
5. Rescue for My Soul
6. Center My Life
7. I Found a Treasure
8. Tell the World
9. Trust
10. We Are One

THOUGHTS

Firstly… nailed it on the resources available for each of the songs! Each of the songs has myriad different downloads and info available online. From this page you can click on each song and see just what delights await you! This seems to be standard operating practice for all their music. Love it!

There doesn’t seem to be a lot written about the album itself, but if you dig into the Family Worship Guide you can find a few words written about the project.

From a blog post by Kids Pastor John Murchison its very clear that the goal is to not only create catchy songs but ones that teach theology. These are songs to be discussed and explained as you sing them with kids!

Because one of the main goals of our worship times is to teach our children truth about God, we take great care to make sure that the songs are age-appropriate and theologically accurate, all the way down to the songs we sing for the little ones.

So musically it sits in the middle of guitar rock and dance music. Real sounding drums, guitars, with pulsing synths. A very familiar sound to those who listen to modern worship music. Top notch tracks and mix with pro lead vocals.

There’s a little choir in the mix in certain songs, like King of Everything and Only Jesus, which I know I keep going on about, but it’s important for an album like this with no kids leading the worship songs.

This feels like a serious album for kids, made by adults for kids, which is a strange thing to say but relevant because I think these songs could be sung by adults in ‘big Church’.

FAVOURITE TRACK

I Found A Treasure – This is one of the songs that uses lyrics that I think kids would use and is that sweet spot between a ‘worship’ and a ‘praise’ song with moments for jumping and reflection and some Ooohs 🙂

We Are One – Another worshipful praise song that I think would really help your group of kids identify with the Church and the kids/leaders around them.

Outcome… get yourself over to their resources page and get these songs going in your kids ministry. Oh, an tell them when you use them (twitter/facebook etc. because I know they love to hear where these songs go!

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Musical Mention: The Great Adventure – Dan Warlow

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

It’s way overdue, but I need to highlight my friend Dan Warlow’s first album recording.

Dan Warlow is an Australian singer-songwriter who is passionate about building strong faith-foundations in young people. With his energetic and engaging style, Dan conveys scriptural truths and the life-giving message of Jesus through songs that the whole family can enjoy, not just the kids.

I keep bumping into Dan around the tracks here in Australia and love that he is just going for it, and following his dreams!

THE GREAT ADVENTURE

1. The Celebration song
2. Great adventure.
3. Creator God
4. With all my heart.
5. God’s Amazing Book
6. I want to hear your voice
7. Under your wings.
8. You are faithful
9. God’s big love (light of the world)
10. There is nothing our God cannot do

THOUGHTS

This is a acoustic driven album in the vein of Colin Buchanan and Sean W Smith. It’s a little but country and a little bit rock ‘n roll. There is nothing too fancy going on with the production, but it’s also just what is needed – it’s just right. Lead vocals are perfectly clear… important for kids comprehension.

Lyrically it covers well worn material – a ‘God created everything song’, some ‘jump around songs’, and a Bible song. But it all sounds fresh and not at all tired.

Full marks for a kids choir on a few tracks like the title track ‘Great Adventure’ if you follow my blog posts you’ll know I love a bit of kids singing on the album.

We need lyrics on your website Dan 🙂 and if possible some lyric videos for use in Churches!

FAVOURITE TRACK

Okay, God’s Big Love is my standout on this album. It’s a tried and true version of John 3:16 but for me the track shines on the album. Great guitars/synths that match the style really well. A great bridge with some woah’s just tops the track off!

Keep it up Dan, the best is yet to come!

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Musical Mention: Strong In Me – TFH Worship

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Another kids worship release out of nowhere.

Heather commented in my last post and alerted me to this fantastic new EP.

TFH Worship is the worship ministry of The Father’s House church, based out of Vacaville, CA but with additional locations in Napa and East Bay. TFH Kids is proud to partner with TFH Worship to release “Strong In Me,” a kids worship album for the whole family. These songs are fun, and powerful and we’ve produced them so that you’ll want more regardless of age!

The Church is also a part of the Hillsong Network, so I am a big fan already!

STRONG IN ME

Tracklisting:

1. Don’t Have To Wait
2. The Way
3. Stronger
4. God Is With Me
5. You’re Everything

5 Tracks. I’ll take it, I want more, but you gotta start somewhere 🙂

THOUGHTS

This album continues the trend of albums produced for kids ministries by the worship ministry of the Church. (Planetshakers recent release, eKids etc.) They bring their expertise and strength to the table and pull off great with the kids in mind. It’s great to see a couple of slower songs, Stronger and God is with Me in the mix. It’s a bigger challenge to write worship songs for kids that keep them engaged.

Production values are fantastic, great mixes and excellent arrangements. The music does exactly what it needs to do and doesn’t get in the way of the message!

Get some kids voices on there and I am a happy man. Again, it’s tough to find really strong kid vocalists but worth the effort. And as with all releases, it’s great to see lyric videos we can use in live worship… looking forward to the next one!

FAVOURITE SONGS

Okay, so I’m gonna pick just one because of the brevity of the album 🙂

The Way – Great EDM sounding track and lyrics, especially the acapella intro,  it’s uncommon and catchy. I really like how each section of the song flows into the next – verse to chorus to bridge – it keeps the song moving. “I know who I am, I know how to dance, And praise Your name” – simple lyrics declaring truth, as long as your definition of dancing includes my kind of awkward gyrating.

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Musical Mention: Undefeated – eKidz

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Oh Wow, out of nowhere.

Another great Kids Praise and Worship Release.

From my friends at Elevation Church.

eKidz (the family ministry of Elevation Church) has joined with Elevation Worship to release a new album for your entire family. From the title track, “Undefeated”, which proclaims that Jesus is victorious, to the powerful truth found in “I am Yours”, it is our hope that these songs will give voice to your family’s faith.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we need more worship for kids in the world. 2,000 worship albums last year produced and maybe 50 for kids? Let’s do this!

UNDEFEATED

Tracklisting:

1. For Your Glory
2. I Am Yours
3. Undefeated
4. Your Love Is
5. Get to Give
6. Already Won
7. Standing

Okay, 7 tracks… Frank Bealer, I expected more overachieving from you, if your wife was involved it would have been 14 pullups, I mean tracks (you had to be there).

THOUGHTS

This is a pro album, mixed with a top notch production team from Elevation. Seven uptempo praise songs means they have accomplished what they set out to do – “give voice to your family’s faith”.

One of the hardest things is to get right is kids ‘choir’, it doesn’t seem like the team has attempted to capture any, but I would have loved to hear some kids voices on this album.

FAVOURITE SONGS

Every track sounds ‘right’, what I mean is that it matches the theme and emotion the song is seeking to convey. A victorious song like ‘For Your Glory’, or a more declarative song like ‘I am Yours’ has just the right ‘weight’ in musical style.

Standing – “Oh Yes we are standing, ‘Cause the enemy’s defeated, We’ll always be standing, on the promises of Jesus.” Great chorus and a song that simply declares truth and the groove of the song drives home the point!

Get To Give – This track’s production is one of my favourites and the theme – I get the privilege of serving God – is a valuable one in this era of looking out for number one.

Oh, and great music video!

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Musical Mention: Light of the World – Johnny Burns

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

This week I highlight an Australian Artist Johnny Burns based right here in Sydney. He has released a bunch of music starting way back in 2000 for kids. Let Your Light Shine is his latest album.

Every song is based on one of my favourite Bible Verses. I guess you could call it “Pop Memory Verses”. The highlight for me in making this CD was doing some vocal collaborations with a range of really cool singers. I have chosen a range of Bible verse, from both the Old and New Testaments, which have really meant a lot to me during my Christian walk.

LIGHT OF THE WORLD

5 Johnny Burns Let Your Light Shine

Let Your Light Shine is Johnny’s 4th children’s album. Working with his long time friend and producer, Wayne D’Chong, the two have delivered an album full of catchy songs teaching the Word of God.

Special guest vocalists joining Johnny on the album include Colin Buchanan, Rob Smith, Alanna Rodgers (from GarageHymnal), Dave Hanbury (from Revive), and the beautiful harmonies of Jacqui, Katie & Christine Host.

Tracklisting

1. Let your light shine – Matt 5:16
2. Light of the World – John 8:12
3. If – 1 John 1:8-9
4. The Wisdom Song – Jam 1:5
5. May I never boast – Gal 6:14
6. Clap your hands – Psa 47:1-2
7. The Lord looks at the heart – 1 Sam 16:7
8. Love Love Love (One Another) – John 13:34-35
9. He is good – Psa 145:8-9
10. Ask, seek, knock – Matt 7:7-8
11. The plans I have for you – Jer 29:11
12. Your word is – Psa 119:105
13. Seventy times seven – Matt 18:21-22
14. Trust in the Lord – Prov 3:5-6
15. Holy holy holy – Rev 4:8

THOUGHTS

This album was released in July 2012 and like the rest of Johnny’s releases is a mix of live instruments and electronic instruments. The mixes are quality and the lead vocals are never lost and clear as a bell (important for kids). Having Colin Buchanan, the ultimate Aussie kids performer on the album brings the guitars out and they wield the country lick with class.

Now one of my big focuses as always is can you use this music for praise and worship with your kids and a really great way is to produce ‘lyrics videos’ to use on your weekends. It’s a bit of a necessity these days and I would love to see these produced, even sing-a-long versions like previous albums.

I seem to say this a lot, but they have nailed the kids choir recording, it’s tight and sits well in the mix.

To get a hold of this album check out emumusic.com or iTunes.

FAVOURITE SONGS

All these songs a based on scripture, but rather than a direct quote from scripture (very hard) he has built a song around the concept of each verse and that is a great way to write songs for kids.

The Plans I Have For You (Jeremiah 29) – The melody works really well on this track with lyrics that come pretty closely from the Bible.

Holy Holy Holy – This is a really nice worship song, and the lead vocals work really well

Ask Seek Knock – Rock ‘N Roll pure and simple, but it’s just really well performed and a great arrangement.

Here are some more thoughts on the album biblesociety.org.au/news/music-that-has-kids-jumping-to-gods-word

 

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Musical Mention: We Belong To Jesus – New Life Kids

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

This time we have a look at ‘We Belong To Jesus (Featuring Jared Anderson and Friends)’. Jared is part of the worship team of New Life Church and I guess a primary contributor to the album.  The recording captures songs birthed out of the vibrant children’s ministry of New Life Church.  Featuring Jared Anderson, youth and adult worship leaders, and an energetic group of more than 135 kids led by choir director Amanda Ferrin, the CD has 11 high-energy praise songs of faith and worship for kids of all ages.  A companion We Belong To Jesus resource DVD contains lyrics videos with optional sing-along split and stereo tracks (background vocals and instrumental) for use with kids choirs in churches everywhere.

WE BELONG TO JESUS

NewLifeWorshipKids_We-Belong-To-JesusProduced by Michael Rossback (Gungor, Paul Baloche), We Belong To Jesus includes such worship favourites as “We Belong,” “Strong God,” “Counting On God,” “Light of Salvation,” and more, all led by the talented children’s ministry team from New Life Church.

Tracklisting

1) Counting On God
2) Impossible Possible
3) Dance Dance Shake It Up / It Was For Freedom
4) We Belong
5) According To His Word
6) Victorious God
7) Strong God
8) Light of Salvation
9) Never Be Shaken
10) Magnified
11) Just Give Me Jesus / ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus

THOUGHTS

I love seeing the worship pastor and leadership of the greater team get involved in this project. The fact that they wrote most of the songs for this album says a lot about the ministry happening at this church.

I really like the fact that you can buy three versions of the album on iTunes!

  1. Usual CD version
  2. Performance version with Video Lyric Videos
  3. Deluxe Performance Version with Split Tracks and Performance.

I really like this model and is great for Churches all over the place who would rather not wait for a DVD to arrive in the mail! Two thumbs up New Life!

Like the Planetshakers Kids album I recently wrote about, the team from New Life is partnering with Shout Praises Kids from Integrity to release their music potentially giving them a far greater reach!

Anderson, who wrote seven songs featured on We Belong to Jesus.

“My prayer is that our homes become houses of worship and that our families know how to lead one another by engaging in original, wholehearted awe of God. This project is a rehearsal tape for our heaven performance. I hope it serves well.”

New Life Church worship pastor Jon Egan (Desperation Band), who is known for such classic worship anthems as “I Am Free,” also penned four songs featured on We Belong to Jesus. Egan says,

“As a young father, there are moments that sneak up on me and take me to another place. One of those moments is when I randomly find my kids singing God songs. They could be building forts or eating breakfast, and I hear the sound of worship coming from their lips. It is in those times that I remember not only my highest calling, but of God’s greatness.”

REVIEW

Onto the music. Overall they have gone with ‘real/organic’ instruments, as in piano, guitar, drums mixed with some current synth/dance elements. It gives the whole album a atmosphere that fits in very well with their own adult worship albums. They are staying true to themselves and have produced something familiar to the ears of kids when it comes to Church worship music.

BTW the choir is awesome! I know only too well how hard it is to get a great choir without sounding like a Psalty record from the 80’s. They are very exposed in the split track versions (available in the deluxe set) but very few people will use those. Although great to listen to if you need to record a choir full of kids in the future.

It’s hard to get worship songs (slower tempo and vibe) that work really well, this album has a great mix of both! Well done.

Favourite Songs

Counting on God – There’s a reason it starts off the album, the best ‘congregational’ song on the album highly recommended for your kids this weekend.

Impossible Possible – Love the chorus chord changes! 

We Belong – Use this at your summer camp on the third night around a camp fire with that one guy who bought a guitar! Perfect 🙂

According To His Word – Scripture rich and classic mid tempo praise song

Magnified – Worship song of the album…

Thanks New Life Kids, there are songs here definitely coming to Hillsong Kids soon! 

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Musical Mention: Look Up – Gateway NEXT

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Gateway NEXT is the worship ministry that is changing and impacting thousands of young lives weekly during Gateway Church services in multiple locations throughout North Texas. This worship team is from Gateway’s Amazing Kids ministry. It aims to inspire more people, especially children through music.

Inspired by this goal, Gateway Next has come up with its first project, an album entitled Look Up. This project was created to minister to the next generation, to the things that are happening every day in the lives of our young children. Music is a very effective means of reaching them and touching their lives.

LOOK UP

Look Up by Gateway NEXT is an uninhibited, pure and sincere brand of worship songs, full of life, energetically responding to the call of our loving God. (1 Samuel 3:8).

Look Up is filled with songs and words of declaration inspiring young hearts to be bold in their response to the voice of God that speaks openly with them. This first album will capture the attention of the next generation that is already changing their present world with their boldness, while building up their faith to be the catalyst for change tomorrow.

These original songs have been written and recorded with the same heart that comes from the leadership of Gateway Worship, and their powerful expression of worship. Look Up serves as a glance into their journey of discovery and understanding of the power and presence of God in their daily lives.

Tracklisting

  1. We Are
  2. Look Up
  3. You
  4. How Great Your Love Is
  5. One Way (All the Way Out)
  6. Gonna Love You
  7. Living For You
  8. Secret Place
  9. My Heart
  10. Masterpiece

GATEWAY NEXT WORSHIP – LOOK UP CD PROMO from Gateway Worship on Vimeo.

“GatewayNEXT’s album “Look Up” has gone from Dove nominated to Dove winner! So grateful for the support of our Gateway Church family and proud of every single person who was involved.” – Gateway Church

THOUGHTS

This really is the Kids Worship album of 2013! It is from a local Church team working together to produce something that will reach the hearts and minds of kids. This is a Church that obviously has it’s eyes across the whole breadth of ages. There are resources oozing out on their store at gatewaycreate.com for all ages. It is just simply refreshing to see a Church who have brought out so much for adults and teens focus on kids, I love it!

Look Up contains 10 new worship songs written by the Gateway team of songwriters. Featuring Kari Jobe. These songs from gatewayNEXT hit the preteen age perfectly and there is a nice mix of live/rock tracks with pop/dance tracks.

Looking forward to much more of this in the future and I would love to to see a live recording, there are videos online of a performance from a Church service, but it would be great to see a full album!!

REVIEW

Some of these songs lean toward the ‘performance zone’ rather than a congregational vibe, which gives the album a high replay edge so after multiple listens in the car the repeat button stays on. The Gateway kids worship pastor Dana Johnson has not only written some great songs but also bought the best of Gateway Church Worship to create worship that kids all over the world can relate to!

More info at JesusFreakHideout

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Nummer 1 – Album Release

Hillsong Stockholm just released a kids music album!

It’s a collection of  some songs from our albums for the past few years (I actually haven’t heard it yet and am waiting to get a copy to see what they have done with the tunes).

Here’s what they had to say on their instagram:

Nu på söndag har vi release party för vårt nya Hillsong Kids album på svenska ‘Nummer 1’. Kom och fira med oss kl 10 och 12 när Hillsong Kids är med och framför några av låtarna från skivan. Vi ses på Nalen!

Which is something about a release party:

Anyway, was excited to share this and will post some links in the comments where you can buy this (especially if you speak Swedish or know someone who does!)

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Musical Moment: Kids Music – Go Fish

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

Go Fish are a group of guys that can really sing, I mean REALLY sing. I love the skills of acapella groups, like The Manhatten Transfer from back in the day and in Australia the Idea of North and in the Christian world The Katinas.  The roots of Go Fish are fully in acapella which makes them stand out big time in the genre of kids music.

Originally formed in 1993 by Jamie Statema and based in Minnesota. For 10 years their music was geared primarily to a teen and adult market, until 2003 when they released Splash!, an album aimed towards children.

 

Kids Music

The Go Fish guys have once again redefined what it means to make music for kids! Your children will be praising God with songs like My God, Glory, and Praise Your Name. The air guitars will be rockin’ with Fruit Of The Spirit and Kids Music! If you think you know what “kids music” sounds like…think again! Crank up the stereo in your minivan and let the fun begin!

We are continuing our mission of making great music for kids that won’t drive parents bonkers with our latest release KIDS MUSIC! So why the title Kids Music?  Simple.  We want kids ages 0-100 to know that this CD is specifically for them!  We also wanted to let the world know exactly what we do.  We make “kids music” and we make no apologies for it.  (The title track makes that quite clear!) My prayer is that your kids will love the new music and that this album will point kids to the only God who deserves our praise and glory! Thank you for allowing us to make music for your family.  It is an honor.

Tracklisting

1.My God
2. Glory
3. Fruit Of The Spirit
4. Praise Your Name
5. Walk With God
6. Jump (Featuring DJ Pray Z)
7. Gotta Move!
8. Fly Sally Fly
9. Shackles (Praise You)
10. Kids Music

THOUGHTS

This is an album whose parts fit together perfectly, the production of the music fits the singing style. Tight, clean and mixed expertly. I really appreciate music that has been through the professional wringer so to speak, taking the music to full potential.

Traditionally kids albums have a requisite variety of genres. You know, pop a reggae song in there, gotta have a hip-hop track, some kind of bluegrass for good measure. I like an album that has a cohesiveness to it, a variety that works together and Kids Music has exactly that. A nice mix of styles and even a fun songs (Fly Sally Fly) that are more about entertainment. That can be attributed to the production on the album I think, each track is balanced to work together.

And shackles is a classic that really works for the boys and their version is pretty sweet.

REVIEW

One of my strong focuses in this series is to highlight music that can be used with the kids at your Church. Now that’s not the main goal of every song, but I really like finding songs that will work .

I think that this is a great group of songs that work fantastic on at home, they are going in the kids playlist for sure. And you can see from the songs they include in their worship resource pack the ones they recommend for using at Church.

And that’s a nice way of making your songs available I think. Separate out the songs that will work in Church settings and make them available in a pack. A very good model for others to follow (including us!) 🙂

Check out this review for more thoughts.

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Musical Mention: Gospel Sunday School Songs – Cedarmont

*Musical Mention posts are more of a highlight feature rather than a source of no holds barred critical review. If you would like to suggest an album for a Music Moment feature then please comment below.

This is the second in the series I started recently that will hopefully highlight resources that you will be able to use at Church or at home. This album is the most recent in the prolific Cedarmont series. Gospel Sunday School Songs. I am fascinated by this long running series that pops out a new project with profuse frequency.

Gospel Sunday School Songs

The thing about Cedarmont is that they use very talented young people to sing. This is not a singular artist, or a Church based ministry, they can take the best of who they can find to sing these songs.

Cedarmont Kids is composed of kids from the Nashville area. They’re kids from the neighborhood and from various local churches.  Some of them have sung on records and appeared in other videos before, but many of them are just regular kids who love to sing and have fun. Cedarmont Kids won’t be formed if not for Mike and Sue Gay who established the Cedarmont Music, LLC from their home in Franklin, Tennessee. Since then the product line has grown to twelve audio titles, eight videos, twelve Spanish audio titles, three songbooks, and two musicals, and is now the #1 selling Christian Children’s music in the world!

This album brings a bunch of old school gospel songs together. Songs like Every Promise in the Book is Mine, Bless That Wonderful Name, Guide My Feet and Everybody Ought to Know are included in the album. The CD  includes two versions of each song. The first version is a normal recording that kids can listen to, and the second uses a split track, with the vocals only on one stereo track to make singing along easier.

Track Listing:

1. Bless That Wonderful Name
2. Free at Last
3. I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me
4. Standing in the Need of Prayer
5. Dry Bones
6. My Soul is a Witness for the Lord
7.The Welcome Table
8. Down to the River to Pray
9. Come and Go With Me to That Land
10. Old Time Religion
11. Everybody Ought to Know
12. Guide My Feet
13. I’m Going Home on the Morning Train
14. Chatter With the Angels
15. Every Promise in the Book is Mine

THOUGHTS

I am a sucker for some bluesy soulful gospel sounds with a rhodes and electric guitar wailing in the background. And so this album had me listening especially to Bless that Wonderful Name. I don’t even mind when it gets into some bluegrass gospel in I’m Going Home on the Morning Train. One of the cool things about gospel is that it allows soloists to shine and the tracks that have a soloist are my favourites.

I do feel like this is probably the best mix for the kids choir I have heard on a Cedarmont release, although I wouldn’t mind if they cheated and put a few teens in there whose voice have broken for another octave below the rest of the choir. 🙂

The graphic design for Cedarmont has a definite theme and strong brand to it, I think they could afford to break out of the mould and have the artwork reflect the music it is representing. The price is always right with Cedarmont, they are very cost effective and I think that is deliberate to get music into as many hands as possible. That’s great!

The album includes the split tracks for backing which is great for use in Church… I say give us lyric videos as well!

REVIEW

The website says that all their music is available in high-quality cassettes and CD’s, which means one of two things, no one is updating the website, or I have gone back in time to write this post. Time will tell.

Here’s a review from a Mum for another perspective.