Celebration of Country

Country Music Stars Sing Diverse Kid-Friendly Tunes

Produced by Lisa Silver

Music for Little People won't need to twist many plaid-shirted arms to get Nashville junkies spinning Celebration of Country for their young 'uns, but moms and dads who'd sooner be flattened by a tractor than take in a Shania Twain show may be better served by this record. For here's a chance not only to pick and grin alongside big belt-buckled stalwarts like Charlie Daniels and guitar giants like Chet Atkins (who covers the loopy chestnut "I Am My Own Grandpaw"), but also to explore, with the little folks this disc was meant for, a nifty sprinkling of subgenres.

Cleve Francis takes this set in a swampy direction with the Cajun waltz "Family Is," Crystal Gayle gets front-porch swings swaying with the Appalachian lullaby "Angel Kisses," and Michael Martin Murphey, the '70s-era one-hit wonder who tugged at the heartstrings of horse lovers with "Wildfire," reaches into his western-music roots for "One Hundred Years from Now," an appeal to litterbugs sure to reform back-seat wrapper-tossers.

There's the occasional swing toward the contemporary--Faith Hill leans pop-heavy on the ballad "Before You Grow," Randy Travis contemplates "The Nature of Things," and Tracy Byrd bangs out a boot-scooter with "Get in Line"--but the big names don't drown out the desired effect which, as in the other 13 titles in the roundly excellent Celebration series, is an evenhanded tour through a type of music worth taking your hat off to. Here, of course, it's a cowboy hat--one with a brim wide enough to keep even those with super-low twang tolerances from wandering off.

--Tammy La Gorce