This review from KidsMusicThatRocks says it all:
We were talking earlier about "Naptime Music," tunes that are not really lullabies, but songs to contemplate while you're watching clouds float by or just taking a break from the annoying skronk of the world in general. Sunflow's Under the Stars is another great example of that genre, an album that features soothing lyrics, loads of harmonies, and knowing nods to Emitt Rhodes, Harry Nilsson, Paul McCartney & Wings, The High Llamas, and Barry Manilow. Personally, this is ex.act.ly the kind of record that makes me want to plug in my bass and sing that fourth or fifth harmony part.
American Nancy Falkow and Dubliner Fran King, both accomplished popmeisters in their own right, teamed up to create Under the Stars with help from fellow melody maker Duncan Maitland. All three are based in Ireland now, which may account for the lyrical images of oceans, rain, rivers, and seas that populate several of the songs on Under the Stars.
Fran and Nancy trade off lead vocals on every other song, singing their own compositions. Under the Stars kicks off with the co-written, impossibly beautiful "(When You're In) Slumberland," Fran's Harry Nilsson homage. I just can't believe people are still allowed to write songs this good! Next is Nancy's sweetly jaunty "I Wish You Love," reminiscent of Nilsson's late '60s tunes (Sunflow love Nilsson!), and not a little similar to The Jellydots' "Pretty Little Baby." Fran follows with his very Paul McCartney-like "Eve's Lullaby (My Little One)," a song so tasty the ex-Beatle would trade his knighthood for it.
Nancy's "Sleepytown" is a quietly acoustic tune that contains the awesome line "Bumpy, rumbling stones will sooth your soul / Just a little break from rock and roll", after which waves wash up on a shore, fading into Fran's "Daisies & Orchids." The song begins serenely and builds into another McCartney-ish tune, with a chorus straight outta Paul's Flowers in the Dirt era. And Nancy's "Rock-A-Bye Dreams" is another mostly acoustic tune that would (and should) be a chart-topper on American country radio.
Fran's breezy "August Moon" features the baion beat that so fascinated Leiber & Stoller and Pomus & Shuman (check out "Spanish Harlem," "There Goes My Baby," "Save the Last Dance for Me," and "This Magic Moment"), and a chorus that would have been right at home on McCartney's Red Rose Speedway. The sweeping "Now Sleep" is Nancy's exploration of the connection between parents and their children, and the comfort kids take in mom or dad's arms at bedtime. The album ends with Fran's soft Tin Pan Alley tune, "Dreamboat," and Nancy's dreamy waltz, "Goodnight."
I've talked a lot on this blog about music being a powerful entity, a force that transcends genre, era, or listener age. This here album is so full of good vibes and beautiful melodies it's a shame you have to cobble it with a label like "children's music" ... so we won't! Under the Stars is music, folks ... dig it, and buy copies for all your family.
Billed as a collection of sleep songs to be enjoyed by parent and child together, Nancy Falkow & Fran King have put together the sweetest tunes that rival the best albums of the like including the remarkable Harry Nilsson album, "The Point." The melodies are impeccable and the songs flow with love and kindness. A great example of which is Fran King's "Eve's Lullaby" which is more McCartney-esque than anything by Sir Paul himself. Nancy outdoes herself song after song, epitomized by "Sleepytown." Maybe this was intended for kids but it is a wonderful album for anyone who appreciates truly great music. Highly recommended!!!
Dean Sciarra - ItsAboutMusic.com
Play (When You're In) Slumberland
Play I Wish You Love
Play Samples of the entire album
Songs on this album are:
(When You're In) Slumberland
I Wish You Love
Eve's Lullaby (My Little One)
Daisies and Orchids
Recommend artists: Space Opera
(DUBLIN, Ireland)"Under the Stars" a ten-song collection of lush, sweet melodies to help get to Slumberland, will be available for advance digital download to the press and bloggers globally on October 7.
The new duo, SUNFLOW, is the brainchild of two trans-atlantic songwriters Nancy Falkow(USA) and Fran King(IRELAND). Upon a chance meeting at a train station in Dublin, Ireland, Falkow and King became fast friends due to their mutual musical interests.
A few years and ten timeless tracks later, "Under the Stars" was born. Originally intended as a lullaby album, the songs seemed to take on a life of their own. Drafted in to augment this project was producer, engineer and multi-instrumentalist Duncan Maitland (The Honeybus/Colin Hare), who elegantly and effortlessly brought out the best in each composition.
Having both recently become parents, Falkow and King had searched in vain to find music on the market to equal such time honoured records as Harry Nilsson's classic "The Point" and Carole King’s “Really Rosie.” They then decided to put together an album of their own-- music for parents and children to enjoy together-- and Sunflow shone.
"After I heard Fran's song, 'Eve's Lullaby,' I was inspired to write something for my little girl," explained Falkow. "I would be honoured if kids that hear this, grow up and revisit it with their kids someday."
Sumptuous, warm vocal arrangements rest comfortably on beds of acoustic guitars, strings, and keys. The result is an enchantingly refreshing album that celebrates childhood innocence & parenthood. “Under the Stars” is a must for any new parent, and lovers of songs that brim with melodic harmony!
"After listening back to the final masters of this album, I became very aware of the reality that songs and records of this style are almost a lost art," discussed King. "I had Harry Nilsson in one ear, and James Taylor at my shoulder (in my head anyway) with Carole King waxing the melodies--I hope this album inspires listeners as much as it's influences have inspired us."
Fran King, native of Dublin, is a pop/rock artist with an internationally acclaimed debut album (“Beautification”/Head Space Records/2006) already under his belt, and a follow up album "Anywhere but Here" due for release in 2009. Nancy Falkow is a native of Philadelphia (via New Jersey) currently based in Dublin, with three equally melodic albums already in her discography, her last release being the well received, Clear View (2004.)
“Sailing along on an ocean of sound on a ship that's always homeward bound, With you on my shoulders as I hold the wheel, you make every moment, a moment to steal.” - 'Daisies and Orchids' (fran king)
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