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Parades and Panoramas - 25 Songs Collected By Carl Sandburg for the American Songbag

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Album Review

Fans who have followed Dan Zanes since 2001's Rocket Ship Beach probably noticed that the usual hubbub didn't attend the release of his 2004 album Sea Music. That was by design — Zanes wasn't sure a crowd accustomed to "Polly Wolly Doodle" could handle songs not aimed squarely at kids (drinking and general debauchery were among the subjects). He was wrong, of course — Sea Music is among his mostly highly regarded discs — and one hopes the lesson will lead to the masses discovering Parades and Panoramas, possibly his best and definitely his most ambitious CD yet. Zanes, wild-haired and wildly optimistic, refuses to strut the musical easy street: Panoramas is adapted directly from Carl Sandburg's 1927 book The American Songbag, a collection of the poet's observations of a "ragbag" America. Because of its origins, the disc can sound straight out of a Coen Brothers movie — you can practically see the dust kicking up on "Roll the Chariot" and "The Railroad Cars Are Coming." But the effect, rather than dulling the music's colors and textures or sweeping it into a corner alongside other Americana oddities, brightens what's on offer. Credit the unsurpassed inventiveness of Zanes and his usual collaborators, including Donald Saaf, Barbara Brousal, and Cynthia Hopkins. Some of these 25 songs are silly ("The Monkey's Wedding"), some devastatingly sad ("Lonesome Road"), and some flat-out, stunningly beautiful ("When the Curtains of Night Are Pinned Back"). All, however, will stay with you and your kids, permanently pinning back the curtains on a panorama you never knew existed but are enchanted to discover.

Customer Reviews

Family music, excellent music, first rate performers and musicians

DAN ZANES and his Band are some of the best musicians currently making music for any age group. A bold claim? In my opinion, Wanderin' is a gem of a song, a standout on this album, and if you can find me a better written tune--I'll eat my Stratocaster. The fact that 'Dan' also happens to be my 2 year-old daughter's favorite performer makes going to his shows a family event. His sound is outstanding and includes the crystal clear vocals of BARBARA BROUSAL who lends her voice to some of Dan's best songs like...HELLO...Dan also performs duet on other albums with people like Aimee Mann on NIGHT OWLS and Cheryl Crow on the old favorite POLLY WOLLY DOODLE...If you are going to be listening to kid friendly music you might as well play something everyone can listen too! Other band members like, Father Goose lends a bit of the Jamaica to the mix. If you like melodic, well formulated songs, collaborative albums and a sound that appeals to those who like American roots music, Latin and Carribean influences, then Dan Zanes is the man. On this particular album Dan plays the role of musical historian on others he creates well-crafted, melodic songs that stand up to anything I have heard. If you are lucky enough to see him do so. This is more than music it is about life after your thirties. It is about good melodies that are timeless. It is a revolution people!!! This music makes me happier than most 'mainstream rock and pop bands' could ever hope to! 5 STARS!


Born: 1961 in Exeter, NH

Genre: Children's Music

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

After years of rocking in the 1980s with the Del Fuegos, singer/songwriter Dan Zanes created his own band, the Dan Zanes Trio, in 1994. The group got started when Zanes was hanging out with producer Mitchell Froom in Lower Manhattan; after adding drummer Jerry Marotta, they began playing their sparse blues and folk-rock to small crowds in clubs like the CBGB Gallery. Produced by Froom, the trio's debut LP, Cool Down Time, a raw rock effort influenced by '60s-era R&B, appeared in 1995. In 2001 Zanes...
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Parades and Panoramas - 25 Songs Collected By Carl Sandburg for the American Songbag, Dan Zanes
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