Joanie Bartels

Adventures with Family and Friends

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Family and Friends attempts to target a slightly older audience than Bartels' "Magic" series, but the music is still singalong sweet. This time around, most of the covers come from the pop charts, from Sister Sledge's "We Are Family" to Michael Bolton's "Love Is A Wonderful Thing." More impressive, however, are the originals, showcasing Bartels and songwriting partner Chris Rhyne's ability to tap into what makes kids kids. "Pen Pals" and "Best Friends" capture the essence of childhood, while Bartels' cover of "That's What Friends Are For" manages to avoid the gloppy sentimentality of Dionne Warwick's overwrought version.

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