Various Artists

Country Goes Raffi

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Long respected as a children's music singer/songwriter, Raffi's work is celebrated and interpreted by adults (and one kid) on Country Goes Raffi, a collection featuring the Wilkinsons, Rhonda Vincent, and Eric Heatherly's performances of their favorite Raffi songs. Asleep at the Wheel takes "The Bowling Song" in a mellow, Western swing direction that manages to be fun and sophisticated at the same time; Raul Malo's version of "Thanks a Lot" is equally playful, in a quietly Latin-tinged way; and Marty Stuart adds a twangy bluegrass tinge to "Naturally." The collection also features traditional children's songs that also happen to be Raffi favorites, such as "Apples and Bananas" (performed here by Keith Urban) and "This Little Light of Mine" (sung with a playful twist by Elizabeth Cook), as well as two of his new compositions: "Blessed Be," a touching lullaby sung by Alison Krauss, and the eco-friendly "Blue White Planet," performed by Raffi himself. Lee Roy Parnell's poignant "Rise and Shine" and Lari White's appropriately goofy "Shake My Sillies Out" are some of the tribute's other highlights, along with Billy Gillman's cute rendition of "Baby Beluga"; it seems apt that a country music tribute to one of children's music's leading lights features a country music star who's also young enough to be a Raffi fan. Charming and surprisingly eclectic, Country Goes Raffi should please kids and parents alike.

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