Bill Harley, a 2-time Grammy winner and prolific children’s entertainer, has released his 26th album of stories and songs for families. In Further Around the Bend he takes us back a fictional town he developed in his 2003 album. This town and its characters and history are very well-developed. In fact your family might be tempted to pull out the atlas to prove the existence of such a place. Certainly by the end of the album you’re sure you know the residents personally.
The town’s characters boast goofy names like Melody Rimshot, Skeezy Boofer, and Terrence Froom. Every last one of them is endearingly charming. Each one of the townsfolk has a unique set of skills and interests to share and they all help each other out without judgment or disdain. Indeed it’s a veritable utopia of neighbourly kindness. While our own communities may not resemble this one, we can all certainly take lessons and try to emulate better behaviour. There’s some fantastic modeling available.
Although this album would be great on a long trip, each story is self-contained. This way if you’re listening in the car on short trips you don’t miss out on important plot twists or story arcs.
I love the unrushed reverie in the storytelling and the peaceful songs between. Even more so, I love the attention given to the townspeople’s quirks. Those quirks are features that make the individual and the town richer and happier. Your children will love the silly names and very relatable stories of saving worms and losing teeth. But I think they’ll also appreciate knowing that our differences are our strengths.
I received this album free of charge for the purpose of this review.