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Children - Released November 13, 2012 | Festival Five Records

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Children - Released August 25, 2017 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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Children - Released June 29, 2018 | Festival Five Records

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Folk/Americana - Released July 22, 2014 | Festival Five Records

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Country - Released September 14, 2004 | Festival Five Records

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. © Tammy La Gorce /TiVo
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Children - Released September 10, 2021 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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Folk/Americana - Released April 27, 2004 | Festival Five Records

Former Del Fuegos frontman Dan Zanes continues his homespun children's folk series with a set of shanties and other nautical delights on the appropriately titled Sea Music. In the grand tradition of briny stalwarts like Ewan MacColl, Paul Clayton, and A.L. Lloyd, Zanes keeps things simple, employing a small folk ensemble and chorus that allow the songs the infinite headroom that their menial subject matter requires. As expected, there's an underlying sense of whimsy that caters to the younger crowd, but Zanes seems genuinely inspired by the genre, offering heartfelt renditions of classics like "Shenandoah" and "Mingulay Boat Song" with a deep historical reverence. The performances are raw and authentic -- they were recorded in his kitchen -- and the instrumentation flirts with country, blues, and British folk with grace and humor. The Smithsonian Folkways-style packaging and extensive liner notes convey his passion for preservation, providing everything from chord changes to recommended recordings for further study, but it's the earthy enthusiasm that bubbles up beneath work songs like "Cape Cod Girls" and "Blow Ye Winds in the Morning" that resonates the deepest. Sea Music is quietly bombastic, thoroughly charming, and surprisingly authentic, especially when the quintessential drunk sailor song, "All for Me Grog," is led by an 11-year-old. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Children - Released July 28, 2021 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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Children - Released June 28, 2021 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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Children - Released September 8, 2004 | Festival Five Records

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Children - Released September 1, 2021 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

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Children - Released May 12, 2009 | Festival Five Records

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Children - Released July 5, 2011 | Festival Five Records

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Pop - Released December 2, 2008 | Festival Five Records

Ex-Del Fuego turned pioneering children's music auteur Dan Zanes' The Welcome Table! Songs of Inspiration, Mystery & Good Times collects 15 new and previously released recordings to benefit "the New Sanctuary Movement," a "coalition of interfaith religious leaders and participating congregations, called by our faith to respond actively and publicly to the suffering of our immigrant brothers and sisters residing in the United States." The message rings true throughout the collection, as Zanes has been a staunch proponent of multicultural musical mayhem throughout his long career, releasing a diverse set of post-Del Fuegos records that celebrated traditional music from all over the world. This time around, he draws from North American gospel traditions, pitching a revival tent filled with a rotating cast of musicians who plow through inspirational standards like "Jesus on the Mainline," "Roll the Chariot," and "By and By" with their typical blend of grace and dexterity. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Children - Released August 18, 2017 | Smithsonian Folkways Recordings