It all started with a simple idea, really: to make a CD of kidsâ€™ music that adults could enjoy, not just tolerateâ€”a collection of original songs for parents who appreciate the likes of Jack Johnson, Nick Drake, and Aimee Mann. The result is a treasure chest of luminous harmonies and sophisticated lullabies that are unlike any childrenâ€™s music youâ€™ve ever heard. Itâ€™s A Big World is a thoughtful, nuanced, and long-overdue departure from the Wheels-On-The-Bus rut that childrenâ€™s music generally veers into. These are songs by two gifted musicians (and parents) who understand the difference between sweet and saccharineâ€”and who know their audience does, too. Most importantly, though, they are songs with heart.
Everything from the writing to the recording was an earnest and intimate venture. The title track came to Jeremy Toback (guitar, vocals) on a walk with his 1-year-old son, Ezraâ€”after wondering what life would be like through his eyes. And Renee Stahl (vocals) crafted her haunting and minimalist lullaby, Powder Blue, out of her own meditations on motherhood before becoming one herself. Committed to keeping the production as raw and personal as possible, Renee and Jeremy recorded the entire album in what would in a matter of weeks become the nursery for Reneeâ€™s first daughter, Amelia. The duo vowed not to be afraid to let the odd minor key shade a little dark into the albumâ€™s sunny canvas, and to have fun with their lyrics without straying from the underlying positive message. Through and through, Renee and Jeremyâ€™s genuine musical chemistry and uplifting energy is almost palpable.
The albumâ€™s most miraculous accomplishment is one that you will have to discover yourself: in the morning on your way to the office, or late at night, long after theyâ€™ve gone to bed, you will find yourself slipping the CD into your stereo, alone this time, and you will sing alongâ€”and your eyes may get a bit teary, but they will never, ever be rolling.
Jeremy Toback has released two critically acclaimed CDs on RCA, 1997â€™s Perfect Flux Thing and 1999â€™s Another True Fiction which yielded the radio hit, You Make Me Feel, before parting with the label in 2001. He is an original member of the band Brad along with Stone Gossard of Pearl Jam, and later went on to found his own record label for yoga music.
Tracks from Renee Stahlâ€™s first CD, Melancholy Pop, have been featured on television series such as Roswell, Wonderfalls, and Party of Five. Her latest release, Hopeful Romantic, will be distributed nationally by Barnes & Noble Booksellers.