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Dan Zanes and Friends

The Fine Friends Are Here!

(Festival Five/Razor & Tie; US: 22 Sep 2009; UK: 22 Sep 2009)

Years ago, Dan Zanes disbanded his college-rock outfit, the Del Fuegos, and focused on fans who would give him unconditional dance-party love: children. Folks who became parents during the George W. Bush years are likely familiar with the Dan Zanes House Party segments that run between episodes of Handy Manny and Little Einsteins on the Disney Channel. Zanes’ latest release, The Fine Friends Are Here!, a DVD that collects a live performance in front a small room of pre-schoolers and their mommies, highlights Zanes’ signature recipe of ramshackle Americana and Phyllis Diller hair. What sets Zanes’ music apart from other kiddie fare is that he doesn’t play kids songs, really. Instead, he plays “Wasbash Cannonball” because he figures, hey, kids like banjos and trains. The DVD comes with a bonus CD that also includes a lullaby, a Beatles cover, and other songs that you’ll probably let ride even when the kids in the backseat have conked out.

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Steve Leftridge has written about music, film, and books for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, No Depression, and PlaybackSTL. He holds an MA in literature from the University of Missouri, for whom he is an adjunct teacher, and he's been teaching high school English and film in St. Louis since 1998. Follow at SteveLeftridge@Twitter.com.


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