CD review: “Music for Minors (Ages 3 to 300)”

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CD review

“Music for Minors (Ages 3 to 300)”

Wolf Van Elfmand

Although he titled his new album “Music for Minors,” Wolf Van Elfmand wants to focus on the broad age recommendation in the subtitle. It’s for the young, but also the young at heart, and it’s hard not to enjoy at any age.

Wolf’s new collection of family-friendly folk-pop tunes is kind of like the musical version of a Pixar movie: It’s seemingly just for kids, but there are enough hooks and jokes to keep parents’ attention. And, just like the best Pixar movies, this release might even be revisited after junior’s bedtime.

When he’s not staging folk showcases or reuniting Von Stomper, Wolf is a certified music therapist. He said he started writing these original songs for his therapy sessions in pediatric cancer wards.

“(Music) is an outlet for emotional expression, and it can be a distraction from the intensity of hospitals,” Wolf said in a short phone interview about the new album.

Wolf started collecting these therapeutic compositions, alongside covers of some folk classics (it’s never too early to introduce tykes to Dave Von Ronk’s “Green, Green Rocky Road” and Elizabeth Cotton’s “Freight Train”), and some other tunes he was kicking around.

“The idea of the record came to be is that it’s a collection of songs that were a little more playful and light-hearted, and that didn’t have a good home on my other projects,” Wolf said.

The standout track on the 24-minute record is the single, “Flexible Cowboy Man,” about a rustler who turns to yoga and lentils. It’s a clever earworm with classic jokes and Wolf’s distinctive howl.

If you’re not left humming the tune and chuckling at the image, your inner child might just be lost forever.

— Steve Graham

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