Over the course of six beautiful albums, Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower, made up of Elizabeth, her husband Daniel Littleton and their daughter Storey, have invited listeners to join them and other friends and relatives to become part of an extended musical family.
I’ve been a fan of Elizabeth from the beginning, but the band’s latest Smithsonian Folkways album release Blue Clouds, is my favorite.
The music on Blue Clouds is still intimate and pure, covering traditional folk songs, but the band has added classic songs by David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, Van Morrison, and Bill Withers and transformed them into folk songs. The earliest You Are My Flower albums were perfect for my babies. But as my babies have grown, so has the band’s music. Still sweet, family music for all ages, there’s a maturity and confidence in Elizabeth’s voice and the music, is more layered and full. These elements make this latest album one that is a true family album, with songs that all ages will enjoy. And that’s a difficult thing to do. Many “family bands” or kindie rockers play great music your kids love, but that you don’t want to hear all the time. There are very few in the genre that truly play music for all.
Mitchell looks to her childhood memories of 1970s radio on road trips in the family station wagon, and the resulting versions of “Kooks” by David Bowie, “May This Be Love” by Jimi Hendrix, “Blue Sky” by The Allman Brothers Band, “Everyone” by Van Morrison, and “I Wish You Well” by Bill Withers display Mitchell’s care in presenting popular material in a family music context. I’m stating for the record, that Liz’s version of Bowie’s “Kooks” is even better than the original. Take a listen here.
In addition to the great covers, some original songs are stand outs. “Blue Clouds,” the title track, was written by Daniel Littleton as a lullaby for Storey when she was only three and is a fitting way to close this loving collection. I first heard this song in A Family is a Family is a Family: A Rosie O’Donnell Celebration, the HBO documentary for children made in 2012, and fell in love with it. It’s a gorgeous lullaby, which as the last track on the album, ends Blue Clouds on a lovely note.
Blue Clouds by Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower will be available on October 22. I highly recommend it for your family.