What happens when you mix the gorgeous voice of kindie favorite Renee Stahl of Renee & Jeremy with a motley vocal crew that includes Maya Rudolph, Molly Shannon, Caspar Babypants, Lisa Loeb, and guest appearances from the lead singers of Men at Work and Toad the Wet Sprocket? The result is Simpatico, the perfectly named, perfectly cohesive album for families that is full of surprises.

Like Maya Rudolph singing Prince, and totally killing it.

I feel so fortunate to get the scoop on this fabulous new album that I think tons of families will love, right from opener Gather Round, in which Renee’s beautiful, lush voice pairs so well with Lisa Loeb’s iconic 90’s one. And there are plenty of special moments throughout, like the spoken word piece Are We There Yet? by Colin Hay of 80’s super group Men at Work (!!) which brought tears to my eyes as I reflected on how fast this journey is going.

It’s clear that Renee Stahl and her producer Rich Jacques know all the artists on this album personally, and worked with each of them to develop songs that would highlight their unique personalities and voices. In fact one of my favorite songs on Simpatico is easily the cover of Prince’s Starfish and Coffee featuring the soulful Maya Rudolph joining with Renee. It’s a wonderful, gentle arrangement that I keep playing over in my head all day long and if nothing else, be sure to check out the sample of this track.


Renee & Friends' Simpatico album for kids, featuring Maya Rudolph and other guest artists

Renee & Friend's new album Simpatico with Molly Shannon and producer Rich Jacques

It’s not just the music though that makes this album a must-download; there are a lot of poignant lyrics that remind young listeners how important they are to their grown ups. Then there’s Caspar Babypants’ I Am Not Afraid, an upbeat, affirming anthem for kids who are starting to make their way out into this big, sometimes scary world.

And boy will you love hearing Molly Shannon’s big laugh at the end of her solo, Happiness, from You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown; who’d have thought that the actress behind Mary Katherine Gallagher would one day be the voice that helps add warm fuzzies to a fantastic family friendly album.

Pre-order your copy of Simpatico by Renee & Friends now before it releases on August 28.

Photos: One Melody Records