THERE HAVE been a lot of folk music albums for children, but very few specifically in the bluegrass style. It's a strange omission, for bluegrass -- with its lively banjo, sweet harmonies and consistent rhythms -- is a natural for kids. Phil Rosenthal, lead singer and guitarist with the Seldom Scene, compensates for this gap with an appealing new album, "Turkey in the Straw: Bluegrass Songs for Children."
The record is aimed rather young: the simple singalongs, the spelling song and an introduction to bluegrass instruments are clearly intended for pre-schoolers and first-graders. This doesn't rob the tunes of their winning charm, though. Rosenthal has an easygoing naturalness that reminds one of Pete Seeger.
Rosenthal recorded the album as a one-man band: he played banjo, mandolin, guitar and bass; and Ann Vaughn and his daughter Naomi joined in on harmony vocals. The tracks are never cluttered and invite participation.
PHIL ROSENTHAL -- "Turkey in the Straw: Bluegrass Songs For Children" (American Melody AM-101). Phil Rosenthal and Turkey in the Straw perform special children's concerts at the Barns of Wolf Trap, Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1. Rosenthal performs with the Seldom Scene at the Barns Saturday night and every Thursday evening at the Birchmere.