Kindie rock is definitely a thing, so it’s not surprising that kindie-folk is a thing. And I do mean kindie-folk, not singer/songwriter (mad props to Tom Chapin though, that was my childhood right there). Hello Friend by The Hollow Trees is a vintage-style string band that also happens to be singing to children. Given the quirkiness of old-timey string bands [and the fact that “I Can’t Dance (I’ve Got Ants in My Pants)” is a real historical song that was sung to adults], nothing in this album is that out-of-character for this type of sound.
So! Goofy lyrics abound (“What Do You Want on Your Taco?”, “Backward Bill,” “I Like To Draw”), but there’s also some here for the parents (“Poor Papa,” “It Ain’t No Fault of Mine,” “My Metaphor,” “The Whole Thing”) that have more depth when I thought about them. The music rattles along smile-inducingly with jaunty banjo strum, acoustic guitar picking, accordion, occasional kazoo, and fun male/female vocals. Closer “The Harmony Hills” plays up the warbling, breaking vocals to hide that it’s really a beautiful shuffle-snare country ballad; this band has chops, don’t sleep on that. If you’re looking for a really fun, summery folk album, you’ll find an unexpected gem in Hello Friend.