Review – Fred Penner

Album: Hear the Music
Release Date: April 21, 2017
Genre: Children’s/ Singer-Songwriter

Hello, my name is Emily and I am a Fred-Head.

I’m not going to lie, I was ridiculously giddy to get to review Hear the Music. I may have flailed and squeed and said “Me! Me! Me! Me! Me!” to my editor when it came available. I am not ashamed. So, I acknowledge that I came to this review with some mild bias, but maybe that makes me a better choice. I’m going to hold him to a higher standard.

What makes this album unique is that Penner is collaborating with some amazing talent; Ron Sexsmith, Basia Bulat, and Alex Cuba are just a few of the eclectic mix of musicians that Penner works with. Taking from those influences you have a lovely convection of diverse sounds spread across the whole album, but Penner’s signature sound – that song structure that is purely Fred – is the golden thread that weaves it all together. You go from buoyant bilingual tunes with “Bienvenue” and “La Vida” (which sports a sassy salsa rhythm) to reggae influenced “Hold Your Head Up” which in itself sports a southern influenced fiddle solo, which works surprisingly well. If I had to pick a favourite song, it would probably be the Native influenced lullaby “Catcher of The Dreams”, a pan-flute infused tune that floats into the subconscious.

The bottom line is Fred Penner is a national treasure and should probably be on a stamp or on a coin and Hear the Music should be part of the welcome packet given to tourists and immigrants alike who want to know just what a slice of Canadiana sounds like.

Listening to this album is like listening to joy; it’s like listening to summer sunshine and it’s beaming your way on April 21.


April 22  Ottawa, ON – Shenkman Arts Center

April 23 Toronto, ON – Lula Lounge

Connect with Fred Penner:

I’m Emily Frewin. I remember my dad teaching me how to take care of a record before I knew how to tie my shoes. Laying on the floor of my living room listening at full volume to a new album or bathing in the glory of an old one was how I spent most of my childhood and adolescence. Writing and music have always been important to me, so I’m very excited to be writing for Canadian Beats. I have a dog, a husband, and several children, some of which may or may not be mine. I spend my days fighting off the on-set of dementia by working for a Geomatics company, listening to music, trying to sell my children, watching movies, and planning out how to kidnap Idris Elba. I also own a T-Rex costume.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login