Laurie Berkner – Music Review

laurie Berkner with guitar

In 2014, in preparation for a concert at Beth El Synagogue, both Joy and Gianna reviewed the music of Laurie Berkner with (not-surprisingly, but amusingly) opposite opinions. We’ve combined both reviews here and are sharing again in preparation for a new album release on October 4th, 2019. Berkner’s 2019 album, Waiting For The Elevator, is a compilation of 19 songs about “exploring and learning emotional, practical and life skills.” You can check out Berkner’s YouTube channel here.

Waiting can be difficult, but it’s more fun when there are things to do together while we wait, like in the song, “Waiting For The Elevator.”

Gianna’s Review:

I learned about Laurie Berkner through my public library and one of my favorite local librarians.  At first, I wasn’t too sure if I would like her.

A lady.

Playing a guitar.

And singing.

That sounds, um, boring.  Yeah, that’s the word.

Except for the fact that that she’s a lady who plays the guitar and sings!

To top it all off, she writes really fun songs.  About chickens and the rain and an airplane and cookie bakers and playing pretend and so much more. Each song tells a story and there’s always movement.  Even if it’s not specified, her music is easy to dance to–for everyone.  Take it from a non-dancer, you will be dancing!  Just watch this video with your little one and I dare you to NOT be a dinosaur.

She is so much fun.

Joy’s Review:

I’m a little clueless when it comes to corporate pop. Despite the fact that she hit the national scene around 2001, the first time I heard of Laurie Berkner was when we partnered with Beth El Synagogue to promote their fundraiser for their Preschool Tuition Assistance program.

My kids loved Laurie Berkner’s music instantly. Her singer-songwriter style is straightforward and unpretentious; and she is easy to sing along with because she stays in a key most people can reach. If you are a Laurie Berkner fan, her is a must for the minivan.

She’s a little more hit and miss for me. I find the music a bit too syrupy sweet. Maybe because there is always so much chaos in my house, I find myself going to the stereo to turn off her music. To be honest, I can list at least five local children’s CDs that I would drop in my CD player first. My best advice is that if you like pop music, you’ll probably like Laurie Berkner for all the reasons my kids do. If your musical tastes lean more toward independent music, put the CD in your kids room and let them listen when they are playing on their own.

2018 Update from Joy: Despite my earlier review, Berkner has become one of my go tos when I’m seeking out classic kids songs to add to a family Spotify lists. While I stick to my original opinion that we have better local family music, I seriously was clueless as to what was out there nationally. At least Berkner’s music employs real instruments and musicians.

Our favorite song she did is a classic camp song, The Cat Came Back, by Harry S. Miller.

Where to Find Laurie Berkner Music:

After reading our reviews, if you want to decide for yourself, you can hear Laurie Berkner’s music on her YouTube channel. You can also find her in all the obvious streaming services like Spotify and iTunes. Like Gianna said, you can find her albums at the library.

While the 2014 Beth El Synagogue show has come and gone, watch our Performing Arts Plan Ahead Calendar for any upcoming shows. She doesn’t make it to the Midwest very often, but we’ve joined her fan club so we can let you know the next time she coming to Minnesota.


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