A new children’s album from a Yukon artist is now available on digital download with a physical release upcoming in a post-pandemic world.
The album, called Broccoli Farm, was written by Claire Ness and released digitally on May 1 on the Bandcamp app for $10.
Ness said she has been working on the 10-song album for the past two years.
She started it through a grant from Yukon Media Development, which resulted in a four-song demo. Last year, six more songs were written and added. She spent the winter getting the songs ready for release with Bob Hamilton at the Old Crow Recording Studios, including the arranging and mixing.
It didn’t stop there. She worked on designing art for the album. She hired graphic designer Misha Donahoe to come up with something and the pair have been corresponding by email back and forth since January.
“She did a great cover,” Ness said.
Ness wrote the music and the lyrics for the album. She wrote the songs on her guitar. Her process starts by coming up with a melody and from there she figures out what chords she wants to play. Others contributed to arranging horns and other such elements.
She credits multiple people with helping write and come up with the music.
Ness’ voice does appear on the recordings.
Her rhythm guitar can be heard on some tracks but it was mostly taken out of the mix with other instruments filling in the rhythm roles.
That is all right by her, as she explains that she is not musically trained and feels she is not the greatest guitar player.
The music on the album should appeal to kids and adults, she explained, because it is fun and original. There is humour in the songs that relate to parenthood.
“I think it’s fun for everyone, not just kids,” Ness said.
She said it is escapism that could be valuable considering current events.
There are songs about being outside, climbing trees and using a swing set.
The name Broccoli Farm comes from a video she saw on Facebook, “Max Really Wants to go to the Broccoli Farm.” In the video, parents tell their kids they are going to a broccoli farm but it is a ruse to surprise them with a visit to the circus. Max is upset because he wanted to go to the farm, she said laughing.
The music features a wide array of instruments and diverse music styles. She said producer Grant Simpson infused some jazz elements into the playing. He is credited as playing piano, banjo, ukulele and saw.
“The Yukon is so full of awesome musicians,” Ness said.
She adds that there were bluegrass, indie pop, blues-rock, and lullaby elements in the music also.
“The genre of kids music is so open that way that you can explore different genres,” Ness said.
She said Simpson was great with implementing instrumentation.
“I feel really grateful to have worked with so many great people,” she said.
Her original plan was to wait and release this album later in the year since she had accepted a producer job with the Atlin Music Festival. This fell through when it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I decided to focus my time and energy and get it out now instead of later,” Ness explained.
She has ordered some CDs, vinyl and booklets, to be made available later. She wants to wait on releasing any physical copy or other merchandise until public gatherings can be held once again.
She wants to have a big party that would be free for all kids. It would involve the circus, with face painting and balloon animals. She added she could rent a tent and have it in a park.
“We’ll have to wait and see, it might be next year,” Ness joked.
There were some pre-purchases. She will be sending the CDs and vinyl copies out to people once she gets them, but overall she is waiting until her release party.
She still wants to have the physical release rather than just go through digital platforms like Spotify. She said it is not profitable to just go that route.
What inspired her to write and produce an album of children’s music was her son and experience working with kids.
Ness has been working with kids for most of her life. She has worked in daycares, been a gymnastics coach and taught at circus camps. She started the Circus Society in Yukon, which is a camp to encourage kids to be creative and have fun.
“I’ve been working with kids for a long time and writing songs for kids,” Ness said.
She started writing songs for kids and eventually had a child of her own, inspiring her to write an album. She adds this came at the perfect time since her son is old enough to appreciate the music as the album is for kids age three to seven.
“He’s right in the target market,” Ness said.
Contact Gord Fortin at email@example.com