Big Audio World, made up of a collective of Portland musicians and other seasoned pros, just released a new children’s album, The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow. The nautical-themed album offers a stellar production filled with rich vocals, catchy tunes, inventive storytelling and plenty of life lessons for kids along the way. the peculiar tales of the s.s. bungalow

photo: The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow album cover, by Magmatic Northwest

The album opens with the sights and sounds of a fisherman’s market, where people are invited to step inside The Museum of Maritime Wonderments and Nautical Oddidies. Listeners are then transported back in time to the story of Sleepytime Gregory, a struggling fisherman who discovers a treasure map. In no time flat, the captain, his best friend Toothpick and pet beagle, Tater-Tot, prepare to set sail on a grand sea voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, headed to the Lullaby Islands in search of treasure.

Along their journey, the crew transforms the fisherman’s old, wooden boat into the S.S. Bungalow, say good-bye to friends, make new friends and discovers how powerful a beagle’s nose (and appetite) can be. Songs about obstacles, riddles and legends carry the listener through the album until the end, where an albatross leads them to meet the Lullabeans on the islands where Monsters Never Sleep. It is here that they uncover the treasure that’s more powerful than gold.

The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow

photo: Big Audio World by Magmatic Northwest

Creators, Laki Karavias (founder of Magmatic Northwest creative studio), and singer-songwriter Jason Reuter, selected the musicians from Portland and a nationwide talent pool, including narration by Kevin Barbare, instrumentals and vocals with Eric Earley, from Blitzentrapper, as well as songs sung by gospel singer, Liz Vice. Instruments on some of the songs include a washboard, fiddle and spoons.

Most of the album is mellow, but a few tunes keep it lively, like Swab the Deck, Sleepytime Greg, This Island Life and Life Is Good. Fair warning, if you have a little one who is having a sensitive day, you may be able to avoid additional tears by skipping the song, Aquinas, and save it for another time. The song is a sentimental number about saying goodbye to a pet fish who passes.  It is a beautiful song though and, if you do happen to hear it, just be ready for the conversation.

Unlike some other kids’ albums that might grate on your nerves from the moment you hit the play button, The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow is pleasant to listen to all the way through and would make a nice addition to a family road trip or during a play date where it can be heard in its entirety.

The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow is available on iTunes, AmazonCD Baby and ssbungalow.com, and is also being released this month as a two-CD, illustrated digi-pack, at places around town, including Green Bean Books. The digi-pack includes one CD with the story, punctuated by music, the second CD is just the music.

Have you heard the album yet?  Let us know in the Comments below!

-Suzie Ridgway