Review: Blues Blast Magazine, Issue 15, 10/28/21  
Various Artists – Lightning’s Lessons:  Learning Through Music  - Little Lightning Productions – 2021 
11 Tracks ; 38 minutes 

Many parents have been driven nearly crazy from having to listen to Elmo, Barney and Disney CDs while taking trips with their children. New parents will not have to face that same fate thanks to Shari Puorto and Doug Woolverton, who wrote and produced Volume One of Lightning’s Lessons: Learning Through Music. Lightning is a Rabbit who has several bluesy friends, such as “Go-Go the Guinea Pig” and “The Ewe-ettes”. (An illustrated sing-along book is available through www.lightningslessons.com.) 

Lightning’s Lessons contains eleven songs performed by musicians who are truly blues all-stars. Joining Puorto and Woolverton are Victor Wainwright, Curtis Salgado, Duke Robilliard, Laura Chavez, John Nemeth, Tommy Castro, Shemekia Copeland, Chris Vachon, Carey Bowman, Ray Greene, Leon Spradley, Jimmy Vivino, Vanessa Collier, and the voice of Bluesville, Big Llou Johnson. The songs teach directions, the alphabet, numbers, shapes, seasons and more. Shemekia Copeland’s song, “Freddie the Frog” stands out as one of the best, and teaches about the blues, naming Robert Johnson, the three “Kings,” Muddy Waters, and many more. 

Most of the songs are up-tempo, and every song is catchy and very bluesy, (with the exception of one reggae song about the benefit of eating vegetables). Given the quality of the musicians involved, it is not surprising that the music is so great you absolutely will not mind hearing it again and again. (John Nemeth’s song to teach numbers sounds so good it illustrates why people say he could sing the phone book and we’d love it.) The album ends with a funny song about flatulence, called “P-ewe!”. 

The mission of this album was to assist in teaching young children basic learning concepts, and to “inspire and ignite an early love for Roots/Blues music in a fun and memorable way”. The musicians involved deserve an “A+” for this project—mission accomplished and lots of parents who are likely extremely grateful. 

Reviewer Anita Schlank lives in Virginia, and is on the Board of Directors for the River City Blues Society. She has been a fan of the blues since the 1980s. 

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Review: Southland Blues E-Weekly, Volume 15, Issue 42 - October 15, 2021
Lightning’s Lessons, featuring BLUES ALL-STARS 

Even children sing the blues. They sure do. Just watch and listen the next time you go shopping and see how many kids want something, like a toy or candy; they want it bad enough to sound off in front of everybody there. This multi-media production teaches grammar school basics along with some very entertaining blues singing. Young learners can sing along, read along, and listen to some original songs as performed by artists such as Shemekia Copeland, John Nemeth, Shari Puorto, Jimmy Vivino, Curtis Salgado, Duke Robillard, Tommy Castro, and Ray Greene. Each of the eleven selections allows for free-form blues interaction along with a brief teaching lesson. 

Vocalist Salgado and guitarist Robillard run through the alphabet on “ABC’Neeze!.” Guitarist Vivino and singer Leon Spradley deliver the seven days of the week and the 12 months of the year on “Days and Months.” Singer Greene compares Nature’s seasons on “The 4 Seasons.” Singer Llou Johnsin and singer/saxophonist Vanessa Collier express with lyrics what it feels like to have an embarrassing moment on “P-ewe!.” Vocalist Carey Bowman, guitarist Chris Vachon and trumpeter Doug Wolverton send a message about healthy eating on “Veggies for You and Me.” 

Each selection comes with both a sensible teaching moment and an enjoyable sing-along blues presentation. This is something that parents can enjoy while the young ones are reminded to mind their manners, remember school basics, and just enjoy good music.  -Jim Santella

Below we will provide you with information on great resources available. We hope it will introduce you to interesting topics and inspire further investigation and discussion, whether at home or school!

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Find more information about our blues all-stars Vol. 1!

Carey Bowman, Tommy Castro, Laura Chavez, Vanessa Collier, Shemekia Copeland, Ray Greene, Big Llou Johnson, Scottie Miller, Leon Spradley, Shari Puorto, Duke Robillard, Curtis Salgado, Chris Vachon, Jimmy Vivino, Victor Wainwright, and Doug Woolverton