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'Way Out' tunes that are very much in

August 19, 2004|Lynne Heffley

Chicago-based pop artist Justin Roberts, who will perform a family concert at Theatricum Botanicum on Sunday, continues to turn out some of the best children's music in the business: hip and sophisticated enough for adults to enjoy, but never losing sight of his target audience. His fourth children's music CD, the just released "Way Out," is no exception.

Once a Montessori preschool teacher, Roberts builds on his experience with kids, bringing empathy and understanding to tuneful explorations of a young child's view of the world. His new CD covers the gooey challenge of feeding baby brother ("Airplane of Food"), the check-up blues ("Doctor, Doctor, What Are You Doing With That Shot There?") and a hilarious, touching take on a familiar nursery rhyme figure ("Humpty's at It Again"). "Suppertime" is a deeply tender affirmation of family.

Roberts is among several legit pop artists who have turned to making terrific music for kids in recent years, each with an individual voice. In Roberts' case, it's a mellow, James Taylorish one delivering intelligent songs crafted with humor and uncloying warmth.

-- Lynne Heffley

Justin Roberts in Concert, Theatricum Botanicum, 1419 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga. 11 a.m. Sunday. $8. (310) 455-3723.

"Way Out," $15.98, is available at various retailers and from www.justinroberts.org.

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