As Bushes go, Babs and George the elder aren't the worst of the lot. It's certainly hard to argue with the work that goes on at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital, and it's easy to get behind projects that send money that way.
To the Moon, to the Stars is a collection of songs by local musicians written for their children, with all proceeds doing just that. Should it happen to be an alright listen, so much the better. Josh and Jill Lovejoy (Josh does the Maine Music wiki) have made this a project close to their hearts, and they've done an admirable job bringing together a diverse cross-section of 13 Portland artists, both readily recognizable and relatively obscure (kudos, too, to the Studio and Jim Begley for substantial donated time).
For me, the lullabies and soft soothers seem to fit best. Anna Lombard McGeachey, with "Haisey Days," delivers one of her finer vocal performances, restrained and pointed and impossibly pretty, with a little hummed part that's, well, I don't really have good words for it. "In this Heart" might serve as a nice introduction to Ellie Chase, as well. She's used to this kind of thing, having founded the preschool music academy that is Little Music Makers, but she has a hell of a classically trained voice, too. And Monique Barrett's closing "Elea's Lullaby," gospel-infused with an onslaught of backing vocals, ought to make you flip over the packaging to make sure you've got the spelling of her name right.
It's also nice to see a soft side from rockers like Dave Gutter (though you heard "Baby Doll" already on The Key to Adore), Sidecar Radio's Christian Hayes (the way he delivers the name of his daughter, "Fiona," is the best falsetto you've heard from him) and Headstart!'s Kevin Kennie, whose "In Case I'm Not Around" is probably the darkest thing here.
In general, it's hard not to get the warm and fuzzies while listening to this thing, which makes it all worthwhile. That it also contains a recorded version of the eye-misting "Green Apple" that Sara Cox debuted opening for John Hammond last year? So much the better, indeed.
Sam Pfeifle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TO THE MOON, TO THE STARS | Released to support the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital | at One Longfellow Square, in Portland | Jan 22 | tothemooncd.com