Country Star Magazine
NOTES ‘N’ RUMORS – LOCAL COUNTRY NEWS
By Millie Voliva-Wiggs
C. Shells, the children’s musical duo of Cindy Ressler Kays and Shelly Craig have just been awarded a 1998 Parents’ Choice Silver Honor for their first children’s album, released on Southern Branch Music, self-titled “C. Shells.”
Parents’ Choice is a non-profit organization that evaluates children’s media. The Silver Honor is given to those products which exemplify excellence and are designed to entertain and help children develop universally ethical attitudes and rigorous standards and skills. The Silver Honor is highly prized for production and human values.
Kays and Craig have been performing children’s music for the past 6 years in the Hampton Roads and Richmond area. They have recently done several tours of southeastern Pennsylvania and parts of Delaware. A favorite at pre-schools, libraries and festivals, C. Shells also performs educational programs in elementary schools through Young Audiences of Virginia.
The duo met while working at a local Norfolk, VA guitar shop and decided to pool their talents and their names (a combination of both their first names) to form C. Shells.
Both women play a variety of instruments including guitar, mandolin, banjo and more. In March of this year the duo released their second album on Southern Branch Music titled “Animal Tails.” Thirteen songs about animals and the world in which they live make up this lively collection.
“C. Shells” is a fun-filled musical treat with ten original songs ( eight were written by Craig with two penned by Kays), along with cover songs “A Place in the Choir” by Bill Staines and “State Laughs” by John Forster. The musical styles of the album cover Cajun (“Bayou Boogaloo”), reggae (“The Little Sand Flea”), blues (“The Play Dough Blues”), Ragtime (“Betcha Can’t Guess What the Puppy Did”), folk (“Where’s the Cat?”), spooky (“Halloween Ghosts”), lullaby (“Counting Sheep”), country (“The Cowboy Song”), rock ‘n’ roll (“Roll, Rocky Roll”), and a waltz (“The Butterfly Ball.”)
For more information about C. Shells as well as information on booking please contact Cindy Kays (757) 464-6407 email: CshellsVA@aol.com.
Country Star Magazine
By Tina Sanidas
C. Shells is cute. It’s clever. And it’s fun. But it’s not for everyone. Sure it has a little bit of country music. A blues song and a little rock and roll. Quite typical for a country album. It’s an album you can really move to it. Jumpin’ around, hootin’ and a little hollerin’, and a little rollin’ around would suit them just fine. However, it is recommended that you have at least one young child with you when you do.
C. Shells is an interactive album for youngsters. Though I haven’t had a young child in the house for many, many years, halfway through the album I found myself wishing that I did.
The album gets the kids involved right away with “Roll, Rocky Roll.” This is a song about, what else – a rock. Then it slides into a laugh-a-long song, “State Laughs,” before it serves up a little reggae tune. “Little Sand Flea” will have everyone jumping up and down, at least until the flea meets an early demise by an unscrupulous iguana.
Children will enjoy howling along with “Halloween Ghosts” and making all kinds of animal noises with “A Place In the Choir.” They even get an introduction to primary colors in the colorful tune “Play Dough Blues.” A certain favorite will be “Betcha Can’t Guess What the Puppy Did” and needs absolutely no explanation whatsoever.
It’s quite apparent that singers and co-producers Ressler and Craig (with Randy Melton) put a lot of thought and work into this album. They wrote all but two of the twelve songs (eight by Craig and two by Ressler.) Each song tells an interesting story and the repetition provides the anchor that ensures children won’t lose interest. There is also a diverse mix of instruments (including the harmonica, accordion, tuba and a kazoo) used effectively throughout the album.
This album is a must have for every parent of a child. It would, in fact, keep an entire room full of children engrossed from the beginning to end.
C. Shells is cute. It’s clever – and it’s fun. Move over Barney, C. Shells has come to town.