Much like Patty Loveless on "Mountain Soul" and with equal success, Dan Zanes has gone for a more organic, slightly less contemporary sound on "House Party." The result is a timeless record of quality music.
The title is particulary apt, as the album has the feel of a group of friends and family taking turns in the parlor with old, favorite tunes, evoking a fond comparison to Kate and Anna McGarrigle's "The McGarrigle Hour."
While Dan Zanes has set the bar fairly high with his previous albums, there are many higlights on "House Party": Cynthia Hopkins makes one remember what a beautiful instrument the accordion is; Philip Glass adds his own special somberness to the album's closing "A Place for Us"; "Tennessee Wig Walk" is the most fun I've heard on record in many a day; David Jones, on "How Do You Do?" is straight out of "Mary Poppins"; and, Deborah Harry's voice is as fine as always.
It's become a cliche to say that Dan Zanes' music is as enjoyable for adults as it is for children, but it's true. The seeming simplicity of the songs makes them instantly accessible to children, and the many layers of top-notch musicianship make the songs gems to be prized by their parents.