Philspicks (2021)

Jenn Cleary’s Debut Family Album Is A Positive First Family Outing

Singer/songwriter/activist Jenn Cleary has spent the better part of her adult life making music and working to improve life for families in places around the world.  Now this year, she is bringing those two sides of her career together with her debut family music album, All Together Now.  Scheduled for release Friday, the self-released record blends Cleary’s socially conscious leanings with a diverse range of musical arrangements to make the general presentation appealing for her target audiences.  The sequencing of the noted content brings everything together and completes the record’s presentation.  All three noted items are important in their own way to the whole of this presentation to make the album a presentation that holds its own against the many other family music albums that have been released so far this year.

Jenn Cleary’s debut family music album (and fourth overall album) is a presentation that holds its own against this year’s current field of new family music albums.  That is proven in part through its featured lyrical themes.  From start to end, the 31-minute record’s themes range from the silly to the serious.  The more serious themes come early on in the record’s first four songs.  From understanding and appreciating the role of bees to the environment, to keeping the world’s waterways clean, to simply understanding and appreciating the diversity in the world’s ecosystems, and the need to protect them, Cleary makes the messages clear in these songs.  She also closes the album with a more serious topic in the matter of the non-nuclear family in ‘Families of All Kinds.’  This song continues the normalization of the reality that families are not just two parents and a certain number of children.  Considering that there are still those in the 21st century who stick to that stereotype, a song such as this is just as relevant and welcome as ever.  In-between all of that, Cleary inserts the more silly works, one of which is a simple work that celebrates the joy of something as simple as blowing bubbles.  There is also a celebration of using one’s imagination in ‘Dinosaur Friend.’  Between this topic, the others noted here, and those featured in the rest of the album’s works, the whole paints Cleary’s new album as an interesting lyrically diverse presentation.  That diversity in itself will help the album connect with a wide range of audiences.  It is just one of the aspects that will connect with audiences.  The album’s musical content is just as diverse as its lyrical content.

All Together Now opens with a semi-country style work in ‘Our Wild Family.’  The combination of the piano, harmonica, vocals, and drums works well to present that subtle sound and approach.  Cleary moves in a more bluesy direction in ‘Scar’s the Word For That,’ showing that diversity a little more.  ‘Clean Water’ changes things up again, taking the record is amore pop direction.  On an even more interesting note, Cleary offers up some zydeco in ‘Backyard Farm.’  ‘Dinosaur Friend’ keeps the musical diversity moving by using a bit of a folk/country hybrid approach in its musical arrangement.  ‘Less Gravity’ keeps the changes coming, this time taking listeners back to the 1960s in its danceable arrangement. Looking through all of this and the musical arrangements in the album’s other songs, the diversity in the record’s musical content becomes clearer.  Hearing that diversity will lead to full appreciation for that aspect of the album, too.

While the general content featured throughout this record does plenty to keep listeners engaged and entertained, they are only a portion of what makes the record interesting for audiences.  The sequencing of said content brings everything together and completes the album’s presentation.  A close listen to the record reveals a very deliberate approach to the sequencing.  For the most part, the sequencing keeps the album’s energy at a relatively stable mid-tempo rate.  However, there is a clear break point in the record in ‘Love Right Now.’  This song features a distinctly subdued sound and approach that is completely unlike the album’s other arrangements.  It serves as a good way for Cleary to keep listeners engaged.  From there, the record returns to its noted, more up-tempo feel that makes up the record’s first half.    In the process, the sequencing ensures the lyrical themes and musical styles and sounds change just enough to keep things interesting.  Keeping this in mind, no doubt is left as to the importance of the album’s sequencing.  When it is considered along with the album’s musical and lyrical content, the whole makes this album a successful first family outing for Cleary.

Jenn Cleary’s debut family album, All Together Now is a positive offering from the singer/songwriter/activist.  That is proven in part through the album’s musical arrangements.  The arrangements in question are somewhat diverse, offering audiences a touch of country, folk, and even some pop.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical content adds its own touch to the presentation.  That is because it is also diverse.  There are environmentally aware messages alongside messages making clear, the importance of family and familial love.  There are also lighter messages that push the importance of having simple fun.  The record’s sequencing ensures that musical and lyrical diversity is itself kept diverse throughout the album.  It changes up all of that content throughout while also keeping the album’s energy stable throughout.  Each item noted is important in its own way to the whole of the album, clearly.  All things considered, they make All Together Now a positive first family outing for Cleary.

The Holler (2021)

By Wolf
Wolf is an internet DJ, you can hear him at He also writes regularly for Blue Monday Monthly

Longtime Colorado musical artist Jenn Cleary has put together a wonderful new collection of songs for kids, fun and educational and yes, adults will get a kick out it as well. With a focus on nature and how humans and nature are interconnected, every song carries a strong message that “we are family” regardless of what form or shape.

“Animals, birds and trees
Are related to you and me
We all need the wild places
Waterfalls, rocks and bees
Make us happy, feel free
Let’s take care of our family.”

And so goes the opening song Our Wild Family, with backup vocals provided by … well, a fabulous chorus of kids singing in perfect harmony, and therein lies the point of the song, and the entire CD: that we as humans need to live in harmony with nature, thus ensuring its preservation. Lest one think that there’s no Americana/Blues, rest assured that you’ll find plenty of toe-tapping music here. My Sisters And Me is just about as fun as it gets, as Jenn sings a song about honeybees:

“We make lots of honey, there’s enough to share
We love to work hard and scare away the bears
Yes we do, honeybees
Oooooh oooooh my sisters and me.”

With lyrics about pollination, the queen bee of the hive and a warning not to touch the
honeybees, there’s nothing not to love about this tune. But be careful as you walk around and be sure to look down, because you might see a pile: Scat’s The Word For That, and that “pile of poo” is precisely what scientists use to identify native creatures, such as bears, raccoon and deer. Cleary being the consummate artist, there’s plenty of “scat” along the way, Ella Fitzgerald style, and it’s incredibly good.

Clean Water is a song on how to keep pollution out of out of streams and rivers. Cleary, who founded a non-profit that, for nearly 15 years, promoted innovative, locally sustainable healthand economic sufficiency programs in Nepal, India, and Tibet, draws heavily on that background at every turn.

Love Right Now was inspired by words from Cleary’s mother, Margaret Cleary, and gave the two a chance to work together. Bubbles is an endlessly fun number featuring some fabulous harp, while Backyard Farm, where Cleary touts the “little-bitty farm in my back yard” is a rundown of animal sounds and activities, much more fun than Old McDonald’s farm, because Jenn Cleary. Dinosaur Friend and Less Gravity are toe- tappers that spark the imagination, as do the rest of the songs on “All Together Now!”

The closing song, All Kinds Of Families, is about the different kinds of families in which kids can live. Cleary wrote the song with her adopted daughter, Dorje Dolma, who was initially raised by aunts, parents, and grandparents who were nomadic yak herders in Nepal. Dolma was in a Nepali children’s home before Cleary brought her to America for life-saving surgeries and subsequently adopted her. After college, Dolma went on to work in a preschool where she witnessed many different kinds of family situations. Dolma co-wrote the song with Cleary, and her artwork, “Healing Heart” is featured on the “All Together Now!” album cover. Music truly is the universal language, and Jenn Cleary offers up proof. “All Together Now!” is a CD for kids of ALL ages. Set for a June 21, 2021 release date, the CD will be available on Amazon and will be available at Jenn Cleary’s live shows, as well as through her website:

… if you have kids, this is a “must have” CD, and if you don’t, it’s one that you’ll probably want anyway: it really is just that good.

MetroWest Daily News (2021)

Jenn Cleary, who once hosted music fairs in the backyard of her Sudbury home, prepares to release her fourth album

Jenn Cleary, who grew up in Sudbury, is preparing to release her fourth album, All Together Now!

SUDBURY – Growing up in town, Jenn Cleary transformed her backyard into a music festival every September.

Beginning when she was just 7, she would play songs for an audience, inviting neighbors, friends, and community members. As the years went on, the event grew, with politicians, magicians, clowns, and others attending. Boston running legend Bill Rodgers and Rex Trailer of the Boston kids show “Boomtown” were among the attendees.

The backyard fairs also raised money to benefit the Leukemia Society.

“Anything I do, I put 100% in,” said Cleary, on why it became so big. “It’s not about me, it’s about collaboration. You can’t do these things on your own. I might have an idea and I might have passion and I might have technical ability to make it happen. But nothing happens if you don’t have other people to help it grow with you.”

Now living in Colorado, Cleary, a folk, rock, and blues singer-songwriter, is still combining a love of music with community. The 1982 Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School graduate will release her fourth and latest album “All Together Now!” on June 4.

The album is written especially for children and families, and celebrates environmental awareness and social consciousness. The opening track, “Our Wild Family,” encourages caring for the “animal, birds, and trees” and asks the listener to “take care of our family.”

Songs range from educational, such as “Clean Water,” which has the underlying message of keeping rivers and oceans clean, to fun, such as “Bubbles” or “Dinosaur Friend.”

A photo from one of Jenn Cleary’s backyard fairs in 1980. Jenn Cleary, on the left, is about 17, and her mother, Margaret Cleary, right, is about 47.
Cleary credits her upbringing in Sudbury for her love of the outdoors. With her childhood home near the woods, she spent her time as a child exploring, making forts, and catching snakes, turtles, and salamanders.

“As I got older, I realized, ‘Oh my God, people aren’t picking their trash up,'” said Cleary. “You know, it’s nice out there and now we’ve got climate change to worry about.”

Cleary said the bulk of the album was written in quarantine, saying it provided an outlet during lockdowns. For example, she and her adopted daughter, Dorje Dolma, wrote “All Kinds of Families,” together during lockdowns.

“Turn lemons into lemonade,” said Cleary. “It was a really positive thing to do during a very difficult time.”

The song is about the different kinds of families in which kids can live. Dolma chose the topic, inspired by her experience seeing the different upbringings that exist in the world.

Dolma was initially raised by aunts, parents, and grandparents who were nomadic yak herders in Nepal. She was in a Nepali children’s home before Cleary brought her to America for life-saving surgeries and eventually adopted her.

Read More: Nepalese author to share survival story in Sudbury

After college, Dolma went on to work in a preschool where she witnessed many different kinds of families, such as those with one parent or two mothers or kids being raised by their brothers and sisters.

“When we were stuck in quarantine this year in our bubble, my mother, my daughter, and I — the inspiration for writing songs really emerged…We sat down and crafted this song,” said Cleary.

Cleary said she’d say her favorite song on the album is “Love Right Now,” an ode to caring for others. She wrote it with her mother, Margaret Cleary, also during the beginning of the pandemic.

“It’s particularly poignant…in such struggling times, it just feels really impactful and important to care for each other,” said Cleary. “To me, that’s the most important message of the whole album.”

Cleary’s previous albums include Blues from the Heart (2018), Back to the Wheel (2010), and Breakin’ Loose (2006).

For more information, visit Cleary’s website at The release will be celebrated with a live show on her Facebook page, also on June 4.

Midwest Record (2021)

JENN CLEARY/All Together Now!: How much hippie can you take? A folk/blues singer from Boulder that’s a bee keeper and ran a non profit to take care of kids in Nepal and other Timbuktu locales distills all her kiddie experience into a positive, easy rocking set for kids—that of course, has a message or several. Betcha this is how Mimi Farina would have turned out if she didn’t have to have so much gravitas. Kids that like to act like the teenagers on “Hullabaloo” will have a fine old time shaking it up to this friendly, engaging set that gives being a kid a new dimension.