Mister Rogers Swings
What boy or girl didn’t want to be Mr. Rogers’ neighbor? For some, like Holly Yarbrough, the desire never passed. Her first solo album re-imagines Fred Rogers’ songbook with a contemporary jazz flare. Instead of creating a cheesy cover album, she succeeds in enriching the life lessons of the original songs through an adult perspective. Here, Yarbrough strolls the Rogers catalog—from the classic show-opener “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” down to its cheery bookend, “It’s Such a Good Feeling.” With an adult eye, platonic love songs take on a smoky, romantic tone and innuendos emerge from the lyrics. However, Yarbrough never crosses into inappropriate territory because she treats the original material with respect. “I’m Taking Care of You” is a haunting thank you to Fred Rogers for a childhood filled with love. When Yarbrough sings, “For once I was very little too, now I take care of you,” it’s a promise to remember that we’ll always be his neighbor.