Renee and Friends award-winning “Simpatico” is melodic convergence of singer Renee Stahl (Renee and Jeremy) and an impressive collection of well-known artists such as Lisa Loeb, Maya Rudolph, and Glen Phillips. When we first heard of “Simpatico” (shortly after the launch of, we were skeptical as “Simpatico” was also the name of an album we enjoyed from The Not-Its Sarah Shannon’s original band, Velocity Girl in the 1990s. When we were finally able to give it a listen, we were blown away. As demonstrated in Renee and Friend’s latest video for “You Were Meant To Be” (one of our favorite songs on the album), “Simpatico” is an album of soft wonder and quiet bliss.

So how does a Full Van Fun review work? Each member of the family listens to each song and scores it as AWESOME, average, or not awesome.  We total up the scores for each song as well as the whole album (e.g. if everyone in the family scores every song as AWESOME, then the album would be 100% AWESOME, if everyone scores every song as average, it would be 50% AWESOME, etc.).

The Songs We REALLY Liked (since we liked almost all of them)

  • You Were Meant to Be (100% AWESOME) – Joined by Glen Phillips (singer/songwriter for Toad the Wet Sprocket), “You Were Meant to Be” is this beautiful harmonious duet is the sentimental soundtrack to your favorite home movie.
  • I Am Not Afraid (100% AWESOME) – Remarkably different from the rest of the album, “I Am Not Afraid” is an upbeat symphonic declarative duet with Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew).
  • Everything is Right Here (100% AWESOME) – With the additional vocals of Kyler England and Freckles, the last song of the album is a triumphant quiet anthem reassuring the timeless lesson that “everything you need is right here”.
  • Gather Round (94% AWESOME) – The first song of the album, Gather Round, is a wonderful duet with Lisa Loeb and the perfect prelude to the acoustic duetitude that fills the album with memorable harmonies and melodies.

The Songs We Didn’t

None! None of the songs on this album scored below 50% (although one song, “Happiness”, did come close at only 56% AWESOME and another song “Are We There Yet” wasn’t reviewed as it was more of a spoken word piece).

Final Score

Overall, we rated Renee and Friends “Simpatico” as 85% AWESOME (in other words, almost 4.5 out of 5 stars)! 


The little ones gave Simpatico a perfect 100% AWESOME and we give it EXTRA CREDIT as all of our little ones are almost always asleep by the end of the album. Renee and Friends “Simpatico” was one of our favorite albums from 2015, so if you haven’t already, pick up your copy today!

You might also want to check out some of our other album reviews and #8isEnoughQuestions interviews with artists like Sugar Free AllstarsMista Cookie JarThe Not ItsMike PhirmanDanny Weinkauf of They Might Be GiantsTurkey AndersenLucky Diaz and Alisha GaddisBryan Vander Ark of The Verve Pipe, Josh and the JamtonesPlay DateRecess MonkeyAndrew and Polly, Greg Page (Original Yellow Wiggle)Rissi Palmer, Jim Cosgrove, and Tim Kubart.

Disclosure: Full Van Fun was provided a copy of the album for possible review.

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