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Thursday, December 10, 2009

 

Cool Christmas Music For You

It's that time of the year when the holiday music goes on heavy rotation in our CD players and iPods. If you're like me, you add a few discs to your collection each year. Here are four kids' CDs that will make fine additions to your roster of cool Christmas tunes:


  • The Hipwaders - A Kindie Christmas
    The Hipwaders have always been inventive and unique. Their fresh take on Christmas includes all original songs, written by lead singer Tito Uquillas, and performed in their usual jangly indie rock style. There are some new holiday classics on this disc!

  • Danny Adlerman, Yosi, & Kevin Kammeraad - ...And A Happy New Year
    This is just a fun group of guys singing a fun mix of holiday favorites and originals. A bit of folk, rock, and pop, you can tell from the easygoing style and laughter that these three had a good time making this CD.

  • Various Artists - Putumayo Presents A Family Christmas
    The Putumayo World Music label has always stood for high quality, and they don't disappoint in this wonderful collection of festive Christmas songs. Highlights include Martin Sexton's "Holly Jolly Christmas" and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's spirited "Is Zat You Santa Claus?"

  • Paige Stroman - Christmas Lullabies To Create Memories
    Perfect for the quiet times this season, Paige Stroman keeps it mellow as she sings the old favorites, like "Away In A Manger," along with five new tunes. A beautifully produced CD, this one sounds great all the way through.


You can find all of these CDs at online stores like The Pokey Pup, iTunes, and Amazon. Or click on the links in the above descriptions to get to the artists' web sites and buy directly from them. I encourage you to check them out!

Disclaimer: Two of these CDs were sent to me by the artists for review.

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Monday, August 17, 2009

 

Three Cool Kids CDs

We've been listening to quite a few new kids CDs this summer. Some good, some not so good. Here are three of the better ones. You can't go wrong buying these discs for your children:

Mariana Iranzi - Aventura Collage

Iranzi's style of music can be best described as Argentinian Folk Rock for children. Most of the songs are in Spanish, which is ideal for my own kids as they begin to learn that language. But it's the music that transcends cultures. Iranzi moves from acoustic folk to blues to reggae, creating quite a collage of sounds as she sings about simple things like food, animals, and playing games. This disc is a joy for all ages. Unless you speak Spanish, you won't even realize it's a children's album.

Song samples from Aventura Collage can be found here.


The Sippy Cups - The Time Machine

If I had to choose one style of music as a favorite, I'd say "Beatlesque Power Pop," which basically means clever lyrics, twisty melodies, jangly guitars, and bouncy bass lines. That's what The Sippy Cups bring to their latest release, a concept album about growing up ("The time machine is you!"). Songs like "One Day Soon" and "My Angry Voice" deliver a message without getting preachy. Coupled with several fun skits, this is a disc your kids, maybe even your teens, will be asking to hear again.

Song samples from The Time Machine can be found here.


Mr. Leebot - Robot Dance

If Devo made an album of children's music, this is what it might sound like. Mr. Leebot does his best Mark Mothersbaugh impression and, with quirky lyrics over synthesized dance beats, actually makes the whole thing work. A good sense of humor runs through these songs, like the kid in "It Wasn't Me" who compiles a list of all the various offenses he swears he didn't do. This album is just pure fun, perfect for everyone from toddlers to pre-teens. Parents will also get a kick out of the new wave 80's sound.

Song samples from Robot Dance can be found here.

You can also purchase all of these discs at iTunes, or from the artists' websites:

Mariana Iranzi
The Sippy Cups
Mr. Leebot

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

 

Best Songs of 2008






Or, right-click here to download for later playback.


Is it too late for a "Best of 2008" list? I'm just getting around to it, inspired by Ed, of Zoe's Dad fame. He put out a request for new music, especially for his exercise routine.

So, I threw together a little something for him. And for you too, via my infrequent family-friendly music podcast, A Family Sings Through It.

It's not fair to say these are absolutely the best songs from last year, so maybe I should just call this mix "Really cool songs that we liked a whole bunch." But that doesn't have quite the same ring.

Here's 90 minutes of pop music bliss, featuring such artists as Tara Blaise, Elbow, Bruce Springsteen, Spongetones, Lucky Soul, Fall Out Boy, Keane, Carolina Liar, Ra Ra Riot, Josiah Leming, and many others.

Have a good workout, Ed.

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

 

Daddy A Go Go Giveaway

Children's musician Daddy A Go Go released one of the most memorable CDs of 2008 with Rock of All Ages (read my review). He's kicking off 2009 in style with a career spanning "best of" compilation, drawing favorite songs from the six amazing kids albums he's produced over the past ten years.

Come On, Get Happy - The Best Of Daddy A Go Go features 15 toe-tapping tracks that are sure to bring a smile to your child's face. John Boydston is the man behind these tunes, and what I like about him is that he's a natural rocker who keeps his songs centered on the kids and what makes them tick. He's very clearly playing for the kids, with the occasional wink to the parents, rather than the other way around.

John covers a couple of familiar songs, like the themes to The Partridge Family, Scooby Doo, and The Courtship of Eddie's Father, but it's the original numbers that really shine on this compilation. My kids especially like "I Caught My Daddy Watching Cartoons." The Daddy A Go Go sense of humor gets a big thumbs-up in our house.

This sampler is a great way to introduce yourself, and your children, to the music of Daddy A Go Go. If you're not convinced yet, go to the Daddy A Go Go website where you can have a free listen to all of his CDs and maybe make a purchase or two.

I have a copy of Come On, Get Happy to give away to one of my readers, so if you and your kids would enjoy a bit of old-fashioned rock 'n roll to liven things up at your place, then leave a comment here. I'll pick a winner at the end of the week.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

 

A Family Carols Through It






Or, right-click here to download for later playback.


Welcome to the Christmas Edition of A Family Sings Through It. This time it's a full hour of my family's holiday favorites, with a decidedly mellow pop flavor.

You'll hear songs from Rockapella, Pugwash, Burl Ives, The Lonely Hearts Band, Jason Mraz, and many more. Let me know if you're curious about any of the artists. If you like what you hear, go to Amazon or iTunes and pick up some new Christmas music!

Happy listening!

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

 

Christmas Music In The Air

We don't break out the Christmas music until about two weeks before the big day. And then we listen to it pretty much non-stop until the 26th.

Each year I try to add a couple of good holiday CDs to our collection. This year's big winners skirt the edges of traditional Christmas music. Both of them are highly recommended...

Ranlom's Going On Holiday is an upbeat mix of pop originals and classics, including one of the better arrangements of "Little Drummer Boy" I've ever heard. Ranlom is a group of talented musicians led by singer Matthew Molnar, and the playing and production on this Christmas CD is sparkling. There's a bit of Ben Folds mixed with Harry Connick, Jr., in these seven songs, and that is a very welcome sound after the 19th heavenly choir singing "Silent Night" pops up on the iPod. You can order the disc through CD Baby, or download it instantly at Amazon. Listen to samples at both sites.

The GrooveBarbers' Glory is an a cappella spectacular from some of the best vocalists in the genre, including three former members of Rockapella. One of them, Sean Altman, has one of those voices that I could listen to sing the phone book. On Glory, Sean and the other Barbers cover all the holiday favorites, from "Let It Snow" to "Jingle Bells," with quirky arrangements and impeccable harmonies. This may be the most consistently pleasing Christmas CD in our entire collection. Download Glory at Amazon for just $6.99, where you can also hear samples.

Here's The GrooveBarbers backing up opera singer Inna Dukach in a funny rendition of Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro:

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Monday, April 28, 2008

 

YeeHaw - A Giveaway!

A good country music song will tell you a great story, entertain you, and maybe even make you think.

But most adult country music songs tackle issues that are a little too much for young minds.

Enter The BummKinn Band. Rather than sing about ex-wives, trailer parks, and bar fights, they sing about things that kids can identify with, like broken toys, dropped ice cream cones, and playground friendships gone sour.

We loved last year's debut CD, and now their new disc, Rockin' The YeeHaw, delivers more classic country sound to the children's music scene. They also mix in a little rockabilly, bluegrass, and Southern rock on this fun 16-song collection.

Lead singer Kimber Breaux has a great big Texas-sized voice that kids and adults alike are going to find irresistible. She and her bandmates, Sam Nickell and Ryan Bueter, serve up a tasty down-home sound, with warm honey-dripped harmonies and perfect hand-clapping rhythms. Songs like "Woke Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed," "Crab Bit My Toe," and "I Dropped My Ice Cream On The Ground" are memorable favorites in my house.

Listen: "Woke Up On The Wrong Side Of The Bed" (60-sec. clip)

The last track on the CD, "Rhinurtle Elesnail," is a wonderful story song about a strange creature (a combination of a rhinocerous, turtle, elephant, and snail) and its arrival in an old west town.

Rockin' The YeeHaw gets the highest recommendation from my family.

You can buy the CD, and listen to more song clips, at CD Baby.

And, one lucky reader can receive the new CD for free. The BummKinn Band was nice enough to send me an extra copy of Rockin' The YeeHaw to give away, so if you'd like to have it just leave a comment. I'll pick a winner by Friday.

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Monday, February 25, 2008

 

Dance Fever

I'm going to wrap up my music week with a playlist from my 6-year-old daughter and an iTunes giveaway.

As with most second children, she never had much of a chance to make her own musical discoveries at first. She simply inherited her brother's musical tastes... The Wiggles, Ralph's World, The Beatles, John Lithgow, Disney songs, etc.

When she was five she broke free and found her own favorite style, one which I was not really prepared for. She started liking dance pop.

A funny thing happened once we started looking around on iTunes for songs and artists she might like. I found myself kind of digging this new genre. The combination of infectious dance beats with catchy pop melodies had me singing and dancing along with my daughter.

For a guy who used to say "Disco Sucks!" when I was a teenager, this was a rather disconcerting turn of events in my middle age. Oh well. These are happy songs. I love the way my daughter's face lights up when one of these tracks comes up on the iPod.

Here are five of her favorite songs.

Listen: Amy Diamond - "Life's What You Make It"

Listen: Marie Serneholt - "That's The Way My Heart Goes"

Listen: Maria Haukaas Storeng - "Should've"

Listen: Sandra Lou - "Le Banana Split"

Listen: Six - "Whole Lotta Lovin'"

My daughter seems to have a Euro-centric music view, with two tracks from Sweden, and one each from Norway, France, and Ireland. We've also recently discovered some cool pop tunes out of Lebanon, but that's a whole other post.

And now, I have a $10 iTunes email gift certificate to give away. Leave a comment and I'll do a random pick at the end of the week.

UPDATE: The iTunes gift certificate went to Dan.

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Sunday, February 24, 2008

 

Stardust

I began my week of music with a post about lullabies. Every parent, I would hope, has a favorite lullaby to sing or play their babies off to sleep. Mine was "If I Had Words." Yes, I was Farmer Hoggett and my kids were Babe the Pig. I would even do the dance for them on occasion.

Lullabies are important. It's the first music your children will ever hear (unless you're rocking them to sleep to Panic! At The Disco). The good news is there are countless number of lullaby CDs for you to pick from. The bad news is that most of them are sterile and emotionless. If you don't choose wisely, you might doom your innocent little baby to a bleak future as a state legislator.

Thankfully, I'm here to steer you toward CDs like the stunning new Stardust by Cher and Gene Klosner, a brother/sister duo out of Omaha, Nebraska. Stardust just happens to be one of the best lullaby collections I've ever heard.

There are many things that set it apart from other CDs of its kind. First and foremost is the care and attention that Cher and Gene put into its production. Over the course of seven months, they invited members of the Omaha Symphony and Omaha Conservatory of Music into the recording studio to give their songs that rich, warm sound that you can only get from real instruments. Combined with their beautiful, soothing voices, the result is extremely pleasing to the ears of parents and babies alike.

The selection of songs is another big part of what makes this collection work so well. There are 21 tracks on two discs, mostly classics, but a few nice surprises as well. John Denver's "For Baby" fits perfectly with the better known lullabies such as "Rock-a-Bye Baby" and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star." The songs flow easily along, guaranteeing rest and relaxation for both child and parent at naptime.

Even better, Cher and Gene want to teach parents to sing to their children, so they've included an instrumental version of each song so you can give each lullaby a personal spin. Imagine the joy on your baby's face when they see mom and dad doing karaoke in the nursery!

Listen: "Lullaby (Cradle Song)" song clip

Listen: "Baby Mine" song clip

You can sample every song at the Stardust Lullaby website, where you can also buy the CD. Like I said, there are a lot of lullaby CDs out there. This is one of the keepers. It gets the highest recommendation from my family!

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

 

Daddy Radio

A friend of mine once told me, "If I want to hear music, I'll just turn on the radio.

I don't remember what happened after that. I either involuntarily tackled him to the ground or I just fainted dead away.

I haven't listened to music radio since 1982, except for a 3-year stint as a college DJ at KUOI when I listened, but only to myself. That's where I learned that my face for radio goes along with my voice for print.

Anyway, on those rare occasions when I punch the wrong button on the car radio and tune in to some local rock station, I find either the same old dreck or completely brand new ear manure. One thing surely hasn't changed in 25 years... They just keep playing songs that make my ears bleed.

It's like that Morrissey song:

Hang the blessed DJ
Because the music that they constantly play
It says nothing to me about my life


And it's weird, because I have an extremely wide range of musical tastes. There are nearly 38,000 songs on my hard drive. How come I can find the good stuff, but the program directors can't?

My kids don't listen to the radio either. No, they have Daddy Radio to entertain and educate them. I program our family iPod with all types of songs, from children's to new wave to classic oldies.

I take requests, but I don't do weather reports. For that, they can look out the window.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

 

Top 25 of 2007

A few months ago I posted our Favorite Kids Songs Of 2007. It took me awhile longer to come up with a definitive list of "grown-up" songs for the past year, songs that aren't for children but can be enjoyed by them. It's a family-friendly grab bag of rock, pop, dance, soundtrack, and more. Don't ever say within earshot of me that there isn't any good new music these days. You're just not looking hard enough. In fact, with sources like iTunes and Amazon Downloads, I think it's easier than ever to find all kinds of new bands making incredibly cool music.

I just happen to have an extra CD of this mix if anyone wants it. I made one for myself, but then my computer accidentally burned another copy. Darn technology has a mind of its own! I really hate to throw it in the trash, so let me know if you want to help me keep the disc out of our local landfill. Leave a comment and plead your case.

Anyway, these are my family's Top 25 Grown-Up Songs Of 2007 (in no particular order):

1. Danny Elfman - "To the Future!"
2. Silverchair - "If You Keep Losing Sleep"
3. Darren Hayes - "On the Verge of Something Wonderful"
4. The Rocket Summer - "Hold It Up"
5. Sara Bareilles - "Love Song"
6. Derek Webb - "I Wanna Marry You All Over Again"
7. Chris Rice - "Lemonade"
8. The Silver Seas - "Imaginary Girl"
9. Rooney - "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?"
10. KT Tunstall - "Little Favours"
11. Tom Langford - "Wooden Home"
12. Colin Hay - "Are You Lookin' At Me?"
13. Au Revoir Simone - "Stars"
14. Maroon 5 - "Little of Your Time"
15. Spoon - "The Underdog"
16. Lucky Soul - "Ain't Never Been Cool"
17. A Fine Frenzy - "Lifesize"
18. Your Vegas - "In My Head"
19. Relient k - "Must Have Done Something Right"
20. No More Kings - "Someday"
21. Farrah - "Dumb Dumb Ditty"
22. The Fratellis - "For the Girl"
23. Feist - "1234"
24. Jessie Baylin - "See How I Run"
25. Patrick Park - "Life's A Song"

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

 

Babies Love Rick Astley!



My kids used to cry when I stopped singing. Or maybe it was when I started, I don't quite remember...

Hat tip: Neatorama

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

 

Daddy A Go-Go

John Boydston is a stay-at-home dad who knows how to rock. He's been performing under the name Daddy A Go-Go since 1998, and has six CDs of rock 'n' roll music for kids in release. His latest, Rock Of All Ages, has just hit the stores. It's another lively collection of family-friendly songs that mix humor, learning, and good times.

The Daddy A Go-Go sound can best be described as classic rock meets garage band meets campfire sing-along. Boydston always mixes in a few cover songs with his originals. On past CDs, he's put his personal stamp on such classics as "Go Speed Racer Go," "Linus and Lucy," "Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah," and "Blitzkrieg Bop." This time around he covers "Snoopy vs. The Red Baron" (one of my own childhood favorites) and "What A Wonderful World."

But it's the high-energy originals that will really make your kids get up and dance around. There are songs about school buses, root beer (my son's fave), and yo-yo's, but the one song that jumped out at me was what should be the new Official Rock Anthem for the State of Idaho...

Listen: Daddy A Go-Go - "Idaho!" 55 second clip

Like the CD title says, this is music for all ages, especially elementary school kids who want to rock out and play some air guitar while you're driving around town in the mini-van. Rock Of All Ages gets a big thumbs-up from my family!

Be sure to visit Daddy A Go-Go's website, where you can sample all of his songs and lyrics. You can buy CDs through his site, or through Amazon and iTunes.

Boydston's passion for music has been passed on to his own kids. His sons Jake, 16, and Max, 13, have become good enough players to perform with their dad on stage. They recently played together at several prestigious festivals, including Austin City Limits and South By Southwest.

Check out this photo of the proud Daddy and the rest of his Daddy A Go-Go band. By the way, Max, my Beatlemaniac daughter loves your t-shirt!


Photo by Caitlin Gal

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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

 

I Want My TV Music!

For the first few years, my son's musical tastes reflected mine. However, sometime during his third year he started watching TV shows and showing an interest in the music in them. This was back when we had cable and he could tune into the Disney Channel and Cartoon Network.

We mostly watched Stanley, Rolie Polie Olie, Blue's Clues, Out of the Box, Teletubbies, Mr. Rogers, and Scooby-Doo. All of these shows had cool theme songs and musical numbers. Yes, we grooved to Dipsy, La La, Tinky Winky, and Po...

Listen: "Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh!"


And we danced around the room to Steve and Blue...

Listen: "We Just Figured Out Blue's Clues"


One of our favorite TV themes was from a Disney Channel show about creativity and imagination...

Listen: "Out of the Box"


And we just laughed and laughed over Goofy's antics on the House of Mouse...

Listen: "Soup Or Salad, Fries Or Biscuits"


It wasn't until my son was almost six that he made a discovery of his own. That's when we started watching What's New Scooby-Doo?, the modern revival of the classic cartoon series. The updated version featured a cool new theme song, recorded by the punk-pop band Simple Plan, that immediately appealed to my son. He really got excited when one of their songs was featured in an episode. That was the first time he ever said, "Daddy, can you find that song for me?" Four years later, it's still one of his favorite tunes...

Listen: Simple Plan - "I'd Do Anything"


From there, my son has learned to love a wide variety of styles and singers, but he always seems to perk up for that energetic punk-pop sound. We've all become fans of bands like Relient k, The Click Five, McFly, The Rocket Summer, and Matt Willis thanks to my son wanting to explore bands similar to Simple Plan.

My 6-year-old daughter likes this stuff too, but she's shown a fondness in recent months for a completely different style of music... one which I never thought I'd enjoy. Disco! Because of her, for the first time in my life I purchased a Bee Gees song.

More about that on another day.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

 

In The Beginning

I've been thinking back to the beginning, when my son was a newborn, and all we listened to for months were lullabies.

Some of these songs still sound good to me, and I find myself listening to them late at night while the kids are asleep and I want to hear something soothing while I'm on the computer.

This is the first part of the soundtrack to my life as a parent...

It's no surprise that my kids are Beatles fans today. I started them off young, playing quiet, lullaby versions of the famous songs of the Fab Four. These melodies are in their subconscious.

Jason Falkner - "In My Life"
Vanessa Mae - "Because"


My kids also seem to have an affinity for Australian music, and it's not because of the Wiggles. Back in 1998, as I was anticipating the arrival of my son, I ordered an Australian import CD filled with original children's music by contemporary artists, such as Colin Hay, Paul Kelly, and David Bridie. Called Lullaby and Goodnight, it turned out to be the best collection of lullabies I've ever heard. It's long out-of-print, and almost impossible to find even through eBay. We hold on to our copy like it's gold.

Joe Creighton - "So Still He Lies"
David Bridie - "Sing Me Soft & Smooth & Slow"


Speaking of The Wiggles, they were becoming popular when my son was a newborn, so it was natural that they would be a part of his early years. The Wiggles aren't just about Big Red Cars and dancing pirates. Their lullabies were just as welcome and soothing as our other favorites when it was time for rocking little babies off to dreamland.

The Wiggles - "The Dreaming"
Art Garfunkel - "Dreamland"


Tomorrow, my son discovers rock 'n' roll in a cartoon!

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Thursday, January 31, 2008

 

Animal Playground

We've been dumped on by a record snow this week, which makes driving around not much fun if almost impossible. Luckily, we've had this awesome new compilation CD, Animal Playground, to keep the smiles on our faces as we bounce around the rutted and icy roads.

It's a collection of children's songs from all over the world, in different languages but with the same playful animal theme. Dancing monkeys, slithering snakes, curious bears, friendly dinosaurs. It's what kids love the most, jumping around and singing about their favorite creatures.

The CD is from Putamayo Kids, which is one of those companies that you can always count on for quality music. The mix of languages and styles works perfectly as the songs switch from English to French to Portuguese. Kids in every country know how to have a good time, and that's exactly what is reflected here by artists such as The Be Good Tanyas (USA), Ze Renato (Brazil), Ladysmith Black Mambazo (South Africa), and Quartetto Cetra (Italy).

Besides the fact that it's an incredibly fun collection of songs, it will help your children to realize that even though there are many different cultures, languages and people in the world, we're basically all the same.

Animal Playground gets the highest recommendation from my family! It's great for ages 1 to 10, and is another one of those CDs that won't drive parents crazy after seventeen listens. You can buy it at Amazon.

Here's one of our favorite tunes off the CD, from Caribbean children's musician Asheba, it's a new take on the old favorite, "No More Monkeys."


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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

 

Stocking Stuffer CDs

Kids CDs make great stocking stuffers... Here are some quick reviews of CDs worthy of gift-giving this holiday:

Recess Monkey - Wonderstuff
The Seattle-based band Recess Monkey has produced an outrageously eclectic concept album that introduces children to a wide range of musical styles while telling a fun story. The double disc song cycle spins a colorful tale about Everett The Wonderbee and his struggle to save his home from a mysterious evil force called The Gray. Kids will laugh and clap at all the silliness, while parents will appreciate the Beatles, Beach Boys, and Motown influences in the songs. More info here.

Buck Howdy with BB - Chickens
Yet another irresistible country-flavored CD for the whole family. Buck Howdy and BB know how to have a good time, and they do it in style with a mix of western swing, big band, pop, and Dixieland jazz. From toe-tapping originals to zany covers of rock classics, like The Coasters' "Yakety Yak," this CD is a fun collection of songs for all ages. More info here.

Maria Sangiolo - Under The Mystic Sea
Maria Sangiolo's third family CD has an aquatic theme, celebrating the ocean and the creatures that call it home. Sangiolo has an immediately charming voice, like a cross between the folk of Judy Collins and the pop of Mandy Moore. Her songs are melodic folk-pop tunes about polar bears, sharks, and penguins. "Giggly Girl" is destined to become a classic. Very appealing for even the youngest kids, but highly listenable for grown-ups too! More info here.

Various Artists - Down At The Sea Hotel
A beautiful collection of lullabies from folk artists Guy Davis, Lucy Kaplansky, The Wailin' Jennys, John Gorka, Lynn Miles, and Eliza Gilkyson. The songs come from a diverse group of songwriters, including Neil Young, Billy Joel, Don Henley, Steve Earle, and Carole King. Whoever picked these tracks knew how to create a gentle, flowing mix of quiet time music. Parents will appreciate the exquisite instrumentation and production. You'll be listening to this one even after the kids are in bed. More info here.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

 

The BummKinn Band

Country music is the most popular radio format in America, so it's surprising that there aren't more children's artists playing in that style.

Last summer I reviewed an excellent CD by the band Hullabaloo. It's been awhile, but I've finally heard another kids' country CD, and it was worth the wait.

Starry Skies and Lullabies by The BummKinn Band features twangy hand-clapping songs geared toward the under-10 set. Singer-songwriter Kimber Breaux has a huge voice, reminiscent of Mary Chapin-Carpenter, and her nursery rhyme lyrics are filled with colorful characters and positive lessons.

The Bummkinn Band also features vocalists Ryan Bueter and Sam Nickell, plus a guest appearance by Peter Tork (of Monkees fame) on banjo. The production is pristine, and the mix of songs ranges from toe-tapping sing-along to lovely, lilting lullaby.

I've said before that I'm not a big fan of country music, but these guys are such a treat to play for the kids that I'm slowly coming around. The BummKinn Band gets the highest recommendation from my family.

Listen: The BummKinn Band - "Snowman In My Freezer"

Hear more songs, and buy the CD, at CD Baby.

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

 

Mind Games

I begin each school day by asking my son to tell me the date. It's my way of trying to get him to pay more attention to the calendar. So far, his response is usually, "Ummm, I don't know." Sometimes he tries to guess, badly.

So I tell him the date and have him write it down. Today, as I announced, "It's October 9th," I realized it was John Lennon's birthday. Since my son is a Beatles fan like me, I announced that fact too.

He asked me, "How old would John Lennon have been today?" I quickly did the math and said, "Sixty-seven." Then I said, "No, wait, that can't be right." You see how much confidence I have in my mathematic abilities? It just didn't seem possible that John would've been that old today. But my calculations were correct. It really has been twenty-seven years since that terrible December day when a friend called me to say "Lennon is dead!"

We listened to a few Lennon and Beatles tunes to commemorate his birth. Even after all this time, many of his songs still sound fresh and vibrant. I love watching my kids discover all this great music from the past.

Children's musician Eric Herman has been thinking about John Lennon lately. He was recently honored as one of the finalists in the 2007 John Lennon Songwriting Contest for his classic "The Elephant Song." View the video here.

Congratulations, Eric, for writing such a great song and receiving such an amazing honor! I can just imagine that John would get a big kick out of your song. It has the kind of quirky humor he was famous for.

I highly recommend Eric's latest CD, Snail's Pace. You can read my review of it here.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

 

CD Review: Locksley

Last month I made my 5-year-old daughter a mix CD of Beatles songs that span their entire career. I quickly noticed that she kept hitting the repeat button after the early tunes, like She Loves You and A Hard Day's Night, with all their hand claps, harmonies, and jangly guitars.

So she's a little Beatlemaniac now, but it's not necessarily the band she cares about... It's the sound.

I love that early 60's, British Invasion sound too, and am always interested when a modern band tries to imitate it. Most of the time they come off sounding like just another tribute group.

That's not the case with Brooklyn-based band Locksley. Their debut CD, Don't Make Me Wait, is an irresistible blend of power pop and Mersey Beat that sounds totally fresh and exciting. This is not kids' music. It's everybody music. Joyfully uncomplicated toe-tapping tunes that are just plain fun.

My family highly recommends Locksley!

Have a listen:

Locksley - "The Past And The Present"

Or have a look:



You can buy their CD at Amazon.com!

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