VIDEO PREMIERE: “Dynamite” – Alphabet Rockers + FREE DOWNLOAD

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Alphabet Rockers‘ fans unite! Get ready to groove along with Kaitlin, Tommy and Stef in the video premiere for “Dynamite.” Based on the popular classic “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes,” “Dynamite” integrates positive messages aimed at invigorating kids’ minds with the notion that they have the power to be superstars. This live action video is filled with infectious energy directly capturing the spirit of the song, which was selected as a finalist in the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

This is one of our favorite Alphabet Rockers’ songs and the ridiculous amount of fun you are about to see in this video is exactly like being at one of their concerts…kids (and grown-ups) just gettin’ down!

In her interview for the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, founder Kaitlin McGaw explains “…We incorporated cross-body movements in the pre-chorus because it is the movement itself which activates brain activity and primes children for a more focused learning experience. The main themes of self-esteem and celebrating how each of us is a “body rockin’ superstar” were organic creations from singing to the groove. It’s incredible to see the message come to life on children’s faces when we play or perform it for them.”

Read a behind the scenes account of the “Dynamite” video shoot here.

BonusThe Alphabet Rockers are offering a FREE download of “Dynamite” which is available via the Bandcamp widget below.

“Dynamite” is from the Alphabet Rockers’ album, Go! which is available for download from iTunes. You can also find updates and connect with this awesome trio through their Facebook page.

Be a part of the Alphabet Rockers’ fan club through their official site and stay tuned for updates on their upcoming web series which will feature facts about healthy food, writing confidence, and bullying-prevention messages for kids ages 4-8.

Teaching Resources: The Alphabet Rockers believe in mixing educational messages with fun. They have a myriad of resources for teachers, one of which includes a nutritional food activity (based on their song “Food Calculator”). Download activity sheets and learn how to incorporate this into your classroom here.

Kindiecomm featured performers: Also making it’s premiere is Kindiecomm, a new family music conference for musicians and related industry folks, and the Alphabet Rockers were selected as featured performers for the Kindiecomm Industry Showcase! This is definitely something I’m looking forward to!

A Mother’s Day Playlist + Free Download (limited time)

Mother’s Day is a special day! It’s a celebration of time spent watching, playing and growing with your little ones. Maybe you are getting a special homemade card that says “I LUV U MOM” or a kiss and a super duper leg squeeze from a little person (or two) who is just about as tall as your knee. Whatever the case may be, mom’s rock!

Speaking of mom rockstars, Beth Benz-Clucas of Sugar Mountain PR put together an awesome playlist featuring some of serious kindie talent. The best part? Starting today you can DOWNLOAD THE SONGS FOR FREE. But hurry because they are only downloadable for about a week. Although, the playlist will be available to stream beyond then.

Music has been a major “bonding agent” for me and my daughter and to have a collection of great music to share with her is already making Mother’s Day that much sweeter!

https://soundcloud.com/bethbcpr/sets/a-playlist-of-songs-for-moms

Please note that, according to Soundcloud, the download function works only on computers and laptops. Mobile devices and tablets ONLY allow for streaming of all of the songs.To Download, go to soundcloud and highlight the track you’d like, then click the download icon to the right.

The artists that make this playlist rock are:

  1. “Motorcycle Mom” – The Not-Its! (from their upcoming album Raise Your Hand)
  2. “No Fairy Tale” – Lisa Loeb
  3. “Ice Cream Girl” – Brady Rymer  
  4. “Our Love Fits” – Danny Weinkauf (feat. Laurie Berkner)
  5. “Red Piano Rag” – Brady Rymer
  6. “Black Bear Mama” – The Okee Dokee Brothers
  7. “Mockingbird” – Zee Avi
  8. “Mama’s House, Daddy’s House” – Suzi Shelton
  9. “Smile In My Heart” – Suzi Shelton
  10. “Tu Eres Amor” – Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

FREE DOWNLOAD: “Who Grew My Soup” – Story Laurie

Happy Earth Day!

To celebrate this holiday, Laurie McItntosh (aka Story Laurie) has a groovy tune available for free during the month of April.

“Who Grew My Soup?” is a happy reggae tune that Laurie wrote with elementary students during a Cultivating Connections songwriting workshop. The goal of this workshop is to cultivate student and community connections with the environment, healthy foods and nutrition, and farms.

The track was produced by Dean Jones and features vocal harmonies by Debbie Alan of Grenadilla and the elementary students with whom Laurie wrote the song.

In true Story Laurie fashion, “Who Grew My Soup?” Is playful while also delivering a wholesome message that is likely to prompt some great family discussion.

Grab your free download here: https://storylaurie.bandcamp.com/

Singled out: “Sing to Me” by The Walkmen’s Walter Martin feat. Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs)

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes a sweet song from Walter Martin of the indie rock band, The Walkmen. “Sing to Me,” is a track from Martin’s upcoming debut album, We’re All Young Together, which is set to release on May 13 (via Family Jukebox). The album features guest appearances by Karen O and Nick Zinner of The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Matt Berninger of the National, Alec Ounsworth of Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Kat Edmonson, The Walkmen’s Hamilton Leithauser and Matt Barrick, and more. 

I love this song. It’s almost unfair how much I love this song. I have always been a fan of The Walkmen and  The Yeah Yeah Yeahs so the pairing of Martin and Karen O on this track is a real treat. Martin’s deep baritone perfectly complements the ethereal beauty of Karen O’s. The words are romantic and whimsical in a fabulous way. This one will make your heart smile for sure! Really, the hardest part of listening to this song is deciding when to stop replaying it. I particularly love the lyrics: “I’d like to breach the castle walls of you & sing a concert in a hall of you” which feel so profound hidden among the other terms of endearment and graceful yodeling.

According to a press release, Martin began writing the songs on his new record when the Walkmen were finishing Heaven, which was also when his wife was pregnant with their first child. He calls We’re All Young Together “a family record”:

I began to imagine a record I really wanted to hear: something new and original that captured the essence of early rock ‘n’ roll – innocent but mischievous, romantic but funny, and unabashedly sweet. It wasn’t that I wanted to write songs to suit my new situation as a parent, it was more that parenthood made relevant writing the kind of songs I’ve always loved most.

Below is a lyric illustration for “Sing to Me” by illustrator Marcellus Hall, who designed the album’s artwork. 

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View this: “Santa Flying In Your Sleigh” – Todd McHatton + FREE DOWNLOADS through Dec 25, 2013.

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Todd McHatton has a new video for “Santa Flying In Your Sleigh” from his Christmas Songs album. I love this song because it echoes some of the curiosity and wonder kids have about Santa and Christmas. It’s as though McHatton was inspired by his own children’s questions when he wrote this song, which makes it so endearing and totally relatable. My daughter is approaching 5 and lately she has been asking the same kinds of questions that McHatton sings about here like “Santa Flying in your sleigh/ How do make it all the way/ Around the world? And Santa please tell me one more thing/ How do you know just what to bring/ Every boy and girl?” There is something about McHatton’s music that is so comforting. I frequently find myself thinking “yes, this is exactly the way music should sound.” And you are more than likely to feel exactly the same way.

As a special Christmas bonus, Todd McHatton is offering FREE downloads of all his albums (even Marvy Monstone’s album is available for FREE!) through Dec 25. Make sure you grab them through McHatton’s Bandcamp site or via the Bandcamp widget below. This is a rare and special opportunity. Also, check out my post about giving merchandise in addition to music this year. The post features Mchatton’s book, Grass Stained Twilight, a collection of stories, songs, pictures, and poems that echoes the likes of Shel Silverstein. Download the album and grab a copy of the book for an excellent gift.

Holiday single: “Santa and Baby (Santa’s Little Helper)” – Debbie and Friends

960217_10202785339659197_567911192_nI posted this up on Facebook but also wanted to give it a shout out here because I dig the message in this song. I also love the colorful animation for this charming tale about a young pup wanting to be Santa’s little helper. Whether four-legged or not, I think all “young pups” will relate to wanting to be a part of Santa’s crew.

Debbie Cavalier of Debbie and Friends drew her inspiration from her friend’s dog, Baby (pictured here thanks to Beth Oram Photography), and the grooves of the Spin Doctors, which works nicely in this song.

You can also stream the song for free via the Soundcloud widget below:

Video – “Baby Born Today” – Elizabeth Mitchell and Friends (from The Sounding Joy) + FREE DOWNLOAD

the_sounding_joy_300The Sounding Joy, Elizabeth Mitchell’s first full-length holiday album (released under the Smithsonian Folkways label), is steeped in tradition and community. For this album, Mitchell (and a group of friends) dug deep into Ruth Crawford Seeger’s 1953 songbook American Folk Songs for Christmas to give these songs a modern age twist. Although, I use the word “modern” loosely here as the arrangements are just as reverent in tone and very much embody the spirit of Seeger’s versions.

The first video from The Sounding Joy is for the song “Baby Born Today.” Joining Mitchell and her husband, Daniel Littleton, are 6 performers, one of which is Natalie Merchant who also wrote the Introduction in the liner notes. This is a lovely video, shot in natural light, which perfectly captures the expression of pure joy each singer feels as they deliver their verses. The energy among the group is certainly palpable and filled with emotional depth. I particularly love Littleton’s guitar work, as well as the sprightly accents of Ruthy Ungar’s and Simi Stone’s strings.

“Baby Born Today” is a call-and-response type of song filled with beautifully layered melodies reminiscent of what you might find in a congregation or among carolers. While “Baby Born Today” contains Christian narratives, the blend of folk, some light gospel, and rhythmic stomping, will enliven the spirit of any listener regardless of their religious denomination (or lack thereof).

BONUS: Smithsonian Folkways is offering a FREE DOWNLOAD of “Children, Go Where I Send Thee” featuring Mitchell and Littleton’s daughter, Storey (who I just can’t hear enough of), as well as Dan Zanes. It’s an energetic song filled with folk and a little bit o’ country that will get you clapping and singing from the first note. Definitely one of my favorite songs on the album! Also, when you click on the “FREE DOWNLOAD” link above, you will be taken to the Smithsonian Folkways page which also allows you to download the liner notes for The Sounding Joy. Highly Recommended!