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


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. 


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


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!

Daria – World Music for Children + Hanukkah goodies


Daria Marmaluk-Hajioannou, simply known as DARIA, is dedicated to educating children about world music. As a world traveler and internationally known folksinger, DARIA draws from her experiences and delivers songs based on American and world folk music traditions.

DARIA is passionate about in the power of creating and sharing music. To encourage this, she regularly features multi-cultural activities as a resource for parents, teachers, homeschoolers and kids of all abilities. Whether she is making crafts such as button castanets, transforming a cardboard box into a cajon (a drum shaped like a box), or mimicking the sounds of a washboard using manila file folders and a spoon, Daria encourages kids and parents to really experience music in a holistic way.

We also enjoy DARIA’s monthly songs, which feature songs that are popular or represent celebrations in different countries around the world. This month, Daria posted lots of goodies for the upcoming holidays. In honor of Hanukkah, DARIA created two videos, the first of which is sung in English and Ladino (a mix of Spanish and Hebrew) for those that might be celebrating Hanukkah in Spain. 

If you are already a fan of Putumayo Kids, you will have no problem adding DARIA into your world music rotation. She is a talented musician with a beautiful voice that naturally captures the essence of a diverse range of cultures while also providing resources for kids to learn about world music in an experiential way. As Daria writes in her bio, “its all about empowering kids… letting them explore the world of music in a way that unlocks the amazing talent and inner beauty they naturally possess.” Definitely check her out!

“Oh Dreydl” and “Ocho Candelikas – A Hannukah Song (Eight Little Candles)” are featured on Daria’s holiday album, Celebrate the Seasons: Multicultural Songs for the Holidays by DARIA, which can be purchased through iTunes and Amazon.

And don’t miss Daria’s Dreidel Coloring Page and colorful instructions on How to Play the Dreidel Game.

You can also enter to win a musical triangle and a set of finger cymbals here.

Happy Thanksgiving + Hanukkah (songs + videos)

Happy Thanksgivukkah! As Thanksgiving and Hanukkah converge this year, there are naturally some songs in honor of this rare occasion. Here are a few items to enjoy as you gather ’round with family.


“Hannukah, O Hannukah (Introducing the Menurkey!).” – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band

The term “Menurkey” may sound silly but the story behind its creation is awesome! A Menurkey is a turkey shaped menorah that was created by Asher Weintraub, a 10-year-old boy from New York City. Asher initially thought of the idea based on the fact that the start of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving fall on the same day this year. And, thanks to a very successful Kickstarter campaign (820 backers), a limited flock of Menurkey’s will proudly shine this Thanksgivukkah and beyond. You can read more about how Asher created the Menurkey at the official Menurkey site.

“Hannukah, O Hannukah (Introducing the Menurkey!)” is available for purchase on iTunes as is their recent release The Dirty socks COME CLEAN.

MrPalindrome06I Want A Hippopatomus for Hanukkah – Mr. Palindrome

Mr. Palindrome, an Australia-based kindie artist who has recently picked up lots of great press for his album Smiley Face Sticker, delivers an entertaining adaptation of the original song written by John Rox (and made famous by 10-year-old Gayla Peevey) in 1953. The video is colorful and contains the fastest spelling of Hippopotamus I’ve ever seen or heard. After you are through unwrapping your gelt and spinning your dreidels, grab you kiddos and play along with this one!

Mr. Palindrome’s Smiley Face Sticker can be heard and purchased through his Bandcamp page

picture-135Joanie Leeds and the NightlightsTofurky

Joanie Leeds talks turkey in her song “Tofurky,” a playful tune for those who prefer a vegetarian/vegan option for Thanksgiving. Leeds has a knack for producing quality videos and this one holds up in the same way. Cute video, great production value, catchy song.

“Tofurky” can be downloaded for FREE via Joanie’s Bandcamp page which can be accessed through the Bandcamp widget below.

“Tofurky” is available from iTunes. Also, be sure to check out Joanie’s video for “Family Tree,” which won her first prize in the Children’s Category of the USA Songwriting Contest.

BrownGuitUpCropSmallDidipop – Thanksgivukah Hanukkah Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

After reading a NYTimes article called “Holidays Holding Hands,” Deborah DidiPop Poppink wrote this song and had it up on YouTube in about 5 1/2 hours . The video contains tips about what to make for dinner and how the calendars collide on these two fun holidays – Hanukkah and Thanksgiving.

Listen to this: “Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch” – Story Laurie

artworks-000059168220-shgxkj-t500x500It’s almost Halloween and pumpkin patches are in full swing around here. The farms are full of excitement as kids triumphantly claim their bright orange bounty. This year, thanks to Laurie McIntosh (aka Story Laurie), there is a song that will enliven your experience even more.

“Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch” is a sing-along written by 1st graders during a recent workshop Laurie conducted. It’s a catchy song that encourages participation through call and response. We had a chance to test it out today as we made our annual trek out to a local patch. As we strolled around, searching for “the great pumpkin,” we enjoyed humming along, as well as taking turns being the caller and the responder. It made for some fun family bonding.

“Picking Pumpkins at the Pumpkin Patch” is available for download through the SoundCloud widget below. Download it today and bring it along as you head on down to the pumpkin patch. Happy pumpkin picking!

BonusParents, teachers, homeschoolers: Laurie also posted a link to New York Agriculture in The Classroom’s “Great Pumpkins” 1st Grade lesson plan which contains some great ideas related to pumpkins and pumpkin patches.

FREE MUSIC: Kick Out the Jammies: Various Artists


I’ve gone through many a compilation over the years and sometimes a compilation can greatly succeed all expectations and other times, not so much. Finding that one compilation that contains stellar music, organized in just the right way, is priceless. Burnside Distribution recently released their second compilation, Kick Out the Jammies, containing 11 rockin’ tracks from kindie artists such as Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke, The Verve Pipe, Caspar Babypants, Recess Monkey, The Not-Its!, The Harmonica Pocket, Cat Doorman, Miss Nina and several other wonderful artists that make our souls come alive with the sound of music.

Even better, the compilation is FREE. See, priceless!

Download Kick Out The Jammies from Amazon here.

NOTE: This is Burnside Distribution’s first compilation, released in 2011, is also full of kindie music featuring some of the same artists as mentioned above. “Plays Well Together” can be found via Amazon and is also free.

Win a trip to NYC! It’s a No Kidding? Just Kidding! Sweepstakes with SiriusXM Kids Place Live!

It’s a No Kidding? Just Kidding! Sweepstakes with SiriusXM Kids Place Live! 

One Lucky Family Will Win a Trip to NYC and Meet ‘The Story Pirates.’
Enter to win and have your child’s story acted out by The Story Pirates!
PLUS all entrants receive a FREE DOWNLOAD filled with excellent music from some of today’s hottest kindie musicians!

The giveaway will run from August 7 through August 21. Just Kidding sweepstakes details are posted at

Have you heard of The Story Pirates? If not, then you need to! They are frequently featured on satellite radio (Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live – Ch 78) where they perform sketches written by kids. The Story Pirates are a talented team of actors and teaching artists. They regularly enrich children’s lives by inspiring creativity and essentially performing magic as they bring childrens’ stories to life. And, they just happen to be naturally hilarious! Interested in seeing their work? Enter to win and then scroll down to view a video featuring The Story Pirates in action at a school in New York.

The Story Pirates will be opening the 2013-2014 season at one of my favorite New York City performing arts centers, Symphony Space! Beginning today, Symphony Space and SiriusXM Satellite Radio’s Kids Place Live will launch a nationwide sweepstakes offering a family weekend getaway trip to New York City, plus other great prizes. And one lucky family will win a trip to NYC and meet ‘The Story Pirates.’ Plus, if you are a Grand Prize winner, The Story Pirates will actually perform a sketch created from your child’s story! Read below for more details and make sure you enter to win.  The giveaway will run from August 7 through August 21. Just Kidding sweepstakes details are posted at

But, that’s not all….

Everybody wins! Get a Just Kidding song mix just for entering!

All entrants who opt-in to receive emails from Just Kidding can download a set of free songs from this season’s Just Kidding performers including Elizabeth Mitchell, Justin Roberts, Gustafer Yellowgold, the Okee Dokee Brothers, Dog on Fleas, Joanie Leeds, the Sugar Free Allstars, Billy Kelly, Lunch Money, Mister G, Asheba, Charlie Hope, Recess Monkey, Ratboy Jr, Josh & the Jamtones, Billy Kelly & the Blah Blah Blahs, and Astrograss.

Entries in the No Kidding? Just Kidding sweepstakes must be received by August 21, 2013 at 9 pm EST. The sweepstakes will be open to anyone in the continental United States, except where prohibited. Other restrictions may apply. The Grand Prize winner must be able to travel to New York City over the weekend of October 4 to 6, 2013, and attend the 2 pm Story Pirates performance at Symphony Space on October 5, 2013. The grand prize offer is not valid for any other dates. Grand and second prize winners will be announced on August 30, 2013.

Breakdown of prizes are as follows:

· Grand Prize: A family weekend getaway in New York City, October 4 to 6. One lucky family will win the following prize package, valued at approximately $3,500: air transportation for four from anywhere in the continental United States, two nights at the Hotel Newton on Manhattan’s Upper Westside, four tickets and backstage passes for Symphony Space’s debut event of the Just Kidding season, with The Story Pirates, plus other goodies. The winning family will also get to meet Absolutely Mindy from SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live. Meals at Big Daddy’s, Two Boots Pizza and the Thalia Café are also included. PLUS: The Story Pirates will perform a story written by the winning family’s children.

· Five Second Prize winners will each receive a library of CDs from every musical artist performing at Just Kidding this season, plus new children’s books from Symphony Space’s Thalia Kids’ Book Club and a Just Kidding t-shirt.

About the Just Kidding Series

Presenting everything from break dancing to ballet, along with planet-hopping puppetry, electroluminescent dinosaurs, and new tunes from the nation’s hottest kindie rock artists, Symphony Space announces an adventurous mix of live performance for its critically acclaimed Just Kidding series. The 2013-14 season launches on October 5th with a kid-driven sketch comedy performance by The Story Pirates, and runs most Saturdays and some Sundays through April 2014. Details are at

Each weekend, Just Kidding attracts hundreds of kids and their grownups for one of the most reliable, exciting and value-driven performing arts options available anywhere in the nation. Time Out New York Kids calls Just Kidding “the best concert series for kids” with “a jam-packed bill of family programming.” The Boston Globe commends it as “an affordable way to introduce children to live entertainment in a safe, inviting, and family-friendly environment.” And the Parents’ Choice Foundation advises, “For kid and family friendly entertainment in the city, look no further.”

[Video courtesy of Story Pirates via YouTube]

So, whadda  ya waitin’ for? Git on over to and become a winner today!

Singled Out: “Bright Leaf” – Underbirds

artworks-000041738599-ujs6vd-t200x200The Underbirds just released another single from their self-titled album.  “Bright Leaf,” expresses gratitude for the special gifts that come into our lives, whether it be that one bright leaf in a dark tree, a white star in foggy dream or a loved one.  There also happens to be a killer guitar solo in the middle of this song.

This track is available for download via the Soundcloud link below: