We love playlists any time of year but there are certain times where it feels like the season dictates the need for certain kinds of sounds. Summer is one of them. Every summer, we look forward to creating a soundtrack that echoes the feeling of warmer weather, beach days, outdoor concerts, nature walks and road trip adventures. Even when the hot, sticky weather calls for more time spent indoors, we reach for things that are upbeat, breezy and remind us to just take it easy.
Thanks to our friends at Sugar Mountain PR, the following playlist will help kick-start your summer soundtrack. Starting today, the playlist is available for download through May 25, 2016.
Like what you hear? Click on the artist’s name to visit their site and learn more. Be sure to also check their shows/schedule pages to see if you can catch a summer concert in your town.Frances England – “Explorer of the World” (Explorer of the World)
While I’m working on some things behind the scenes, I’ve got some new music to share with you. So let’s take a dive into what’s poppin in the kindie world.
For the most part, the following items are videos, but I’m also pleased to share some audio clips from a couple of our favorite artists. So let’s start there.
Laura Doherty – “Early Bird & Night Owl” and “Animal Tracks”
Doherty releases her fourth children’s album today (April 1, 2026)! Animal Tracks is a collection of 10 previously released animal songs, plus 3 new ones. Dougherty has such a nice way of crafting cozy, singable songs. Doherty plays acoustic folk punctuated by a bouncy ukulele. A great combo that always prompts a little wiggle or two and incites lots of other kinds of interaction. Spending time with Dougherty always feels like a great way to pass the time. In celebration of the album’s release, she is also releasing the first single, “Early Bird, Night Owl” and the album’s title track.
Turkey Andersen is a crafty songwriter that tells interesting stories with a keen sense of humor. His sound echoes that of They Might Be Giants and is always entertaining to listen to. From Anderson’s latest album, Turkey Andersen 2, meet “Rhonda Bubbles” whose culinary choices are dictated by their shape. Unique, yet parents will find it very familiar.
The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Saddle Up.”
This video wows me as with most videos by the Brothers. Shot in Ultra HD, it’s almost like a virtual reality trip. Gorgeous panorama, sweeping landscapes from all points of view, and story song. “Saddle Up” is the first music video and title track from their forthcoming third adventure album. As Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander take viewers along for another ride as they once again explore and get inspired by the great outdoors. This time their journey takes them to the great West where, as you’ll see, they rode horses along the Continental Divide. Their story is inspiring and a testament to how getting connected with what’s outside really feeds the soul. Get ready to soak in the sights and sounds. Pre-order Saddle Up (CD + DVD Combo) through the Okee’s Official Store | iTunes | Amazon
Bay Area-based electro-kindie artist Liz DeRoche, aka The Singing Lizard, just released A Club Called Awesome which offers an exclusive membership for kids to find their happy place. And will they ever! In her latest video, DeRoche invites kids to be themselves, whatever that means to them. It’s a wonderful message and there is a really personal message in here for kids to know that there are no rules about what kids should like based on whether they are a girl or a boy. It’s a call for recognizing how awesome each and every child truly is. Get a behind the scenes explanation of what motivated DeRoche to write the song. Stay tuned for album review. iTunes | Amazon | Bandcamp
“Astronauts Love” will immediately appeal to kids’ curious minds as they follow along and imagine what it’s like to be an astronaut in space. Questions like A clever, catchy little tune that fuses together what kids love to do in their own daily life with what an astronauts might be doing with all of their time in space. Could they really lift 600 lbs (due to lack of force) and not get sore? These and other questions are explored in Jamie’s new stop motion video. Purchase it at iTunes | Amazon
I’m a sucker for some good comedy and Phoebe Lichty’s video for “Duck’s Song” from her forthcoming album April Fool struck my funny bone. This video will absolutely make you smile. Though the song has a sincere message, Lichty has a pretty great sense of humor which balances the visual parody of the song’s accompanying video out nicely. “Duck’s Song” is presented as a parody of the TEDx stage speeches with a truly inspiring message. Heartfelt and empowering, the track encourages grabbing hold of your inner voice and owning your strengths and just going for it. No fear! Just fly!
“Duck’s Song” is also part of a greater narrative that lives in April Fool which tells the story of a girl (April) who wants to be a jester, a king who stands in her way, and a duck who inspires her to go for her dream.
Man do I love encountering some rock music that echoes the likes of what I stock up in my own library. With their new video, “Take a Time Out” (off of last year’s We’re Not Going Crazy) Chibi Kodama comes forth with a new video for a stellar song that reminds me a little of Weezer with the crunchy electric guitars that dominate throughout (in a good way). It begs for high volume and air guitar, inflatable guitar, real guitar or any DIY guitar that will allow serious shredding as soon as you click play. The song itself touches upon the need for kids to recognize (and parents) when its time to take a time out and reset. That’s true wisdom right there and though it’s sometimes so hard to do in the moment, this rockin’ song offers a catchy lyric or two that will serve as helpful reminders. What else does this video have: Kids rockin’ out? Check. googly eye chin faces? Check! Order the album at iTunes | Amazon. Chibi Kodama will be releasing their third family album, Stardust, in late May 2016. Sample and preorder tracks from the album here.
Emily Arrow is a kidlit singer-songwriter who brings children’s books to life through song. We are crazy about books here and when I first learned about Emily Arrow, I swept away by her magical ability to give the wonderful stories she covers a new dimension. Her sweet voice is immediately appealing and the songs have a pop radio quality to them. Arrow is 2015 Winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contestin the Children’s Category for her song The Curious Garden Song which wasinspired by the book THE CURIOUS GARDEN by Peter Brown. Emily was also a finalist in the 2015 Great American Song Contest and the 2014 John Lennon Songwriting Contest. Today’s video for “The Dot Song” is an older video but it’s featured on her debut Story Singalong Volume 1. Purchase the album Arrow’sher official site | iTunes | Amazon
It’s that time of year again! A time filled with anticipation and excitement for the recording arts industry. As the 58th Annual Grammy® Awards get closer, so does the annual children’s Grammy nominees benefit concert. This event is always exciting as it brings a rare opportunity to see award-winning artists from around the U.S. perform under one roof. And it’s open to the public! For families looking for a special Valentine’s Day gift this is a sweet treat to indulge in for the little music lovers in your life (and for yourself, really).
This year’s list of Grammy® nominees for Best Children’s Album is unique because all five are independent artists representing a nice variety of styles including jazz, indie-pop, folk, and even bilingual Latin American. See below for more info on the artists, as well as a special Grammy playlist! Continue reading →
Halloween is my favorite holiday. The spookiness, the pumpkin flavored everything, and the unlimited creative potential for weird and wonderful decorating fun.
Of course you can’t have Halloween without the proper soundtrack. I have always liked when artists embellish on the “go big or go home” side of this holiday. The lush orchestral arrangements, suspenseful guitar/bass plucking, creepy stringed instruments, spooky soundbites, and a crazy cackle. Even the more whimsical ones can set the right tone.
What I also like about Halloween music for kids is that in addition to grand arrangements there are thoughtful lyrics offering messages of bravery.
Today’s post features some recommended singles and videos that are just spooky enough to capture the fun without giving your little spirits too much of a fright.
“Bumps in the night” – This kindie debut is the collaborative product of Keith Wasserman aka Mr. Whirly and Patrick Hanlin of Josh and the Jamtones. “Bumps in the Night” offers a heaping spoonful of courage with a bold declaration that shines a big ole spotlight on anything that threatens to go bump in the night.
“Are you a Monster, Too?” – Harmonica Pocket. Because if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. Such a sweet little video for all those monsters, goblins and ghouls out there.
“Creatures Under My Bed” – Caspar Babypants. The monsters lurking in the shadows really just want to come out and play silly songs. The boogie woogie earthquake anyone?
“The Skunk and the Robot” – Ratboy Jr. With all the little skunks and robots running around on Halloween, this could be a preempitve way to get them all to get along. Even after the candy high wears off.
“It’s Only In Your Head” – Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us and our imaginations get the best of us. When that happen it can really spoil a good slumber. The wonderful truth Mista Cookie Jar tells here is that sleep demons are no match for the love that surrounds kids when they are awake.
“Snowstorm on Halloween” – Turkey Andersen. The irony in this song is pretty great. While hopefully it won’t happen, it’s still very likely that it could snow on Halloween. And those holiday ornaments out on the pharmacy shelves? Yeah, those are real. So, really, that right there is like a snowstorm on Halloween. Thankfully, this song keeps the cheer of both holidays alive. Happy Snowlaween y’all!
Summer is all about good friends and good tunes! Regardless of where you are and what you’re doing, the following downloadable playlist will give your family plenty to sing about this summer.
Thanks to Sugar Mountain PR for putting together “Summer Songs for Road Trips, Parties and Play Time” (also featured in FamilyFun Magazine). Download all 10 tracks through the Soundcloud widget below. This free offer is good through July 31, 2015 so make sure to grab it before it expires.
NOTE: Downloads work best in the web version of Soundcloud, as opposed to the mobile app. To download: click the down button icon to the right of each song. Though this offer is good through July 31, 2015, streaming is free anytime during or after it.
If you like what you hear, please support these independent artists by clicking on the links below and checking out their store for purchase information.
“Mama, thank you for bringing me into this world.”
Today I am proud to premiere the 8th single in Mista Cookie Jar’s song-a-month series. Appropriately titled, “Mama,” is his most personal so far. An homage to his mother and his Filipino heritage, MCJ opens up about his parents’ journey to the states and where he grew up.
She went with Papa to the land they call America. Now here I am,
quite the character!
Off the boat, they landed. Where? It’s kinda random. I was born in Georgia,
grew up in Alabama.
A country boy with devotion to his family.
That’s filipino values and some southern hospitality.
This new track is upbeat with a nice swing to it. MCJ describes it as “Multi-culti hodgepodgeyness with a little reggae.“
I love the part where MCJ gratefully sings out ”Thank you for bringing me into this world,” a phrase his mother taught him. “My mom said that to her mom on her birthday and mother’s day. And now I say that to my mom on my birthday and Mother’s Day.” Such an endearing sentiment and reminder to give a big ole shout to all the special mama’s in your life!
Stream today’s premiere below and click through to purchase.
This week is full of reasons to celebrate! I’ll be posting things throughout the week in honor of these days, but for today we’ll start with Cinco de Mayo.
Since My daughter started Kindergarten, I have met many families who are working on incorporating more bilingual music and entertainment into their children’s lives. The most common statement I hear is that there is very little selection out there. It’s during these times that I think about how lucky I am to know so many wonderful children’s artists who are making rich, educational and entertaining music for this reason. It would be remiss of me NOT to share some knowledge with them.
As I was listening back to today’s playlist, I kept thinking about how I could listen to these songs any day of the year. There is so much joy, beauty and thought put into these songs. They rock! Every single artist on this list has a unique way of presenting their work, and whether you speak the language or not, you will want to sing along. Though most of the titles below are in Spanish, many the songs themselves contain English and Spanish lyrics, blended seamlessly so that the English translation either immediately precedes or follows the Spanish translation.
I have been receiving reports from family and friends in New England about the crazy amounts of snow that Just. Keeps. Falling. My sister hasn’t worked on a Monday in about a month and recently remarked “This winter is no joke, Rebecca!” And if Boston-based kindie artist and event producer Karen K (for Kalafatas) is any indication, the prognosis is not good, my friends. Not good at all.
I reached out to Karen earlier this week just to catch up, and she seemed, um, off, to say the least. Karen, the usually sunny front person to her band Karen K & the Jitterbugs and producer of the rockin’ Kids Really Rock family music festival, just didn’t seem like herself. She spoke in short, frantic sentences as if she’d forgotten how to interact with humans, and her usual warmth was well, cold, as though it had been locked up in an icebox. I think her eye might have been twitching while she was talking to me.
Admittedly, I was a little worried about both of them, and the rest of my friends and family in the New England region. Especially after my sister sent me a photo of a 4-lane road in Boston reduced to 1 1/2 lanes. But music heals, right? So I asked Karen to create a kindie playlist to describe her experience, and her mood – and the mood of Boston and the people of New England – since they’ve been hit by all this snow (and more is on the way!). This was her response.
By the way, Boston is expecting more snow this weekend. In the words of Karen herself, “God Speed, New England. God Speed.”
A Friggin Snow-Tastic Kindie Playlist, with Love From Boston
Click on the song names below to download the music and support a kindie artist today! Especially ones that might be inside for the rest of the year.
Snow Day – Justin Roberts, Jungle Gym Aw, Justin is right! Snow days are so fun! But I’m guessing a song entitled “Snow Day #416 And Counting” would have a completely different groove. Like maybe a funeral march. But you know. Just a guess.
Salmon Song– Jazzy Ash, Home Because salmon reminds me of Alaska. And Alaska reminds me that we basically live there now.
S-N-O-W-M-A-N – Billy Kelly, Thank You for Joining the Happy Club Yeah. It’s gotten so bad, we’re actually dreaming in S-N-O-W.
Play With Me – Big Bang Boom – Songs Your Mom Will Like 1) Play 2) With 3) Me. The top three words uttered this winter in a household with children, next to 1) Snow Day 2) $&*&#* and 3) #(*^$@&
Valentine – Laura Doherty, Shining Like a Star Hey, look at that! You made so many crafty-hearty-cute-and-Pinterest-worthy Valentines over your snow days that you can send one to every person on your Holiday Card list! Which is great, since you’ve been so busy complaining about the weather this winter, you completely forgot to mail your holidays cards. Again.
PJs All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, The Perfect Quirk “Honey, have you seen Offspring?” “Um, no…not in about 8 hours.” Translation: “Not since I went to work (in the dining room) and left you on the couch in the exact same position you are in now…”
Time to Brush Our Teeth – Brady Rymer, Look at My Belly Because yes, you were snow-lucinating when you heard Michelle Obama say she is going to add teeth-brushing to the Let’s Move initiative as a legitimate form of exercise. This totally. Does. Not. Count.
TV’s Watching Me – The Not-Its, Tag, You’re It! That moment you realize Peg is not really your daughter and you don’t own a Cat. (Also, Meredith Baxter Birney is not your friend, and falling asleep on the couch watching Lifetime movies does not equal having a slumber party with her. I repeat: This is not real and she is not your friend. Wait, did you hear that? What was that noise? Ohmygodsomeone’sbreakinginandtryingtokillme… helpmeMeredithhelpme!!!!)
Back to School – Joanie Leeds & the Nightlights, Bandwagon Did someone say school? THERE’S SCHOOL TOMORROW???? OhmygoshOhmygoshOhmygoshBestnewseverBestnewseverBestnews…Wait a minute. Was there homework this week? ((*R$^%*&(*)(^&$%#$#$*&^&$%$#%^*&!!!!!!!!
Snow Day– Eric Herman and the Invisible Band, Snow Day! BWAH HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, like you’re ever going back to school. Forecast says more snow. Translation: You’re screwed. (But, hey, at least this song is only 42 seconds long. Unlike the MAMMOTH snow storm on the way…)
M.T.A.– Ben Rudnick & Friends, Blast Off Poor Charlie. If only he’s waited for Winter 2015, when Mayor Marty Walsh CLOSED THE MBTA COMPLETELY DOWN for 2 DAYS. Ah, one man’s fate would have been so different. Sorry, Charlie.
Mean People – Lori Henriques, Outside My Door
Because New Englanders are friendly as long as you don’t make eye contact or speak. And that’s on a sunny day.
Snow Globe – Lunch Money,Original Friend Because we live in one. Because we freakin’ live in one. (And also, glitter.)
The Very Best Thing – Trout Fishing in America, The Very Best Thing – Single Hear that, snow? Love wins. It isn’t always easy, but family is everything. And having someone to share the crazy with is the very best thing.
Forever Young – Randy Kaplan, The Kids Are All Id Because you’re not as old as that couch has made you feel. Because you laughed deeper than the snow while frolicking outside with your Small Human. And because let’s face it: You just binged watched 5 seasons of Parenthood and cried the entire time.
– BONUS TRACK:
It’s a Sunny Day – Boogers, Extractum Victoris Hoooray!!!!! It’s Spring!!!!!!
– JUST KIDDING. HERE’S THE REAL BONUS TRACK:
It’s always fun to gather up some great songs, and tuck them neatly into a playlist. Today I’m sharing a bunch of songs (new and previously released) that we’ve been jammin’ to. It’s been fun to revisit some “classics.”
As always, I recommend listening to the playlist in the following order and then mixing things up with a little “shuffle.” If you like what you hear, click on the links below the playlist and consider supporting these wonderful, independent artists.
The Grammy’s will be here before we know it! In anticipation of this event, here is a playlist featuring the 2015 Grammy Nominees for Best Children’s Album thanks to Sugar Mountain PR. Get to know the nominees through the Artist’s links below.
NOTE: There will be a special benefit concert featuring these nominees on February 7, 2015 at 10:30am in Hollywood, CA. Check out this link for more information and tickets.Proceeds from the event will go to Little Kids Rock, a nonprofit organization that provides under-served public school children with free music classes and new instruments.