Hootenanny: Back to Basics 2 – A Kindie production by Bill Childs and Stephanie Mayers

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The Kindie genre is thriving, and one of its strongest aspects is the community. There have been industry conferences, such as the now retired Kindiefest, the newborn (relatively, it’s more like a toddler now) Kindiecomm, and some artist meet-ups and showcases. There is no shortage of people working passionately to support and move this genre forward. Two of those people are Bill Childs (Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child) and Stephanie Mayers (Mayers Consulting).

Bill and Stephanie are producing Hootenanny: Back to Basics 2 (“Hootenanny 2”), a one night event featuring nuthin’ but music from a solid set of collaborations covering a broad range of styles. So solid.

While Hootenanny 2 is primarily geared toward industry folks (kids’ musicians and (kids) music biz folks), it will be open to the public.

The event will be held on Saturday, January 16, 2016 at Jalopy in Brooklyn. Tickets are available here.

Lineup:

Rachel Loshak and Morgan Taylor (Gustafer Yellowgold)
Joanie Leeds and Dan Elliott (Pointed Man Band)
Vered Ronen and Walter Martin
Michael & the Rockness Monsters and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Jazzy Ash and KB Whirly
Ashley Albert and Tim Kubart
Danny Weinkauf and AudraRox
Sonia de los Santos and Brady Rymer
Shine (Shine and the Moonbeams) & Dan Zanes
The Deedle Deedle Dees and Moona Luna
Elena Moon Park and The Pop Ups

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Holiday Music 2015 – Albums, Videos and Songs

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I was decorating our tree with my daughter Emily the other night and when I heard her singing along with “Frosty the Snowman” it seemed like everything was quiet in that moment. Music is such a significant part of the holiday season and it never goes out of style. This year brings another great bunch of variety to add to your classics. They also make excellent holiday gifts/stocking stuffers! Giving the gift of music is truly a gift that keeps on giving.  Enjoy!

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Rocknoceros
– Happy Holidays

Rocknoceros comes forth with a rock solid collection of holiday jams. Happy Holidays contains 9 tracks that start from Halloween and end with New Years. What I love most are the combination of musical styles and the creative approach this Virignina-based trio takes towards traditional tunes. In many ways they remind me of They Might Be Giants. “Christmas Brie,” for example, features some punny dialogue around the words “Christmas Tree” and is layered over some Vince Guaraldi-esque jazz. The Peanuts quality of this song goes well with the album cover which also reminds me a bit of scenes from the TV special A Charlie Brown Christmas. “The Dreidel Song” honors a traditional Chanukah game and “Wenceslas” echoes all the gratitude, love and giving of the season with a memorable story set to the toll of beloved holiday bells. Happy Holidays will help you glide through the last quarter of the year and send you happily sailing into the coming new year.

Happy Holidays is available through Rocknoceros’ official store.


joshandthejamtones5Josh and the Jamtones – Jammin’ with Jew!, Volume 2 Holiday Xxplosion!

A huge part of Jewish tradition is centered around music – song, and especially dance. Each one significantly contributes to the practice of traditions and observance. So the fact that Josh and the Jamtones, known for their high energy kindie jams, put out an album that promises to be a “Holiday Xxplosion” (double X for Xtra Large fun!) just makes sense, and is awesome. Though there are plenty of songs for Jewish families out there, the Jamtones bring a hip, cohesive alternative to the fold. Jammin’ with Jew!, Volume 2 is a collection of 14 songs in both English and Hebrew. The prayer for peace, “Oseh Shalom” sounds even more on point backed by some equally harmonious reggae rhythm, while the more secular “Amen,” a Bluegrassy/Big Band track encourages gratitude in a bold way. “Amen” is such a joyful song, there’s no doubt you’ll find yourself engaged with this song while clapping along. Chanukah specific songs include a rollicking ska-drenched version of “Oh Chanukah” – super danceable for those ready to turn their living room into a mad Horah dance party  – and a swingin’ version of “Dreidle.” Jammin’ with Jew!, Volume 2 offers families a one-stop destination ready for a happy set of celebrations throughout the year. We are a family that celebrates both Christmas and Jewish holidays and having an album with popular Jewish songs all in one place has been an especially welcome convenience.

Jammin’ with Jew!, Volume 2 is available through iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon.


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Andrew & Polly
 Other Days
Representing the West Coast is the wonderfully warm duo of Andrew & Polly. They are offering up a sweet little gift of 4 songs celebrating tradition and family. As a bonus gift, the duo teamed up with master collaborator Mista Cookie Jar in “L.A. Christmas” which delights with festively mellow sun and sand style. Together they remind us that regardless of whether you’ve got pine trees or palm trees (or are rockin’ a Hawaiian shirt), this is simply the season to fill up on love and just sway together. The beauty of Other Days is that it truly can persist beyond the holiday season. Though half of the songs include holiday specific references, “Thank You for the Box” and “A Mapmaker’s Song” go beyond the boundaries of this time of year, and feature what makes Andrew & Polly so lovable – a little whimsy and a whole lotta charm. Ending with “A Mapmaker’s Song,” families will relate to the sentiment that home truly is where the heart is.

Other Days is available through Andrew & Polly’s online store, and  iTunes.


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Greg Page – Here Comes Christmas!

Greg Page, otherwise known as The Yellow Wiggle, has embarked on a solo path with a new production group called Yellow Entertainment and a children’s program called Butterscotch’s Playground (available through DVD ). Just in time for the holidays, Page has produced a holiday album full of original and traditional songs which display vocal chops that easily put him in even footing with some of the holiday’s best crooners. Page’s voice, like Gene Autry, Bing Crosby, and even Ol’ Blue Eyes, is full of the same smooth characteristics that have made the aforementioned notables significant voices of the season. Here Comes Christmas! will be nostalgic for adults reminiscing on their own childhood traditions while gleefully making new memories with little ones to reflect back upon when they are grown. Beloved tunes such as “Santa Claus is Coming to Town,” “White Christmas,” “Silver Bells,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” among other favorites found in this collection are why music has become such a staple for invoking the holiday spirit. The arrangements are preserved to the tee for the most part, although “The Twelve Days of Christmas” gets wild and wooly as it features guinea pigs, goldfish and puppy dogs with a bonus of goat’s milk (which is made into…well, you’ll have to listen to find out! No holiday spoilers here!). Among the aforementioned albums in this post Here Comes Christmas! is a comforting and familiar place to return to, just like coming in from the cold and being handed a warm mug of cocoa and some freshly baked cookies. This is definitely an album you can just spin while gleefully trimming your Christmas tree. Every now and then you might just catch yourself singing along and then smiling as you look around and see your little ones joining you in the chorus.

Here Comes Christmas! also contains 4 bonus songs from Butterscotch’s Playground and is available from iTunes and the official Butterscotch TV website.



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Maestro Classics
 – The Nutcracker 

One of the most iconic soundtracks of the season is The Nutcracker. Tchaikovsky’s lush orchestration is truly prized and unforgettable.

Adapted and conducted by Stephen Simon and narrated by Jim Weiss, Maestro Classics presents music (performed by The London Philharmonic Orchestra) that tells the story of this enchanting ballet.

This retelling of The Nutcracker is punctuated by the majestic sounds of the ballet in the background. Jim is a master storyteller and his enthusiastic narration will adorn children’s imaginations with lavish scenes full of wonder featuring Clara, her Nutcracker Prince, the battle with the Mouse King, and the dance with the Sugar Plum Fairy.

The Nutcracker will always conjure up feelings of Christmas and this album is truly an excellent gift of the season. Maestro Classics is dedicated to fostering a love of classical music and their storytelling series will help children pair important works with time honored soundtracks, thereby identifying with the music (independent of the story) later on. Combining a story with the music also serves as a great resource for children who may not already be familiar with or who may not prefer classical music or songs without words.

Each CD set comes with an activity booklet which includes bite-sized educational features such as The History of Ballet, a few lines of music for “Overture to The Nutcracker,” information about the Harp, a brief bio of Pyotr Ilych Tchaikovsky, and some word games. In addition to The Nutcracker, Maestro Classics offers other timeless pieces as part of their Stories in Music series which brings the magic of theater, classical music and storytelling into a very accessible space for families, whether you are listening at home, or traveling in the car.

You can purchase this set, along with other fabulous classical music collections at the Maestro Classics official site.



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A Laurie Berkner Christmas

The following songs are from one of our favorite holiday albums, A Laurie Berkner Christmas, which features a mix of Christmas, Chanukah and seasonal songs. “Candle Chase” has a nice rhythm similar to the beat found in many Jewish songs. Perfect for celebrating around the brilliant glow of your menorah.

Laurie recently came out with a new video for “Children Go Where I send Thee” which also features 2-time Grammy nom Brady Rymer. It’s such an infectious version of this classic song which is featured on an equally heartwarming and upbeat album. You’ll love it. “Children Go Where I Send Thee” is featured on both A Laurie Berkner Christmas and Laurie’s recently released Laurie Berkner’s Favorite Classic Kids’ Songs.

Read my previous review of A Laurie Berkner Christmas here.

For posts from previous years featuring our favorites, check out Songs for the Season – Part 1, Songs for the Season – Part 2, Untangling the Christmas Lights – Brady Rymer, Santa Flying in your Sleigh – Todd McHatton.


 

SONGS

8CeH48N2iDd2Oo2QnipzeeZolrhJUOuq4-KGgWtfwWUJason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam – “Summertime Santa”

As a native of New Jersey, and a resident of California, the sounds of this song, and seeing Santa give the shaka (aka “hang ten”) sign makes me smile. Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam’s new holiday track, “Summertime Santa” rings with jingle bells and some good ol’ Jersey Rock n’ Roll. So what does Santa do in the summertime? He hangs up his big red winter coat, and heads down the shore to unwind, basking in the glory of all that the boardwalk has to offer. Didner and the crew conjure up some classic Springsteen sounds with this happy holiday number. Check it.

“Summertime Santa” was produced by Marc “Baze” Bazerman (from Baze and His Silly Friends), and is available for download via CD BabyiTunesBandCampJungleGymJam.com


 

A good blend of original and traditional tunes keeps the music of this season feeling fresh. Each one of the albums and videos mentioned in this post, as well as those from previous years, is guaranteed to fill you up over the coming holi-days!

Stay tuned for the addition of holiday songs!

57th Grammy Nominees – Kindie Music Videos

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In just a few days, we will find out who will triumphantly raise the iconic golden gramophone as the winner of Best Children’s Album. This year’s nominees present a truly eclectic mix, with four of them representing kindie music, and a fifth being an audio book about a girl’s miraculous journey of survival from a Taliban attack. I previously posted an audio playlist featuring all 5 nominees, and today thought it would be great to post some of our favorite videos by the kindie music nominees. For additional info and to listen to the audio clips, including an excerpt by Neela Vaswani for I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban, check out this playlist.

There is a live concert featuring the Grammy nominees in Los Angeles February 7, 2015, but for those unable to attend, Sirius XM’s Kids Place Live (ch.78) will be airing a LIVE broadcast of the Children’s GRAMMY Awards Concert along with some artist interviews. Listen in on Saturday at 11:00 pm ET, and again on Sunday, February 8, 2015 at 12:00 pm ET and 5:00 pm ET

**NOTE: The Children’s Album category is not presented during the live show in the evening so make sure to tune-in to the GRAMMY Awards telecast at http://www.grammy.com/live 3p EST/12p PST.

Secret Agent 23 SkidooPillow Fort Pillow Fight


 Okee Dokee BrothersThrough the Woods


The Pop UpsAll These Shapes


Brady RymerGet This Party Started

Playlist: 2015 Best Children’s Album Grammy Nominees

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Best Children’s Album

 

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.

1 Brady RymerJust Say Hi!
2 The Okee Dokee BrothersThrough the Woods
3 The Pop UpsAll These Shapes
4 Secret Agent 23 SkidooImaginary Friend
5 HachetteAudioI Am Malala (Young Readers) by Malala Yousafzai, Read by Neela Vaswani

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.

FREE MUSIC: Somethin’s cookin’! Thanksgiving Playlist before the feast!

Thanksgiving is the holiday before the holiday rush starts. It’s the pause, the calm before the holiday storm. Although, this year it felt like Christmas started the day after Halloween as Christmas villages, gold garland and colorful striped candy canes made a fresh appearance on fully stocked shelves.

As I was thinking more about today’s post, the general food theme, and the feast that comes along with the upcoming holiday, three words came to mind: comfort, memories and gratitude. Each of the following songs filled me with an unexpected eagerness for the holidays. Feelings of comfort flooded through my body as I thought about spending time with family I don’t get to see very often. Memories of being glued to the television, wide-eyed, watching big balloons float along in the parade filled me with joy. Gratitude for accomplishments, friends and the love that I am surrounded by every day swelled my heart. Sure, there’s a bit of wacky in there, too, but what would the holidays be without a bit of madness?!

It’s funny to think that songs, related to food, would bring forth these emotions, but that’s the power of music! And now I get to share them with you. As Cathy Fink says in her song below, “Bon Appétit!”

Spread the love by sharing these tracks with your family and friends. Download the Soundcloud playlist for FREE through Friday, November 20, 2014 . If you like what you hear (I promise you will!) consider supporting the artists by clicking on their corresponding links below.

Having trouble playing the Soundcloud songs? Follow this link.

Song List

1. Kira Willey music – “The Mixing Bowl
2. LisaLoeb – “The Disappointing Pancake”
3. Heidi Swedeberg and the Sukey Jump Band – “My Cup Of Tea”
4. Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – “Eggplant Man
5. Brady Rymer – “Picky Eater
6. Danny Weinkauf – “Whipped Cream
7. Okee Dokee Brothers – “Big Rock Candy Mountain
8. Cathy Fink – “Bon Appetit

Mista Cookie Jar and the Chocolate Chips – “Gratitude

Naturally, Mista Cookie Jar, Miss Ava Flava and the rest of the Chocolate Chip crew bring heartfelt words with a big bang of soul. On the below track, MCJ gets brassy with the sax, adding some pizazz to the mix (this guy has endless talent!) while reminding us to “give thanks” by spreading our love everywhere because “Gratitude is contagious“! So true! Check out the rest of the song’s lyrics here.

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Check this out: Just Say Hi! – Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could

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Get those boogie shoes ready everybody! Thanks to a successful Kickstarter campaign, Just Say Hi!, the latest release from Brady Rymer And The Little Band That Could, keeps the sweet sounds of rock n’ roll alive with a spirited set of what might be Rymer’s most personal songs to date. And by spirited, I mean full-on no stoppin’ this boppin’ blazing train of good times. Like the famous rock n’ roll icons of yesteryears (Springsteen, Mellencamp, Elvis, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ray Charles), Rymer has rhythm and blues running through his veins. Collectively, this talented troupe makes each song sound like a celebration.

Music, specifically rock n’ roll, has played a major role in Rymer’s upbringing and he directly pays tribute to this genre in many of his songs, whether he’s singing about being raised on rock n’ roll music, playing “Stairway to Heaven” in his garage after school, or learning a piano rag with Grandma Helen. The joy of being with family and friends is interwoven throughout the album as well. “Get This Party Started,” cruises down memory lane with a young Rymer listening to Elvis in the backseat of his parents’ Oldsmobile, to the present day where a glance in the rear view mirror reveals his own children hoppin’ and boppin’ in the backseat to Beyoncè’s Single Ladies song.

Nominated for a Grammy in 2009, Rymer has always been able to connect to the emotional side of his audience, empathetically trying to relate to what they might be feeling and then seeking to uplift their spirits through empowering messages and words of kindness. Just Say Hi! is bookended by two songs that support these messages. Starting with the title track, Rymer encourages kids to just say hi (even if they are uncomfortable, i.e. being a new kid in school). as a way to start building friendships while the last track, “Light of Love,” encourages listeners to connect with each other through the simple act of smiling at one another: Everywhere you go and everything you do/ Every single person that you run into/ Give ‘em a smile big & bright/ And shine your little light of love.

Just Say Hi! offers many opportunities for you to shake, rattle and roll. The songs we are spinning the most right now are the breezy, “I Spin” and “Getting Your Ya-Ya’s Out,” the perfect answer to burning off a sugar rush. Although, you might want to listen to the former before the latter. Despite it’s action-oriented name, “I Spin,” is a slower number that will help everyone begin to wind down.

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Brady with Moppit the monster.

Other standout tracks include “Home,” a rhythmic dance song infused with comforting images that reinforce the saying “Home is where the heart is,” and “Tomorrow’s People,” a reggae tune featuring a supergroup of kindie musicians. Reminiscent of “We Are The World,” the voices of Laurie Berkner and Susie Lampert (The Laurie Berkner Band), Elizabeth Mitchell and her husband Daniel Little (You Are My Flower), and Drew Holloway and Jack Forman (Recess Monkey) highlight the power of music to effect change, as well as offer hope and gratitude.

Rymer is a glowing light within the children’s genre. While there has always been a charismatic sound to his music, Just Say Hi! seems to take a more unfettered approach, providing insight into Rymer as an individual and a musician. Each song is delivered with fervency and infectious enthusiasm, or, as my 5-year-old said, “Brady sings his songs with a heart full of joy.” That just about sums it up! There is positively no way your family won’t be moved by the soul and sincerity found within this album.

Just Say Hi! is available at Amazon and iTunes. Connect with Brady via Facebook and Twitter and make sure to check his official site for tour dates. A special nod also goes to Katie Gastley for the artwork on the album and creation of Moppit the friendly blue monster you see in the photos above.

 

FREE DOWNLOAD: Give Dad the gift of music! Enjoy a free Father’s Day playlist!

Sunday is Father’s Day and whether you are going on an adventure, giving a little one a shoulder ride or enveloping your cubs in the best bear hug ever, make it a musical day with the following playlist specially crafted by Beth Benz-Clucas of Sugar Mountain PR. Bonus: This playlist is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD through June 18.

The following list contains stellar songs by some rockstar kindie folks, as well as a prominent father figure responsible for spreading love and joy to so many children world-wide. There’s a whole lotta love in this playlist!

Below is the full track listing, as well as the artists’ websites where you can learn more about them, find out where they are playing, and find other ways to connect and show your support.

Additionally, if you click into each song in Soundcloud, you will find some fun facts about the artist and/or the song itself.

Brady Rymer – “Light of Love” from his forthcoming album “Just Say Hi!” –www.bradyrymer.com
Raffi – “Love Bug” from his forthcoming album “Love Bug” – www.raffinews.com
The Not-Its! – “Love is Love” from their forthcoming album “Raise Your Hand” – http;//www.wearethenot-its.com
Suzi Shelton – “Ten Thousand Kisses” from her award-winning album “Smply Suzi” – www.suzishelton.com
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – “When I Grow Up” from the album “Lishy Lou and Lucky Too” – http://lishylouandluckytoo.com
The Pop Ups – “Feelings Change” – from their GRAMMY nominated album “Radio Jungle” –  www.thepopups.com
Sugar Free Allstars – “My Daddy’s Record Collection” – from their new vinyl 45 release –  www.sugarfreeallstars.com
Eric Herman – “Elephant Song (Snail’s pace version)” – a new version of his hit song, with his two daughters – www.EricHermanMusic.com/store.html