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
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 Concertalong 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.
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!”
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.
The 55th annual Grammy Awards are coming up and the representatives for “Best Children’s Album” are mighty fine indicators of just how much the Children’s Music genre has to offer. Below you will find a list of albums and other goodies from this year’s nominees.
So, take a listen and although you may not be able to vote per se, you can show your support by perhaps purchasing one or two (or more!) of your favorites.
The Pop Ups – Radio Jungle
The second album from Brooklyn-based duo, The Pop Ups, Radio Jungle brings listeners on a musical adventure filled with dance beats, creative lyrics and educational topics. Listeners will explore constellations, a world created with a box of crayons, counting and even some puppets! The Pop Ups once again infuse their sense of humor and musical talent into a fun set of songs. So take a journey through the wilderness and listen to Radio Jungle through the SoundCloud widget below, along with a video for their wildly popular single, “Box of Crayons.” Radio Jungle is available for download and purchase through the BandCamp widget below, Amazon and iTunes.
Just as the subtext on the cover says, Can You Canoe? is “A Mississippi River Adventure Album.” Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander made their way down the Mississippi River in a canoe over the course of a month. During that time, they paddled their way from Minnesota to St. Louis, writing songs inspired by the beauty of the natural world around them. With songs about camaraderie, bullfrogs, mosquitos and camping under a blanket of stars, Can You Canoe perfectly illustrates the brothers’ journey down the river. In fact, it could very well prepare you for your own river odyssey, should you be so bold. You can learn more about the Okee Dokee Brothers at their official site, where you can also purchase a CD/DVD combo, which includes the 15-track album and a documentary of the making of the album. Below are a couple of videos, a trailer from the DVD and a widget containing a few audio samples from Can You Canoe?
Bill Harley is a master storyteller and certainly no stranger to Grammy nominations, being a two-time Grammy award winner in his own right. And now he’s back with High Dive, a hilarious collection of stories and songs about childhood. Listeners will find Harley emotive, engaging and suspenseful as he spins tales about a maniacal goat, a field trip gone awry, and finding out that perhaps mom is actually right, sometimes. Especially relevant to this time of year is a Valentine’s Day story with inadvertently “monstrous” consequences. High Dive is a hoot that will capture the attention of both kids and adults alike. You can listen to samples and purchase the entire album at Harley’s official site.
A Swinging Jungle Tale is a mix of stories and songs about the adventures of a girl named Claire and her stuffed animal friends. What is impressive about this album is the amount of work the creators put in to make it as interactive as possible. The story aims to incorporate listeners by encouraging them to use their imagination along with Claire, as she travels through the jungle (which also happens to be her Grandfather’s backyard) and meets imaginary friends. The album’s cover art is bright and colorful, while the soundtrack was inspired by world-renowned jazz artists, including the legendary Ella Fitzgerald and improvisational master, Thelonious Monk, to name a few. You can read more about Claire and the making of A Swinging Jungle Tale at the Jumpin Jazz Kids official site.
You can listen to A Swinging Jungle Tale through the widget below. The album and its accompanying storybook are available for purchase through the Jumpin Jazz Kids store, as well as, CDBaby.
Mitchell brings color and life to her re-imagined versions of Woody Guthrie’s earlier recordings. The songs covered on “Little Seed” stem from two of Woody Guthrie’s children’s albums, recorded in 1947, called “Songs to Grow on for Mother and Child” and “Nursery Days.” Like Guthrie, Mitchell is a folk frontrunner and icon in her own right, being the first female children’s artist signed to the Smithsonian Folkways label and certainly one of the most beloved. On Little Seed, Mitchell very easily glides through some complex tongue-twisting lyrics, which happen to remind me of a few Dr. Seuss books, making it even easier to follow along than some of the originals. Mitchell’s voice, as usual, is soothing and clear like a serene lake and refreshing like a cold glass of water on a hot day. You can read my full review of the album here. You can learn more about Little Seed at Mitchell’s official site and view a couple of videos from the album below. Little Seed is available for purchase through Mitchell’s online store, Amazon (CD or MP3) and iTunes.