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.
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.
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!
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:
“Motorcycle Mom” – The Not-Its! (from their upcoming album Raise Your Hand)
The other day I was talking with a close friend who sighed as she said that she is sadly probably one of the few people who still buys physical copies of albums. She even still seeks out vinyl. A woman after my own heart! As we were talking, I asked her if she uses any streaming music services like Pandora or Spotify since I like to understand how people find Kids music. She said, rarely, but if she does use any services it’s Spotify for the convenience of its playlist feature. Curious, I went to check out Spotify’s Browse feature which, according to Spotify, contains “expert playlists for every mood and moment.“
As I was scrolling through the “Kids” section, passing familiar categories such as Folk, Sing-Alongs, and Lullabies, I stumbled upon one that was intriguing. Enter the Hipster Youth playlist. The Hipster Youth playlist contains a large selection of top kindie artists like The Verve Pipe, The Pop Ups,The Okee Dokee Brothers, Gustafer Yellowgold, Recess Monkey, Justin Roberts, Big Bang Boom,Ralph Covert and Dan Zanes among others. There is also some Yo Gabba Gabba representation, of course! Despite it being an excellent playlist filled with “hip and indie kids music” (note: The Goo Goo Dolls with Elmo and The Spin Doctors somehow make an appearance) the actual naming of the playlist is what caught my eye. Since it is a Spotify generated list (some lists are generated by Spotify members), I wrote Spotify to see if I could get more information on how the name of the list was chosen. As suspected, I was pointed to the help text which states that “Spotify Browse adds the human touch to our recommendations, creating a three-dimensional approach to music discovery. Between your friends, our personalized recommendations and real music experts, it’s the perfect formula to ensure you’ll always have the right music for every moment.”
While I wouldn’t necessarily identify myself or my daughter as a hipster (although I did buy her shiny gold leggings from American Apparel and joyfully exclaimed that she looks like a hipster), I have to admit that the label is catchy. Although, I’m not sure how many artists or listeners would identify with it. I like to think that in many ways it reinforces the coolness of this genre and makes me feel even more grateful to be a part of a thriving musical community made up of artists that value independent thinking, appreciation of art, creativity, intelligence, and clever wordplay. All of which you will find among the tracks below.
I checked in with Jack Forman of Recess Monkey on what he thought of being a part of a playlist called Hipster Youth: “[hipster youth] definitely makes me think of little kids with handlebar mustaches. So I guess that means I like it? There’s some chagrin in the family corner of the music world about media people who write the “FINALLY there’s music for kids!” article. I understand the frustration: we’ve all been at this for a long time. But really, whatever you want to call this kind of music we all make, it’s still extremely niche and most people don’t get it until they see one of our bands in person, watching their kids connect at a show, or really spending time with a record. All that being said, I think every time someone breathes new energy into the definition (kindie, hipster, etc.) is just that many more people who may discover it. But I think the bigger story here is Spotify will pay all of these artists, Recess Monkey included, a laughably small royalty. Sure, music discovery is an important part of being a career musician… but what Spotify is doing is downright criminal. At least hipsters aren’t thieves!”
To reinforce Jack’s statement, if you like what you hear, I would urge you to support these artists by checking out their sites, seeing them live, purchasing the songs and even a full album from media outlets like iTunes, CDBaby and Amazon. While Spotify is convenient, it provides a fractional financial “thank you” to artists. Besides, there really is no substitute for the real thing.
Summer may be quickly moving into Fall but the Bay Area is about to heat up as the most supreme family music festival hits the West Coast. Taking place every weekend in September, October and early November, the 5th annual Tricycle Music Fest will peddle its way through 28 libraries for a total of 29 FREE concerts featuring 9 award-winning performers (full schedule below). Think indie music– family style– and libraries and you have the essence of Tricycle Music Fest.
This year, Tricycle Music Fest makes its debut in San Mateo County as the San Francisco Public Library and the San Mateo County Library partner up to make this the biggest version of the festival to date. Christy Estrovitz, early literacy coordinator for San Francisco Public Library, says “Music unites us all. For young children, musical experiences, including singing and dancing, are essential to build early literacy skills. It’s thrilling to work with San Mateo County Library to engage even more families through music at the library.”
Because playing is just as important as singing in early childhood learning, there will be a raffle offering one tricycle to a lucky concertgoer at each event. All the more reason to skip the nap, grab your boogie shoes and catch a show!
The Not-Its! to open Tri Fest the weekend of September 7 and 8 with 4 shows!
Remember your first rock concert? Now your kids can too as Seattle’s most rockingest band, The Not-Its!, open this year’s Tri Fest with a bang! Armed with an energetic blend of power pop and serious rock n’ roll, this fashionable quintet puts the phrase “shake your sillies out” to shame. Curious? Get to know The Not-Its! in this clever video put together by the San Francisco Library and the San Mateo Library.
For more information on Tricycle Music Fest, please visit sfpl.org/tricycle and smcl.org/tricycle.
Also, stay tuned to this site for more updates, videos and music from each of these awesome bands.
You can’t prepare for life crises but when you are faced with one, keeping hope alive and maintaining your spirit can prove to be an arduous task. In July of 2012, Alastair Mock and his wife, acclaimed writer Jane Roper, were faced with the biggest challenge of their lives when they found out that one of their twin daughters had cancer. Clio, only 5 years old at the time, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. “It felt like we were drowning,” says Moock. “For the first week or so, my wife and I walked around in a trance. Then, I went home and got my guitar.”
Out of that musical epiphany blossomed a beautiful songwriting partnership between father and daughter. Moock and Clio spent their first month in the hospital singing and writing songs together. “Singing together in the hospital was transformative, not just for Clio, but for me. It reminded me how powerful music can be,” says Moock. Watching Clio’s spirit come alive as they sang songs like the whimsical “I’m A Little Monkey,” was magical and the driving force that propelled Moock to create Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids, an inspiring album filled with joyful songs that could touch children and families in the same way.
Starting off the album is an acrostic style poem called “I Am The Light” using the word “cancer.” This empowering opener is spoken from the perspective of a “brave kid,” standing strong, able and ready to make the best of the long voyage ahead. Following this song-poem is the funky “When I Get Bald,” a song that embraces the beauty of the changes one faces with this sort of illness. The song’s accompanying video is touching yet light-hearted as it highlights Moock’s knack for artful humor.
Moock, a Massachusettes based children’s artist, is a veteran musician with a long-standing career as a folk singer. First, playing for adults and then moving into the children’s genre in 2010 when his children were born. With his signature gravelly voice, à la Louis Armstrong, Moock combines playful lyrics with rootsy melodies, reminiscent of Woody Guthrie.
Joining Moock on this recording are some amazing artists that add a hearty blend of sounds. Elizabeth Mitchell joins Moock in “Take a Little Walk with Me,” a soft folk song with a motivational message while The Okee Dokee Brothers bring on a hootenanny with a lively rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “Hard Travelin.'” Blues legend Chris Smither adds soulful vocals in “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” while patients, former patients and siblings, collectively named “The World’s Bravest Kids” join in on “This Little Light of Mine.” And, considering the family as a whole, are songs like “Have You Ever Been Jealous,” featuring Rani Arbo and “Children Take Care of Your Grown-Ups.”
Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids provides a well rounded account of what life is like “on the inside” of cancer, while also challenging the fear and pain that comes along with it through the healing powers of music. Built on the foundation of love for his daughter and the positive effects the entire process has had on her, Moock has created a vehicle through which he hopes can benefit children and their families in the same way. Singing Our Way Through: Songs For The World’s Bravest Kids is more than just a collection of songs. It’s a companion that seeks to uplift spirits, while providing support and understanding to those who might need a little sunshine through the clouds of any troubling circumstance. A truly powerful album that any family can benefit from.
Donations from the proceeds of this album will help Alastair perform and distribute free albums to patients, hospitals and oncology programs around the country. The Singing Our Way Through project is not — at least for now — a registered non-profit, so your donation is not tax-deductible. But it is much appreciated, and goes a long way to help. Click here to donate.
Summer is a comin’ and having a soundtrack to go with it is an absolute must! The good news is that from now until June 1 you can download 13 rockin’ Kindie tracks for FREE. Normally, I would be wary of the number 13, but in this case I can honestly say 13 is a magic number!
Presented by BunchFamily and cleverly curated by Beth Benz-Claus, this list ebbs and flows like a fine mixtape (or digital playlist, in this case) should. You’ll find a variety of styles some of which include Americana, good ole Rock n’ Roll and even some Soul. Check the list and download now before time runs out!
Based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, singer-songwriter Paul Springmakes his family music debut with the comforting sounds of Home of Song. Produced by Dean Jones and Joe Mailander (half of the Grammy winning duo, The Okee Dokee Brothers), Home of Song is a highly singable collection of songs will inspire a sense of imagination and adventure for listeners of all ages.
The most appealing aspect about Home of Song is Spring’s talent as a songwriter. With passion and enthusiasm, Spring delivers meaningful lyrics with much depth. Whether he is singing about the pouring rain, a beloved story or the cycles of the moon, Spring’s soulful voice shines with sincerity.
In addition to Spring’s ability to write illustrative lyrics, there is an undercurrent of love and appreciation for family that is woven into the fabric of this album. Although I typically don’t like to compare artists in terms of musicality, I find the sentiment behind Home of Song similar to Elizabeth Mitchell’s approach of incorporating family members and friends into her own music making process. Much like Mitchell, Spring is also accompanied by family members and friends who collectively add depth, dimension and meaning to the album’s makeup. Underscoring this point is the metaphorical title track, “Home of Song.” The lyrics, “Oh how often I think that melody was my mother/ rhythm my father/ keeping my steps in line/ and my brothers and sisters filled in the notes between us/ making a harmony to hold through time,” symbolize family unity in a beautiful way.
Spring invites listeners on a humorous stroll down memory lane as he sings about a washed up van from his childhood in “Sloppy Jaloppy.” While kids may not necessarily understand lyrics like “We’ll be going up and down like the Dow Jones and NASDAQ,” adult listeners are certain to smirk in acknowledgment of what feels like an inside joke. I can’t help but recall my own, similar childhood experience in which our old car broke down in the middle of a well traveled highway, interrupting our journey to the beach. As I hear Spring’s words, images from that time flash through my mind like pastel painted Polaroids.
Another lovely aspect of Home of Song is the celebration of nature. Growing up on the banks of the Mississippi provides fodder for songs like the sea-faring “Red Sky at Morning,” which taught us what a crow’s nest is. “Rain,” a refreshing tune that welcomes the pouring rain on a hot summer’s eve, is one that gets heavy rotation in our home. I particularly love the chord progression in the beginning of the song and the delicate accents of the piano as it mimics the sounds of droplets of water. There is also “Mississippi River,” a spelling game that honors the beauty of the river itself. The song has a nice tempo, smoothed out and slow enough for kids to follow along as Spring spells Mississippi letter by letter. Spelling Mississippi is a fun game for my 4 yr old and actually makes her feel quite accomplished as she continues to proudly spell it long after the song is over.
As a bookworm and someone who wanted to be Nancy Drew growing up, I thoroughly enjoy the way Spring enlivens classic works such as Peter Pan, Don Quixote and Sherlock Holmes, highlighting the love, heroism and camaraderie in each. The lyrics “What I read in my books/ I believe is true,” from the song “Don Quixote,” nicely reinforces the value of reading and the excitement it brings.
As much as I’d enjoy it, being the parent of a young child means that I don’t get to sit on the banks of a river, meditate on the beauty of nature or sit and read an exciting story while the afternoon drifts away. Thankfully, my daughter and I have Home ofSong, an album thatcaptures the essence of those feelings in a very real and harmonious way. They say home is where the heart is. In Paul Spring’s case, so is song. Highly recommended.
You can listen to samples from Home of Song through SoundCloud widget below. Purchases can be made through Paul Spring’s Official site, CDBaby, Amazon and iTunes. Make sure to check out the very entertaining video for “Peter Pan,” a groovy song which is a tribute to the kid in all of us. The song features Spring, The Okee Dokee Brothers and the Lost Boys.