Zee Avi's kids' music debut Nightlight bursts very quietly upon the Kindie Rock scene, compiling gently-performed covers of pop hits, cult favorites, and traditional tunes, performed with nifty ukulele and vocal harmony accompaniment. From The Velvet Underground to Bobby McFerrin, from the Muppets to the King of Pop, from Joni Mitchell to Disney, Zee Avi uniquely interprets an entertaining array of songs, creating a cool lullaby album for the whole family.
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Falkner has been a member of Jellyfish, The Grays, and The Three O'Clock, and has collaborated with Eric Matthews; all of those projects were dedicated to perfecting the pop song via lush, over-the-top production. For his 2001 album Bedtime with The Beatles, however, Falkner reeled in his bombastic tendencies and created quiet, tender, sweet instrumental versions of Fab Four tunes that melded his unique style with Beatles song craft.
If Bedtime with The Beatles piques your interest, Falkner released Bedtime with The Beatles, Part 2 in 2008.
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Danny Weinkauf's kids' music debut is a welcome addition to the Kindie Rock genre, and fans of power pop tunes and cartoon theme songs will love No School Today.
The bassist for They Might Be Giants wrote and recorded all of the music for No School Today himself but several friends helped out along the way, including Kindie Rock star Laurie Berkner, Hank Green of the VlogBrothers, and Suzanne Luna, director for The Ellen DeGeneres Show. No School Today is pure pop shined to Saturday morning perfection!
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An entire album of children's songs written and performed by Led Zeppelin has been discovered in the much-storied Bron-Yr-Aur cottage in Wales, the location of many writing sessions for the legendary band. Recorded during Zeppelin's Led Zeppelin III sessions, the tunes are assumed to have been meant for children as the words "Children's Album" were scribbled on the cover of the 2in. tape case, along with some undecipherable runes.
The songs on Led Zeppelin's kids' album include covers of old blues tunes by the likes of Charley Patton, King Solomon Hill, Oscar "Buddy" Woods, and Leroy Carr. The 23 tunes seem to have been chosen for audience appropriateness, as the theme of most of the songs is various modes of transportation, jumping up and down, and acknowledging happiness via clapping hands.
Drummer John Bonham was unavailable for comment, but it is assumed he had a rollicking time creating the songs. Unfortunately for fans, this is merely an April Fool's post and the tapes do not exist. Equally unfortunately, the existence of Kidz Bop is, in fact, real.
Andres Salguero jumps enthusiastically into the Kindie Rock arena with his children's music debut Uno, Dos, Tres con Andres! His CD full of bilingual tunes will entertain and educate, keeping listeners moving and inspiring them to explore the variety of Latin musical styles he uses on the album.
Salguero's kids' music debut is fun, inviting, interactive, and sincere, and those characteristics will draw listeners into Salguero's goal of involving them in a bilingual musical experience.
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Destined to be a Kindie Rock classic, my pick for best kids' music album of 2006, and one of my favorite CDs in any music genre, The Jellydots' "Hey You Kids!" is a winner from top to bottom.
Doug Snyder's kids' music debut was born from guitar exercises he practiced with children in his music instruction classes, and the result is a cross between Schoolhouse Rock, Zen poetry, and Big Star, with joyous, introspective, and silly songs abounding. Snyder has released several more Kindie Rock albums since then(Changing Skies in 2007, Sleepin' in 2009, and Jelly Jukebox, also in 2009), but "Hey You Kids!" holds a special place in my heart's ears. Dig it!
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Sure, there are lots of Beatles lullaby albums out there, but after a while, they all start sounding alike. I went out and found ten unique CDs worth of Beatles instrumentals that'll help your little ones drop off into "Golden Slumbers."
From the fingerpicking of David Waldon to the solo piano stylings of Sally Harmon, from Greg Hawkes' ukulele versions to the absolutely gorgeous performance and production of Jason Falkner, there's something here for all Fab Four lovers.
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Big goings-on in The City of Brotherly Love this summer! On June 28, 2014 at World Café Live, Philadelphia will host Kindiecomm, a day of networking, inspirational talks, and top-notch family music, all aimed at artists in, and those trying to get into, the kindie rock biz.
The day will feature talks by Barry Louis Polisar and Dan Zanes, as well as several breakout sessions, and the day ends with performances by Zanes, Lucky Diaz, and Trout Fishing in America. Drop by the official Kindiecomm website for more info.
Peter, Paul and Mary's 1969 kids' album Peter, Paul and Mommy was a groundbreaker of sorts, because it was the first instance of a major pop star or band making an album specifically for children. The trio covered songs by artists like Tom Paxton, Shel Silverstein, and Gilbert & Sullivan, and the album included their beloved and universally-known "Puff the Magic Dragon." For the most part, Peter, Paul and Mommy is a subdued acoustic affair, so the album would make a perfect backdrop to a rainy afternoon or a summer sundown.
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If you look back at the history of "children's music," most early albums were collections of folk songs or original tunes performed in a folky style. Now, there were outliers during the 1960s, like Bruce Haack and Mr. Rogers, but for the most part you didn't hear kids' music performed in a band's or artist's unique style until the early 1970s.
Groups like The Free Design and pop artists like Carole King, Donovan, Harry Nilsson, and Anne Murray all released great kids' LPs between 1970 and 1979, and the musical genius of Joe Raposo and Jeff Moss shone through on releases by the Sesame Street cast. Plus, the subversive humor of Barry Louis Polisar found its genesis during this decade. Remember any more of your favorite kids' music albums from the '70s? Let us know!
Image Courtesy Dawn Records