Archive for March, 2011

Beth’s Corner # 8

By Beth Blenz-Clucas

Giving the Genre Its Due, Children’s Music is in a Renaissance

Pamela Paul, the new New York Times Book Review children’s books editor, remarked in her introductory editorial, “Children’s literature has entered what many believe to be a new golden age.” She noted that the artistry and creativity in today’s picture books elevates the genre, so that “the best books are for grownups, too.”

It’s clear that children’s music is also in a renaissance, with hundreds of artists across the nation creating music and writing lyrics that rival the best of mainstream music. We often wonder why the New York Times and other mainstream media pay such infrequent attention to this burgeoning genre. It’s an uphill road for family music artists to get any exposure in newspapers, magazines and radio.

Luckily, there’s a whole world of alternative ways for kids’ music artists to build awareness. Kids’ radio shows across the country feature indie children’s music every day. There is no shortage of bloggers who feature the genre regularly (including our own weekly “2 Tunes 2 Ways” posts for (this week’s guest blogger is Stefan Shepherd of Zooglobble). Occasionally, NPR and major newspapers and magazines give a little attention to “kindie” music, usually surprised to see former rockers who are now making music for kids. When new kids’ CDs do get coverage in traditional media, the reader and listener response is always tremendous (easily trackable via spikes in sales and online responses). Clearly, parents want to know about the alternatives to commercialized music. So, why the continued cold shoulder from music critics and news assignment editors?

New Tunes

Just a sprinkling of the new releases this spring provides proof of the quality in family music today:

Temple Grandin recently wrote to us after hearing Brady Rymer’s forthcoming new album Love Me for Who I Am. She said, “ I really liked it. I hope it gets widely played.” We do too, because of how joyfully Rymer celebrates the little things in life for children of all abilities with these new songs. Five percent of proceeds of the CD sales will benefit Autism Speaks, and additional funds will support the Celebrate the Children school. The students there inspired Brady to write these brilliant and touching new rootsy-rocking songs.

We’re very excited about the May 10th release of the first full-length album from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band. Oh, Lucky Day! evokes the imaginative world of childhood and the emotional connections between parent and child. Mindy Thomas, program director of Sirius Satellite Radio’s Kids Place Live chose this as “the best new kids’ artist of 2010” for USA Today. Oh, Lucky Day! features a performance by latest indie it girl Holly Conlan. Lucky and his band plan CD release concerts in Brooklyn (The Knitting Factory, May 1) and Los Angeles (Hotel Café, May 8). Get a free download of the energizing new song “Here Comes the Sun” here.

The Baby Loves Disco Superhero Tour is well underway, with four public events in Southern California coming up this week and next. Andy Blackman Hurwitz’s Baby Loves Disco: The Soundtrack, produced by King Britt, provides families with an excellent party starter, anytime.

On a quieter note, former Disney artist Craig Taubman releases Celebrate Jewish Lullabies, the latest in his “Celebrate” series. The new album features 14 songs from various artists including. David Broza and The Pop Ups. “This is for the child who still lives in all of us,” says Craig. Featured artist Josh Nelson, who is currently composing for the Broadway musical Sleepless in Seattle, adds, “As a new dad there is no collection of songs I would rather use to put my boys to bed.” Download a free song now from Craig ‘n Co.

Celebrate CINCO de MAYO with Two New Bilingual and Spanish Language Releases

Family music today has a global reach, and the bilingual/Spanish music scene for kids is thriving, as this article in Billboard notes. Sandra Velasquez and her band Moona Luna plan their festive Piñata Party CD release concert at Joe’s Pub in NYC on April 3rd, and over the weekend of April 30-May 1st, the band performs two shows at the L.A. Times Festival of Books at USC. The Target Children’s stage at this free event will also feature Justin Roberts and The Okee Dokee Brothers, for an excellent sampling of the diversity and excellence in family music right now.

The Secret Mountain, the Montreal based purveyor of gorgeously produced and illustrated book-and-CD sets (including Trout Fishing in America’s My Name is Chicken Joe), will publish their first-ever Spanish title on May 15th: Un Pato en Nueva York. The new book and CD set was adapted and translated from Connie Kaldor’s Juno Award winning A Duck in New York City. It’s the story of a little duck from the heartland with a big dream: to dance on Broadway. Noted Uruguayan artist Inés Canépa performs the songs, translated by Yanitiza Canetti (who also translates Dr. Seuss books). The new release premieres in Los Angeles on April 29th at the Feria del Libro en Español (Spanish Book Fair), and at the international book expo in Bologna.


Leave a comment »

As The Crow Flies Caw # 11

Dan Crow

Dan Crow

by Dan Crow

Sure was cold in Idaho Falls
Where the Snake River flows and the Chukar bird calls
February concerts when the weather cools
And all of them sponsored by the Montessori schools

Dan Crow performing, Idaho Falls, Idaho

If you like your French Fries served up curled
I did a show in Blackfoot, potato capital of the world
Even got a T-shirt, an Idaho Stater
With a clever picture that read “Darth Tater”

Bike parking at Idaho Falls Montessori School

Found a famous restaurant in Idaho
Had a stack of pancakes made from sourdough
Made some good friends like Linda and Randy
Had a lot of laughs and the audience was dandy

10° and colder in the cold and snow
It’s that way every winter in the State of Idaho
But the people were so friendly and also very warm
Idaho Falls is just about my favorite place to perform

Idaho Falls Chukars Baseball Park

Leave a comment »