HFVS Sheep Shearing & Maple Syrup Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Listen to Podcast:


SHEEP SHEARING & MAPLE SYRUP EPISODE

Sheep Shearing

Shearing the sheep and skirting the fleece at Red Gate Farm in Buckland, MA. Click on photo to see more images. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfie

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
March 9th & 10th, 2013
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


 Archived Podcasts Radio  Facebook Twitter

  • Lunch Money – “Wake Up, World” - Dizzy 
  • Pete Seeger – “Maple Syrup Time” – Seeds: The Songs of Pete Seeger
  • Kitty Donohoe  – “Maple Syrup” – Bunyan and Banjoes
  • Phil Rosenthal – “Buffalo Gals” – This Land is Your Land
  • Nashville Bluegrass Band & Kid Pan Alley – “Extra Hand” – Kid Pan Alley
  • Station Id: The Harmonica Pocket [www.harmonicapocket.com]
  • Carla Sciaky – “Sheep Shearing” – Spin the Weaver’s Song
  • Justin Roberts – “Field Trip” – Pop Fly
  • The Hipwaders – “Field Trip” – Goodie Bag 
  • Station Id: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • L. Frank Baum – The Story of Baa-Baa Black Sheep
  • Teresa Doyle – “The Shearing” – If Fish Could Sing … and Sheep Could Dance
  • Matt Nathanson – “Starfish and Coffee” – For the Kids Too
  • Moxy Fruvous – “Maple Syrup Time” – If I Had a Song: Songs of Pete Seeger Vol. 2
  • The Hipwaders – “Things You Want” – Goodie Bag 

Giveaway: Top 11 Family Music CD Releases from 2012

Music Collection Giveaway:
Top 11 Family Music CD Releases from 2012

We’re giving away an amazing CD collection of our top 11 family albums released this past year. Find out how you can enter to win this entire collection below. Deadline to enter is: Jan 19, 2013 by 11:59pm (EST).

Last month the winners of the Fids & Kamily Music Awards were announced, with a stellar list of new CDs released this past year!

Launched in 2006 and inspired by the Village Voice’s long-running “Pazz and Jop” music poll, the Fids & Kamily Music Awards poll is the first compilation of year-end kids and family music “best of” lists from critics, writers, radio programmers, and others involved in the music industry. Fifteen favorites are selected from outstanding releases, along with five honorable mentions, including kids and family albums from mainstream/adult artists, seasoned kindie artists and some fantastic newcomers!

For the sixth year in a row, Hilltown Families has participated as a judge for the Fids & Kamily Music Awards.  Check out the winners at www.fidsandkamily.com and be sure to add some of these winners to your family music collection.

To start off the new year, Hilltown Families is giving away a collection of eleven CDs of family music released this past year.  Several are winners of the Fids & Kamily Music Awards, and several others are releases we voted for and think are a must for your family music collection! Find out how you can enter to win this entire collection below.  Deadline to enter is: Jan 19, 2013 by 11:59pm (EST).

Can You Canoe? — The Okee Dokee Brothers

Vote as the best family album of the year in the 2012 Fids & Kamily Music Awards, this album highlights a month-long journey Joe and Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers spent traveling down the Mississippi River.  During their trip they composed songs that make up this award-winning album.  Special guests include Garth Hudson (The Band), Elizabeth Mitchell (Your Are My Flower) and Morgan Taylor & Rachel Loshak (Gustafer Yellowgold), and includes a DVD with music videos and footage from their trip.  Joe and Justin guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show in June this past year.  Listen to the podcast and check out a few cuts from their new album along with tunes from other artist they selected, and one of their videos: HFVS Guest DJ, Joe & Justin of The Okee Dokee Brothers Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Science Fair Spare the Rock Records

In 2010, in response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Spare the Rock Records put out the award winning compilation album, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti, raising over $50,000 for Haitian relief! This past year they did it again with the amazing compilation CD, Science Fair, raising money for Girls Inc.’s work for science education for girls.  Placing second in this year’s Fids & Kamily Music Awards, Science Fair features exclusive tracks from Mates of State, Laura Veirs, Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances England and many others!

Blue Clouds  Elizabeth Mitchell & You Are My Flower

Released by Smithsonian Folkway Recordings, Blue Clouds placed fifth this year in the Fids & Kamily Music Awards.  Putting a contemporary touch to traditional folk songs, and using simple arrangements to rework classic rock songs by Bowie, Hendrix, Morrison and others into folks songs, Mitchell has complied a new album that is already a classic!

Mr Diddie Wah Diddie  Randy Kaplan

This past summer Randy Kaplan guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, spinning songs by bluegrass, folk, calypso, and broadway masters, alongside cuts from his new country-blues and ragtime CD, Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie.  Placing seventh in the Fids & Kamily Music Awards, Randy Kaplan’s newest CD, Mr. Diddie Wah Diddie, pays tribute to America’s blues masters on an album with rollicking lyrics the kids will love!  Listen to the podcast and get a glimpse into Randy’s new album and check out his video, “Ice Cream Man Rag.”: HFVS Guest DJ, Randy Kaplan Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Invisible Friends  Dog on Fleas

Ranging in style from Afro-pop to 60′s soul, Tin Pan Alley to bossa nova, Invisible Friends is an album the entire family can enjoy on road trips or Sunday morning PJ dance parties in the kitchen.  Lead singer Dean Jones guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show this summer, pulling together a show that featured a few cuts from Invisible Friends interlaced with music from other kindie and mainstream artists.  Give a listen to the podcast to sample a few songs on this award winning album (ranking eighth on the Fids & Kamily Music Awards!): HFVS Guest DJ, Dean Jones Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Family Values  Charity & the Jamband

We can’t speak highly enough of Charity & the Jamband!  As Hilltown Families number one pick for the year, Family Values is a album that celebrates family and community.  Understanding that all things peaceful must first start in our own hearts and homes before moving out into our community, Charity Kahn has crafted songs that are intelligent and from the heart.  She tells stories set to music that is funky, with grooves and lyrics that talk up to kids and their grown ups!  Charity has guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show many times. This past Thanksgiving, through music and story, Charity explored some of the many things we have to be grateful for in our lives, including songs from this new album.  Give a listen to the podcast anytime: HFVS Thanksgiving Episode with Guest DJ, Charity Kahn (Radio Show/Podcast)

Can’t Wait  Grenadilla

“Layered voices textured with Kwela flavored rhythms, up-beat melodies, a touch of Cape Town Jive and a hint of the blues,” is how Grenadilla describes their newest release, Can’t Wait.  This past spring Debbie Lan from Grenadilla guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, putting together a show with music from South Africa, including songs off of this new CD.  Get a glimpse by listening to the podcast: HFVS Music from South Africa with Guest DJ, Debbie Lan (Radio Show/Podcast)

Chocolalala  Mister G

Hilltown Families Contributing Writer, Mister G, put out another excellent CD this year, Chocolalala. This new collection of original bilingual songs spans musical genres… from bossa nova to ska, funk to folk, rap to pop.  Songs that are educational teach young listeners basic concepts while engaging adults with captivating Latin rhythms.  In his monthly vlog on Hilltown Families, “Under the Hat: Independent Music Education,” Mister G goes a step further with his music, taking viewers into the backstory of songs released on this award-winning CD, and insight to the process of music making.  Check out his column to see his vlog: Under the Hat: Independent Music Education.

The Hero in You  Ellis Paul

Known for his deeply felt and socially conscious songwriting, often about heroes, Ellis Paul was inspired by his two daughters to write about people who contributed something to their world.  The result… The Hero in YouHeroes featured on this educational CD include both well known and little know heroes. “These people did amazing things, but they can also inspire young people today to go out and do something out of the ordinary to become the heroes of their own lives,” explains Ellis Paul about this new release.  Last winter Ellis guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, including songs from this new album. Check out the podcast to get a sample of songs: HFVS Guest DJ, Ellis Paul Episode (Radio Show/Podcast)

Love is a Superpower  Ben Rudnick & Friends

We’ve loved Ben Rudnick & Friends since the beginning!  Hailed as a founding member of the modern family music scene, Ben Rudnick & Friends continues to be a beloved band all family members will enjoy with their tenth release of Love is a Superpower.  The band is good, really good… carving out their own unique music style that blends neo-western swing, bluegrass, folk music and flavors of rock. High quality musicianship seeps out slowly and steadily with each song, mixed with catching lyrics to which Ben Rudnick’s vocals bring wit and charm.  In the late summer, Ben guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, bringing us a show all about love, including cuts off of this new album.  Here’s the podcast and video to get a sample of this new CD: HFVS Love Episode with Guest DJ, Ben Rudnick (Radio Show/Podcast)

Middle of Nowhere  Elska

Receiving an honorable mention in the Fids and Kamily Music Awards, Elska is a newcomer to the kindie music scene.  Elska is a fictional character living on a newly formed Arctic island where explorations are set against playful modern music and the delicate voice of Shelly Wollert.  Songs like “Arctic Fox,” “Midnight Sun in the Arctic,” and “Winter Bear” tell stories of Elska on this new island and what she discovers.

HOW TO WIN

Hilltown Families has been serving Western MA since 2005 as a grassroots communication network! Being able to share community building events, community based educational opportunities, and community service experiences over the years, along with terrific music that brings families and the community together is song, has been a great honor! Share with us your wishes for the next year(s) and be entered to win this fantastic family music collection of 11 CD’s released this past year. To enter for a chance to win simply:

  • POST YOUR WISHES FOR A NEW YEAR AS OUTLINED ABOVE IN THE FIELDS BELOW (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • PLEASE CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below.
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline to enter for a chance to win is: Jan 19, 2013 by 11:59pm.

8 Featured Music CDs for Your Summer Family Road Trip

Summer Roadtrip Music

Listeners to Hilltown Families’ weekly radio show/podcast Hilltown Family Variety Show (HFVS) know all too well about the great independent kids musicians we’ve featured on the show over the past five years.  For this summer we’re reviewing a collection of CD’s to entertain the family while traveling in the car to far off beaches, or your favorite swimming hole here in Western MA, featuring several musicians who have also been our guest DJs.

While not an exhaustive list of the great music recently released or coming out this summer, here are 8 great CDs your family can enjoy this summer:

Alison Faith Levy ♦ World of Wonder

Alison Faith Levy, formerly “Sippy Alison” from the kindie band, The Sippy Cups, has released her debut album this spring, World of Wonder.  In early May this year, Alison guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, putting together an excellent show about all things weather, including two cuts from this new album, “I Love the Rain” and “Eye of the Tornado.” Get a taste of the fabulous music off her new CD by listening to the podcast and check out the video we featured of the title track off this fabulous new album.

Recess Monkey ♦ In Tents

Load up the car pretend the family is running away to the circus with Recess Monkey’s newest CD, In Tents. This circus inspired CD brings in the voices of stellar guest musicians who have guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show over the years, including Dean Jones and Sugar Free Allstars. And the 32-page story book, illustrated by Western MA’s very own children’s author/illustrator, Jarrett Krosoczka, will entertain the kids in the back seat while heading out on your big adventure. In late June, Jack, Daron and Drew will guest DJ the Hilltown Family Variety Show again this summer. Check back on June 23rd for the podcast and a peak at In Tents.

Orange Sherbet ♦ Delicious!

Delicious! celebrates the delights of eating seasonal locally grown foods during all seasons of the year.  Orange Sherbet’s songs off of this new album celebrate farmers’ markets, gardening, the four seasons, and rice & beans… among many other celebratory songs about local food and the seasons.  In late March this year Orange Sherbet guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, spinning tunes off this new album, including “Waffle Day,” “Garden Song,” “Springtime,” and the title track, “Delicious.”  Give the podcast a listen for a taste of this new CD, and check out their featured video.

Hope Harris ♦ Picasso, That’s Who!

Winner of the Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award for her previous album, Cousins Jamboree, Hope’s newest CD, Picasso, That’s Who! is a celebration of visual artists from the 19th & 20th century. The CD is a lovely way for families to receive musical mini-lessons in art appreciation. Kids can discover many great artists, including Romare Bearden, Jackson Pollock, Paul Klee, David Hockney, Pablo Picasso, Grandma Moses, Alexander Calder, Henri Matisse, Claude Money and Georgia O’Keeffe.

Mo Phillips ♦ Monster Suit

The family will love Mo Phillips fiery blend of Americana, soul and blues in his newest CD, Monster Suit, an album filled with music sometimes reminiscent of Western MA musical legends Woody and Arlo Gutherie.  Mo plays classic acoustic rock ‘n’ roll influence by Neil Young and The Rolling Stones, on topics most families can identify with, like bad hair days and surprising facts about ducks.

Maestro Classics ♦ Casey at the Bat

Stephen Simon and Bonnie Ward Simon, the husband-and-wife team behind Maestro Classics, guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show in early March this year, calling their show “Classical Music Comes Alive.”  Listen to the podcast and get the kids excited with their enthusiasm for sharing classical music with families.  Their series of CDs began in 2004 as an outgrowth of their sold-out family concert series at The Kennedy Center with the Washington Chamber Symphony, for which Stephen served as music director and Bonnie as executive director. Casey at the Bat is a CD from the series that families can enjoy together while exploring classical music in similar fashion as the classic Peter and the Wolf.

The Broadway Lullaby Project ♦ Over the Moon

When the littlest one has fallen asleep on your family road trip, or it’s time for driving into the night, Over the Moon, a compilation of lullabies crafted together by a stellar cast of vocalists, Broadway composers, lyricists and producer, will speak eloquently to all listeners in the car. With piano and/or guitar, songs on this CD are about the love between parents and their kids, and the unique ways this love gets expressed.

Katherine Dines ♦ Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta

A pioneer of the “kindie” music genre, Katherine Dines newest CD, Hunk-Ta-Bunk-Ta, is a collection of her most requested songs over the past twenty years drawn from the eleven CD’s she’s released since 1992. Katherine’s songs tend to find the fun in everyday family life, along with softer inspirational songs. At the end of March this year, Katherine guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show, sharing her life journey in song. The show gives listeners a glimpse into Katherine’s experiences, and features songs from this new album, including “In the Backseat,” “Goosebumps,” and “Imagination.” She also shared the video for her song, “All the Way Around the World,” which you can check out along with the podcast.

 

Saturday Morning Music Party Continues this Saturday in Easthampton!

Saturday Morning Music Party & Pancake Breakfast
Continues at Flywheel in Easthampton
Saturday, April 7th, 10am-12noon

The Flywheel Arts Collective, an Easthampton-based, volunteer-run music and arts venue, along with the Hilltown Families and No-Nap Happy Hour, invites families with kids of all ages to a fun, creative, and educational series of events!

Flywheel R.O.C.K.This Saturday, April 7th at 10am, the third of four installments of the Saturday Morning Music Party continues! Families are welcomed to join us for a free pancake breakfast followed a family dance party by local kids performers R. O. C. K. (Royal Order of Chords and Keys).  R.O.C.K. is a family music “kindie” band featuring Aric Bieganek, winner of the 2011 WFCR Arts and Humanities Emerging Talent award, on vocals and guitar, Hans Dalhaus on drums and David Picchi on bass. Together they form the hardest rocking band for families in the world. Period. Suggested a donation of $5 for individuals and $10 for families to cover band expenses.

ABOUT FLYWHEEL: Flywheel Arts Collective, a collectively run, not-for-profit space, aims to build community and give artists of all types the opportunity to craft, practice, and perform their work in an environment where creativity is valued over profit. Volunteer-run and governed by consensus, Flywheel believes that art and information should be equally accessible and affordable to all people. For more information, visit www.flywheelarts.org.


“Saturday Morning Music Party!” is supported by a grant from the Easthampton, MA local Cultural Council  — a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

MUSIC GIVEAWAY: Music Collection from Uncle Rock!

Uncle Rock Returns to the Pioneer Valley
Saturday, March 10th at 10am
At Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA

Saturday Morning Music Party Presents a Family Concert with Uncle Rock at Flywheel Arts Collective on Saturday, March 10th at 10am in Easthampton, MA. Enter to win Uncle Rock's entire collection of fabulous music CD's & DVD! (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Hilltown Families, the No Nap Happy Hour and Flywheel are proud to present a family concert with Uncle Rock as part of the Saturday Morning Music Party in Easthampton at the Flywheel Arts Collective!  On March 10th at 10am Uncle Rock will rock the house and have all members of the family on their feet dancing away the winter blues!  Fill up on free pancakes before the concert, and for a suggested donation of $5 per person ($10 per family), enjoy a fun filled morning with the family!

Leading up to his performance we’re giving listeners of the Hilltown Family Variety Show the opportunity to enter to win Uncle Rock’s entire collection of music CDs & DVD.  One lucky family will walk away with a fabulous collection to add to their family music/video repertoire!  Find out how to enter to win below. Deadline to enter to win is midnight, March 9th!

And the day of the performance while driving on over to Flywheel, be sure to tune into the Hilltown Family Variety Show (103.3FM WXOJ) from 9-10am as Uncle Rock will be our guest DJ!  Encore on Sunday, March 11th from 7-8am and podcast anytime following Saturday’s broadcast right here at www.HilltownFamilies.org!

ABOUT UNCLE ROCK

Uncle Rock has shared stages with Joe Cocker, Vassar Clements and Hanoi Rocks. Hilltown Families has presented Uncle Rock here in Western Mass for performances at the Florence Civic Center in 2008 and at the Children’s Art Museum in 2007, and have had him as our Valentine’s Day guest DJ on the Hilltown Family Variety Show. And our friends over at Spare the Rock have brought Uncle Rock to the Northampton Community Music Center in 2009, the Music Meltdown in 2009/10, and to the Iron Horse in 2010 … Uncle Rock is no stranger to our area, and much admired by many families.

Uncle Rock (a.k.a. Robert Burke), is a musician with a “rock of all ages” persona who blends an inventive rock sound for families. His offbeat approach, plus a dynamic live show, has won critical praise from the L.A. Times & the New York Times. Before his nephew dubbed him “Uncle Rock,” Robert Burke Warren performed as a bass player in many rock and roll bands, including international garage rock titans The Fleshtones. He portrayed the title character in Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story in London’s West End. He’s also co-written songs for multi-Grammy winner Rosanne Cash and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Wanda Jackson.

Uncle Rock’s CD, The Big Picture won a Parents Choice Award, and he was voted Best Children’s Performer of 2011 by Hudson Valley Magazine. Uncle Rock has participate in several collaborative efforts, including Healthy Food For Thought, which was nominated for a Grammy, and Many Hands: Family Music For Haiti, which has raised over 40k for Haitian relief! – www.unclerock.com.

GIVEAWAY: 5 MUSICAL ADDITIONS TO YOUR FAMILY MUSIC COLLECTION!

Here’s Uncle Rock’s entire catalog of CD’s and DVD which we’re giving away to one very luck family:

PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS: Uncle Rock – AKA Robert Burke Warren – has lost count of the number of parents who have expressed relief and gratitude that a CD has been created that they can enjoy WITH their kids. The former globe-trotting bass player stumbled onto his most satisfying creative endeavor yet as a teacher’s assistant at the rural School Of The New Moon in Mount Tremper, New York, where Uncle Rock was born.

UNCLE ROCK U: Uncle Rock U, a collection of 17 songs, explores the joy, excitement and imagination of childhood. The album also reflects Uncle Rock’s indie-rock background (former bassist with The Fleshtones), his theatrical gifts (the lead in the London production of Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story) and his knack for connecting with children (being a Dad himself, as well as a preschool teacher).

THE BIG PICTURE: Shel Silverstein meets Buddy Holly! The eco-rock on Uncle Rock’s fourth CD is a salute to his musical heroes, with stylistic nods to Bowie, the Stones, Cat Stevens, and Johnny Cash. Cross-generational toe-tappin’ tunes for kids from 2 to 92!

NUMBER 1 DVD: “Uncle Rock is a musical Icon in the Woodstock area,” reviews Amazon. When you go to one of his live concerts, the smiling faces and energy flows as much from the parents in the audience as from the kids. Number 1 DVD captures positive, hopeful energy through a live concert shot at the famed Utopia sound stage in Woodstock, NY, plus five videos.

EXPRESS YOUR ELF: Express Your Elf is a holiday CD with a few surprises, including Uncle Rock’s versions of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” and “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” plus some rockin’ originals! Sure to be a welcome addition to your holiday CD collection!

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win Uncle Rock’s entire collection of music CDs & DVD is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below,
  • TELL US HOW THE HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW ENTERTAINS YOUR FAMILY below (one entry per household) and be sure to tell us your
  • FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  • LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  • ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  • We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Friday, 03/09/12 @ 12midnight (EST).

Monthly Saturday Morning Music Party Series for Families at Flywheel!

Saturday Morning Music Party Series in Easthampton
Free Pancakes, Live Music, Dancing & Crafts

Known to its neighbors and fans for boisterous concerts and a DIY aesthetic, the Flywheel Arts Collective of Easthampton may not immediately spring to mind when considering a venue for a family-friendly activity for the kids. But with the announcement of the ‘Saturday Morning Music Party,’ a free monthly breakfast bash featuring a variety of activities, performances and diversions for kids (to run from February through May, initially), Flywheel becomes just that.

  • WHAT: Monthly Saturday Morning Music Party Series for Families
  • WHERE: Flywheel Arts Collective, 43 Main Street (Old Town Hall), Easthampton, MA 
  • WHEN: Saturdays, Feb 11, Mar 10, Apr 7 & May 12, 10am
  • COST: Free. Suggested Donation $5 ($10 per family) for Mar 10 & Apr 7 concerts.
  • CONTACT: 413-527-9800

Partnering with Hilltown Families and The No-Nap Happy Hour, the first of four installments of the Saturday Morning Music Party series kicks off on February 11 at 10am at Flywheel’s Easthampton location in the town hall building at 43 Main St. in Easthampton. Subsequent events take place on March 10, April 7 and May 12. Each month’s bash features a pancake breakfast followed by musical performances, various activities and guided arts and crafts.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 11TH:

On Saturday, February 11th, following a free pancake breakfast which begins at 10am, the first installment of the series features a screening of an episode of Pancake Mountain, a Washington D.C.-based, public-access, Saturday morning TV show hosted by a goat puppet who often features indie rock bands as guests. After the show, kids join DJ Youthelectronix for the “best ever dance party before noon.”

Dj Youthelectronix, a.k.a. Jeremy Smith, a veteran Flywheel volunteer, led the effort to organize the Saturday Morning Music Party series. Driven to recreate the success of similar Saturday morning activities at Flywheel’s previous location, Smith says, “Offering unique and creative activities for families and kids while providing an outlet for artists to connect with the community falls exactly in step with Flywheel’s mission.” He’s particularly proud of the “diverse programming” to be offered, which is anything but the rote kids’ fare.

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Subsequent month’s events will include live family concerts with award-winning musicians, Uncle Rock on March 10th, and R.O.C.K. on April 7th, along with a pancake breakfast and artist-­led arts and crafts, and other fun activities. Then on May 12th the series will close out just as the Easthampton Bear Fest kicks off with the Little Bear Craft & Dance Party!


“Saturday Morning Music Party!” is supported by a grant from the Easthampton, MA local Cultural Council  — a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Fids & Kamily Awards: Top 10 Albums for 2011

Fids & Kamily Awards: 2011

The winners of the Fids & Kamily Awards have been announced!  Launched in 2006 and inspired by the Village Voice’s long-running “Pazz and Jop” music poll, the Fids and Kamily Poll is the first compilation of year-end kids and family music “best of” lists from critics, writers, radio programmers, and others involved in the music industry. Ten favorites are voted on from outstanding releases, including kids and family albums from mainstream/adult artists, seasoned kindie artists and some fantastic newcomers.

For the fifth year in a row, Hilltown Families has participated as a judge for the Fids and Kamily Awards (www.fidsandkamily.com).  Take a look at the top 10 picks and honorable mentions.  Any are sure to make a great gift of music this holiday season.

The Top 10 albums of 2011 are (in order):

  1. Recess MonkeyFLYING!
  2. Dan Zanes and Friends – Little Nut Tree
  3. Frances England – Mind of My Own
  4. Caspar Babypants - Sing Along!
  5. Lunch Money – Original Friend
  6. Brady RymerLove Me for Who I Am
  7. The Deedle Deedle DeesStrange Dees, Indeed
  8. The Jimmies – Practically Ridiculous
  9. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam BandOh Lucky Day!
  10. Gustafer YellowgoldGustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock

Honorable Mentions (unranked next ten):


Related posts:

Must-Hear Music Monday: Mister Rabbit by Caspar Babypants

Caspar Babypants’ New Kids’ Books

Bunny Rabbit in the SunlightDid you know that Caspar Babypants is now writing kids’ books? It’s true!

I’m sure you’ve noticed that all of Caspar’s album covers are beautifully illustrated with paper cut out pictures. All of those adorable little creatures were created by Caspar’s, that is Chris Ballew’s, real wife, Kate Endle.

So doesn’t it make perfect sense that they would team up to create a couple of bright, colorful, and fun-to-read books for kids? Of course it does!

With Kate illustrating and Caspar writing, these two new books are perfectly balanced and delightfully beautiful. Bunny Rabbit in the Sunlight is a simple board book for little guys and My Woodland Wish is a longer book for bigger guys.

Both are adorable and both follow a similar theme: pictures of cutey pie wild animals and rhymes about what those animals do (and how much we want to play with them).

Plus, each book comes with a FREE Caspar Babypants song that you can download at Caspar’s website.

And speaking of all things cute, bunny, and Caspar Babypants… have you seen the video for Mister Rabbit?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Must-Hear Music Monday: Down at the Zoo

Down at the Zoo

Down at the ZooOne of my favorite bands is Belle and Sebastian and one of my all time favorite albums is Dear Catastrophe Waitress. Yes, I suppose that is music for grown ups, but my son loves this album, too!

Anyway, when I heard that Mick Cooke of Belle and Sebastian was creating kids’ albums I just had to check it out! Recording under the name Too Many Cookes, Mick’s newest album is Down at the Zoo and it’s just lovely.

The album is all about animals and their antics in the zoo. Elephants, monkeys, alligators… they’re all here. The lyrics are simple and wonderful fare for preschoolers and toddlers. Easy to sing to and full of life and imagery.

But what I really like is the quality of the music itself. The horns are tremendous throughout the album and it’s fun to talk to your kids about the different instruments you can hear in each song. My favorite song on the album has to be Sarah the Seal. Just so happy and free!

Check out the new album on the Down at the Zoo Facebook page and listen to one of the songs from the album here: We are the Tigers.

By the way, did you know that tigers like to eat chocolate pie?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Must-Hear Music Monday: New Video by Renee & Jeremy

Share This Video

Renee & Jeremy are simply awesome as is. Their music is melodic and beautiful. But they also seem to know all of the coolest artists around and when their songs are accompanied by animation… well, it’s perfection.

See for yourself:


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Ben Rudnick & Friends: 10 Years of Great Music!

Ben Rudnick & Friends Video

Check out this video shot live at the Ben Rudnick & Friends 10th Anniversary show:

Editors note: Ben Rudnick and Friends will be at the 5th Annual Hilltown Spring Festival at the Cummington Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 14th, performing on the new Hilltown Families Family Stage at 1:30pm!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Planting Seeds: Music that Celebrates Gardening

Maria & Friends: Planting Seeds

Planting Seeds - Must Hear Music Monday Column

One of our favorite artists, Maria Sangiolo, has gotten a bunch of her friends together to create a new album all about farms and gardens.

The resulting project, Planting Seeds, is an amazing compilation of songs about the earth, gardening, and eating right.

A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this CD is also going to benefit the good work of the Northeast Organic Farming Association.

This album is both beautiful and fun and not at all preachy. Maria and her friends (including Rani Arbo, Alastair Moock, and SteveSongs) teach kids all about nature and growing your own food. My favorite song on the album, Didn’t Know What I Was Missing, a duet between Alastair and Lori McKenna, really gets to the point. Until you’ve had a tomato you’ve grown yourself, you just don’t know how good a tomato can be. And I can attest to that since we planted our first vegetable garden last year!

We’ve got plans for a HUGE garden this year. We’re planting tomatoes, green beans, lettuce, radishes, spinach, zucchini… and what ever else we can fit! This could be a great project for your family, too. Listen to the songs on the album and begin planning your garden now. By the time you’re ready to get your hands dirty in May you’ll know all the songs by heart!

Here’s to a prolific garden Dancin’ in the Breeze!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Lullabies to Lull Your Kids to La-La Land

Sleepy Kids’ Lullabies

Sleeping baby.

Getting your kids to sleep can be a real challenge. Some parents are blessed with children who simply fall asleep on their own, sleep all night, and probably even take one or two naps a day!

Not me, oh no, getting Ivan to sleep has been hard work. We’ve been through plans and even met with renowned sleep expert Dr. Ferber. I’m happy to report that Ivan now sleeps very well at night, but I do still rely on lullaby music to calm him and get him in a sleeping mood for his afternoon nap.

If you are looking for some sweet, soothing tunes to help lull your kids to sleep, too, here are our favorites:

Charlie Hope’s lullaby CD, World of Dreams, is a wonderful CD for relaxing your child and getting them in the mood for sleep. The songs move from one to the other very nicely so there aren’t any jarring shifts and Charlie’s voice is simply beautiful.

If you haven’t already been listening non-stop to Charlie’s other CD, I’m Me!, then you’ve been missing out! And if you have, then you already know how wonderful a Charlie Hope lullaby CD must be!

The Wiggles Go To Sleep Jeff! is a classic in our house. Featuring both slower-paced versions of other Wiggle songs (like Take a Trip Out On the Sea) and more traditional lullabies (like Brahms’ Lullaby), this CD will definitely do the trick.

The CD also presents lullabies from around the world (my favorite is the Maranoa Lullaby from central Australia), but one thing to look out for are the introductions to each song. Since a lot of these songs have really interesting stories behind them, the Wiggles recorded short introductions to each song to explain where it comes from or what’s going on. This can make it hard for a child to fall asleep, so it’s best to play it from your iPod with the intros removed.

Party Like a Twinkle StarCharity and the JamBand designed their new album, Party Like a Twinkle Star, around a brilliant concept: create two discs, one to play when you’re ready to party and one to play when you’re ready to sleep. The lullaby CD is really quite soothing and has become one of our favorite CDs for relaxing to.

The songs are all very positive, too. I like The Reminder, a song that reminds us and our children about how important we all are. Ivan loves their version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star because it’s both familiar and new at the same time.

If after listening to some of these lullaby CDs you’re still finding it hard to get your child to sleep, you may want to check out this article on common sleep problems and their solutions or this one on creating a sleep plan for your child.

Good luck, good night, and sweet dreams!

RELATED POST: Lullabies to Ease Transitions


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Music Review: The Wild World of Wildlife

We’re Wild for Wildlife!

Kids love animals—real ones, stuffed ones, it doesn’t matter.

My son, Ivan, has two animal favorites right now: the Discovery Kids Smart Animals Scanopedia (he loves the sound of the turkey gobbling) and Birdie’s CD The Wild World of Wildlife. Oh, and his kitten, Murray, of course!

Birdie’s CD is a fun collection of songs all about animals, from reptiles to mammals, fish to birds. Most of the songs will teach your kids a little something about the animals (did you know that the Fiddler Crab shoves sand in its mouth, picks out the food, then spits out the leftover sand as a ball?) and some will just make your kids want to dance, like Shake Your Tail Feathers.

I personally like that Birdie adds some life lessons to the mix as well, as in the song Elephant in the Congo that teaches kids about how precious the elephant is and that we humans shouldn’t harm it.

So get out your shakers, put on your dancing shoes, and check out The Wild World of Wildlife. Animal lovers unite!

You can learn more about Birdie’s Playhouse at her website: www.birdiesplayhouse.com or on her Facebook page.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Sunny Day: Elizabeth Mitchell’s Newest CD

Elizabeth Mitchell: Sunny Day

'Sunny Day' offers "handmade music" which invites listeners to join in. As Amanda Blake Soule, the author of "The Creative Family," notes in the 28-page full-color booklet enclosed with 'Sunny Day,' "These songs bring our attention to the magical, mysterious, fabulous and special simple moments of everyday living." They provide a soundtrack to brighten any day, "inspiring family connection and togetherness," as Sooule says.

Elizabeth Mitchell’s new CD, Sunny Day, came out earlier this month and at just the right time for my family.

With the air getting crisper and school back in session, kids will invariably pick up (and bring home) fall colds. It’s no fun for anyone. When both mommy and child are feeling under the weather the best thing for everyone is to relax and take it easy.

Yes, I realize this is easier said than done, but Elizabeth’s soothing voice and mellow tunes really helped my son to calm down, rest, and focus on getting better rather than on how awful he felt. And that helped mommy feel better, too!

Elizabeth sings many traditional folk songs from around the world, but combines them in her seamless style. Her voice and arrangements are soft and safe; you can’t help but feel comfortable and comforted while listening to her music. It’s perfect music for after-school-wind-down time, for snuggling, or for just feeling happy and at home.

To get a feel for Elizabeth’s style, try listening to her version of Mr. Rabbit or the Japanese song Ooki Na Kuri No Ki No Shita De (Under the Big Chestnut Tree), two of our favorite songs on the new album.

If you’re looking for something easy to listen to, something you can pop in the CD player when you’ve just about had it with all the noise and the distractions, you’ve found it. Relax. You’re entire family deserves it!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)



October 16th Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Radio Show/Podcast)

October 16th Episode

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
October 16th & 17th, 2010
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Listen Now


FEATURED VIDEO: The Leisure Society play live at the Union Chapel on 15 May 2010 to launch American Laundromat’s latest charity compilation, Sing Me to Sleep: Indie Lullabies.


 

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PLAYLIST

Northampton Parents Center Turns 25!

Northampton Parents Center
25th Anniversary Fundraising Concert
Saturday, October 16th, 2010

Jay Mankita is a touring songwriter, an internationally recognized recording artists and a local dad. Join him on Saturday, October 16th at a fundraising concert for the Northampton Parents Center. Click on flyer to see larger image.

Northampton Parents Center is having a 25th Anniversary Fundraising Concert with Putumayo recording artist, Jay Mankita, Saturday, October 16th, at 4 pm in the upstairs of Edwards Church.  Everyone is welcome – the whole community is invited! A sliding scale donation is suggested, but  not required.  Please come celebrate music for the whole family with the Northampton Parents Center!

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON PARENTS CENTER

Northampton Parents Center is a nonprofit cooperative drop-in site for children (birth to kindergarten) and their caregivers. Since 1985, Northampton Parents Center (NPC) has provided a safe, nurturing environment for families with young children to socialize. Open Monday through Thursday 9:30 to 11:30 am, mid September to late May. Located in the lower level of Edwards Church at the corner of Main and State Streets in Northampton — entrance on State Street. Generously supported by Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Edwards Church, and partially funded by a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care administered by Collaborative for Educational Services and Northampton Public Schools. www.northamptonparentscenter.org

Mind of My Own: France England’s Newest CD

Frances England: Mind of My Own

Frances England: Mind of My Own

Mind of My Own, due out November 9th, has a frenetic energy that is exciting and contagious!

You know when you hear an artist for the first time and they just grab you? That’s what happened for me when I heard Frances England’s new CD Mind of My Own.

On the one hand I was upset with myself for never having listened to Frances before, but on the other hand I was excited that she has two other CDs! I immediately ordered Fascinating Creatures and Family Tree. She’s just glorious!

If you’re familiar with Frances’ earlier work, then you already know about her sultry voice, creative lyrics, and timeless melodies. Her songs are easy to hum to and often the choruses are easy to sing to your kids later to get them to calm down. Many of the songs on her first two CDs are very soothing, but her new CD, due out November 9th, 2010, has more of a frenetic energy that is exciting and contagious.

As with many mommy artists, Frances’ music has grown with her kids. You can hear in this album the emerging independence I’m sure she’s seeing in her sons. The title song, Mind of My Own, is all about finding your own way while also maneuvering through all the rules your parents place on you. I absolutely adore the song Red Balloon where Frances describes a child growing in perfectly poetic language:

I’m a red balloon
I’m a full moon rising
I’m an apple tree
I’m a lemon drop
I’m a flower petal
I’m heavy metal
I’m two years old and I’m nonstop
I’m two years old and I’m nonstop

In the song To Be we hear Frances really appreciating the simple things in life. As parents we all know how sobering it can be to suddenly see the world through our kids’ eyes and realize the beauty of a flower or triumph of climbing a tree.

Frances says: “As a mother of two, it… feels really good to use song writing as a way of reflecting on daily family life. It’s such a precious time but too often we all lose sight of how significant it is because of our crazy schedules. For me, writing and singing these songs serves as a reminder that this stage in our families’ lives is golden.”

That’s a good reminder for all of us. Please check out this CD when it’s released in November. You’ll be so glad you did!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

October 2nd Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast)

October 2nd Episode

Listen Now


Featured video: The Flannery Brothers perform “Pirate or Parrot?” off of their new CD, The New Explorers Club.

Repeat Button Award
We’re loving The Okee Dokee Brothers new CD, Take it Outside.  Their combination of bluegrass and country sounds make for excellent breezy listening.  We find their songs fun, entertaining, even educational, with lyrics reminiscent of country living.  This album gets a 4-Star Repeat Button Award with four different repeat button requests being shouted from the back seat of the mini-van, including the songs: “Neighbors,” “Antidisestablishmentarianism,” “Tippy Toes” and “Auctioneer.”


PodcastsRadio Archives Subscribe Myspace Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Station ID: Steve Weeks [www.steveweeksmusic.com]
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Neighbors” [Take it Outside]Music
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “Naked Truth” [Take it Outside]Music
  • Flannery Brothers – “Pirate or Parrot?” [The New Explorers Club]Music
  • Claire Bloom  – “The History of Seven Young Parrots (Of The Lake Pipple-Popple)” [Nonsense Stories and Poems by Edward Lear]
  • Steve Songs – “The Pirate Song” [Little Superman]
  • The Bazillions – “Super Sonic Rocket Bike” [Rock-n-Roll Recess]Music
  • Station Id: Bill Harley [www.billharley.com]
  • Caspar Babypants – “The Legend of the Bone” [This is Fun]Music
  • Bill Harley – “Jack and the Singing Leaves” [The Best Candy in the Whole World and Other Stories by Bill Harley]Music
  • The Okee Dokee Brothers – “The Extraterrestrials” [Take it Outside]Music
  • Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – “The Rattling Can” [Rise and Shine]

VALLEY FREE RADIO: It’s fundraising week over at our beloved community radio station, 103.3FM WXOJ (Northampton, MA). Visit Valley Free Radio online and make a donation to keep the station on air and equipment up-to-date.  Any amount is welcomed!  Visit www.valleyfreeradio.org and select the Donate Now button (large and up top) to make your pledge.

Valley Free Radio is a commercial-free community radio station that gets the vast majority of its funding from listeners like you!  Make a donation of $20 or more during our show (Saturday, 9-10am) and receive a CD from one of the many wonderful family-genre musicians we feature every week on our show. Email us at hilltownfamilies@gmail.com to let us know that you made your pledge.  Thank you for supporting community radio!

New Music Worth Adding to Your iTunes Children’s Mix

New Music from the Flannerys & Caspar Babypants

Sometimes when you’ve listened to a lot of music you begin to feel a bit satiated; you start thinking that you’ve heard all the good stuff so why listen to anything new?

I don’t think this is uncommon. At this point my children’s mix on iTunes has 951 of our all time favorite kids songs—and I’m not kidding when I say we love every single song and wouldn’t give any up. But do we really need to add any more?

We still listen to new music, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to add something new to my mix—I mean, those 951 songs would take over a day to listen to from beginning to end. I think we’re good. I was just about ready to throw in the towel and call my mix complete when we were sent two new CDs to review from the Flannery Brothers and Caspar Babypants. They made the cut and now we’re at 983.

FLANNERY BROTHERS

Flannery Brothers - New Explorers ClubWe’ve been fans of the Flannery Brothers since we first heard Broccoli Yet back in April of last year (why does that seem like such a long time ago?) when their song was in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition.

They’ve since released two albums, Love Songs for Silly Things and Wake Up Songs, and have a third, The New Explorers Club, due out in October. I hear a fourth, Dance Songs for Silly Things, is currently in the works. Do these guys ever sleep?

I’m always amazed by the talent of these brothers. What did mama Flannery feed them when they were little? Their music is rich and thick, like a hearty bowl of corn chowder (made with fresh corn just bought at the Farmers’ Market, of course). The layers of instruments and inter workings of sound are so impressive, but I’m always most taken by the lyrics. Flannery songs are fun, adventurous, and encourage kids (and parents) to get up, dance, get outside, and just experience life to the fullest. One of my favorite songs on the new album, Swallowed a Bug, is a hilarious take on the phrase, “It was totally worth it:”

I swallowed a bug,
but it was totally worth it.
It was sunny outside,
the day was perfect.
I was running through the green grass,
the bug was in the air,
and neither of us thought we’d meet each other there.

And you get the same message in the song The Elements. Who cares if it’s too hot or too cold outside, just get out there and have fun!

It’s hard to pick one favorite tune on this album, but if you can only listen to one song, I’d say give Kitchen Floor a try. On the surface it’s a song about being silly and laying down on the floor in the kitchen, but really it’s about being comfortable in your home and with your family—listening to mom cook dinner, smelling the spices, feeling the sun come through the window, and knowing you’re safe and at peace. Ah… what a feeling!

The New Explorers Club will be released on October 19th, 2010.

CASPAR BABYPANTS

Caspar Babypants - This is Fun!I know there’s been a lot of buzz over Caspar Babypants’ first two kids’ albums, Here I Am! and More Please!, but I have to be honest with you… I just never took the time to check him out until receiving a review copy of his newest album, This is Fun.

That was silly of me. Caspar Babypants rocks!

Caspar Babypants is the kid-friendly pseudonym of Chris Ballew, the lead singer of The Presidents of the United States of America. His songs as Caspar are very much designed for the youngest musicophiles, babies and toddlers, which is a nice change from the usual hip, quirky kindie rock that appeals more to elementary school aged kids. Itsy Bitsy Spider and Shortnin’ Bread just got a much needed makeover!

Caspar’s songs are stripped-down-simple in a very light and airy way. These songs encourage you and your little one to move with the music together: stomp your feet, bounce up and down, wave your arms around. Perfect for mommy and me time! But they’re also entertaining enough for older kids… and mommy too!

I’ve actually taken This is Fun to my son, Ivan’s, physical therapy as a way to encourage him to move with his therapist. It worked wonders! The easy beats and directive lyrics got Ivan bouncing, taking steps, and balancing better than he’s ever done before—way to go Casper Babypants!

If you can only listen to one song on This is Fun, check out Baby and the Animals. I LOVE this song! A little baby and her animal friends live on an island, hang out on the beach, and play together in a band: “Coconuts and music is the all-day diet.” So cute!

This is Fun will be released on November 2nd, 2010.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Back-to-School Episode: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)

Listen Now

Back-to-School Episode

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
September 11th & 12th, 2010
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA


Featured Video: Our friends over at Boston Children’s Music turned us on to this new video,Bookmobile Submarineby John Hadfield.


PodcastsRadio Archives Subscribe Myspace Facebook Twitter

PLAYLIST

  • Chuck Berry – “School Day” [His Best, Volume 1]
  • Imagination Movers – “First Day of School” [Juice Box Heroes]
  • The Not-Its! – “Welcome to Our School” [Time Out to Rock]
  • Station ID: Charity and the JAMband [www.jamjamjam.com]
  • Charity and The JAMband – “Jump into the Middle” [Rock Your Socks Off]
  • Ernie & Neal – “Pre-School Punk” [Rock the House]
  • Duplex – “Figure 8″ [Album]
  • Jack Johnson – “We’re Going to be Friends” [Sing-a-Longs & Lullabies for the Film Curious George]
  • Opus Ditty – “Folsom Preschool Blues”
  • Rocknocerous – “School Bus” [Dark Side of the Moon Bounce]
  • Tom Paxton – “What Did You Learn in School Today” [Best of Tom Paxton]
  • The RTTs – “Learning My Letters” [Turn It Up Mommy!]
  • Adam and the Couch Potatoes – “Go To The Playground” [One Size Fits All!]
  • Clint Holmes – “Playground in My Mind” [Radio Hits of the '70s]
  • The Terrible Twos – “Playground” [Jerzy The Giant]
  • Ellis Paul – “I Like To Swing” [The Dragonfly Races]
  • Rebecca Frezza & Big Truck – “Carnival Ride” [Special Kind of Day]
  • Lisa Loeb – “It’s Not Goodbye” [Camp Lisa]
  • The Sweet Colleens – “The Terrible Twos Step” [The Monkey Dance: All The Kids Are Doin' It!]Music
  • Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke – “The Rattling Can” [Rise and Shine]Music

Environmental Education Through Music

An Environmental Education for Kids … Through Music!

We’ve become big recyclers, we drive fuel efficient cars, and we take our reusable bags to the grocery store…but even though the best way to teach a kid any lesson is to practice what you preach, it can still be hard to explain exactly why protecting the environment is important and how doing things like recycling can really help. Featured here are four kids’ musicians who celebrate the message on environmental awareness, in a fun sing-song way…

Read the rest of this entry »

HFVS Music Giveaway: “A Family Album” by The Verve Pipe

New Music Giveaway
A Family Album by The Verve Pipe

By far, A Family Album by The Verve Pipe is one of our favorite family CD’s to come out this year – and we have two copies to giveaway to two lucky families!

Your family is going to love the fun pop songs on this album. The foodie in me loves the playfulness of “Suppertime!” and the mom in me gets choked up to “Only One of You.”  My 8yo daugher (and co-host of the Hilltown Family Variety Show) can’t get enough of “Complimentary Love” and “When One Became Two” (I’m raising a little romantic!).  A Family Album is a great CD to have in the family car for enjoyable listening by all members of the family.

Randy and Donnie from The Verve Pipe recently hosted the Hilltown Family Variety Show, selecting songs from A Family Album, along with great selection of songs from their childhood. Listen to the Podcast anytime, or tune in to an encore on WXOJ 103.3FM Northampton, MA on Saturday from 9-10am and Sunday from 7-8pm.

Lend your hand in the creation of a community playlist by posting a playful tune you remember from your childhood (or recently discovered), and be entered to win.  Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, August 18th at 7pm (EST). Details below.

ABOUT THE VERVE PIPE’S NEW CD

“Bridging middle ground between Sesame Street albums and The Beatles, The Verve Pipe has created a record that both children and parents can listen to and enjoy. The ten songs that encompass the record are full of bright choruses and contagious melodies that will swim inside your head after one listen. It’s their experience with writing melodic gems that allows them to get away with a record that induces a smile at every turn. "A Family Album" can keep you company with its insanely fun, playful and memorable songs that will turn your smile upward.” (antiMusicnetwork.com)

With sales of three million albums worldwide and a reputation for spectacular live performances, in 2009, The Verve Pipe was approached to submit a new track for a compilation album of children’s songs. That session inspired A Family Album, an original collection of songs intended for the entire family, with fun and inventive lyrics set to the memorable melodies the band is known for.  Adding the artwork of Kate Cosgrove, gives the CD a lovely whimsical element to the cover and liner notes.

In 1996, RCA Records released their award-winning debut album, Villains, featuring their signature inventive arrangements, soul-searching lyrics and layered vocal. Their follow-up release, the critically acclaimed self-titled LP The Verve Pipe, featured ‘Hero,’ a Top 15 hit at Modern Rock radio. Their most recent album for adults, Underneath, produced the singles ‘Happiness Is’ and ‘Never Let You Down,’ one of the most played songs for Adult Top 40 and Modern A/C radio that year. The album also included ‘Colorful,’ the emotive ballad featured in the film and soundtrack Rock Star, starring Mark Wahlberg and Jennifer Aniston and also co-starring lead singer Brian Vander Ark in his first major film role.

These guys have performed sold-out concert throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia, been featured in Spin and Rolling Stone and videos on MTV and VH1, TV appearances (The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Late Night With David Letterman) and a stellar guest DJ appearance on the Hilltown Family Variety Show!

The Verve Pipe is currently on tour performing both old favorites as well as music from the new album for adults and kids of all ages.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free copy of The Verve Pipe’s new CD, A Family Album, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. SHARE A PLAYFUL SONG FROM YESTERYEAR BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their full name and town/state) and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, August 18th 2010 @ 7pm (EST).

Ticket Giveaway: Family Concert with Princess Katie & Racer Steve @ The Carle

WIN A FAMILY 4-PACK OF FREE TICKETS:
Princess Katie & Racer Steve
Saturday, August 7th, 2010
At the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA

Princess Katie & fan. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Hilltown Families and the Northampton Community Music Center have partnered up to offer a chance to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Princess Katie & Racer Steve at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA on Saturday, August 7th at 1pm. The proceeds from the concert go to benefit the Northampton Community Music Center.  Deadline to enter to win is 08/04/10. Find out how to enter to win below.

ABOUT PRINCESS KATIE & RACER STEVE

“Don’t let the name fool you, this Manhattan-based musical duo (and married couple) stirs up some seriously rockin’ music, ranging from alt-pop to country to reggae, all with a positive message.” (Publishers Weekly)

In 2008, Hilltown Families and Spare the Rock co-present Princess Katie & Racer Steve at Lyman Hall in Northampton, MA.  PK&RS had the kids rockin’ out and doing the tango, with the parents laughing and joining in … Two years and two albums later, they’re returning to the Pioneer Valley, and this time to the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts, sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River!

Princess Katie & Racer Steve have recently released a new album titled Tiny Cool, which has been described as “a book you cannot put down – in music form!” They create high energy, positive and upbeat music that both kids and parents alike can enjoy.

Spontaneity and surprise are key to PK&RS shows. You never know what they’ll dream up. Princess Katie (aka Katie O’Sullivan) says, “I just can’t seem to do a show unless it’s spectacular for the kids!”

“Alternative rock-loving parents will dig how much Katie sounds like Natalie Merchant (only much more chipper), and the high-spirited high jinks of Racer Steve will keep their tots in stitches.” (FamilyFun magazine)

Find out more about Princess Katie and Racer Steve at www.princessracer.com.

ABOUT THE NORTHAMPTON COMMUNITY MUSIC CENTER

The Northampton Community Music Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is “to foster the love and pursuit of music within the community through quality musical education, performances, and activities that are accessible to all.” NCMC’s talented 50+ faculty members offer a diverse range of musical programs to more than 750 participants a year—both adults and children—and bring concerts and other musical events to hundreds more in our surrounding communities, uniting people of all ages and backgrounds through the shared experience of music. NCMC is the only music school in Hampshire County that offers financial aid: no qualifying student has ever been denied scholarship.

This family concert is the sixth concert in the Kids Concert Series sponsored in partnership by the Northampton Community Music Center, the Eric Carle Museum, and 93.9 The River.  The Eric Carle Museum is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission is $6, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Program at NCMC.

HOW TO WIN

Your chance to win a family 4-pack of free tickets to see Princess Katie & Racer Steve at the Eric Carle Museum in Amherst, MA, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)!  To win simply:

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW (one entry per family) and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME (first/last) and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) must include your town to be eligible.
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL (we never share your email address).
  5. We’ll randomly draw a winner and will share the results below.

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, 08/04//10 @ 7pm (EST).

If you don’t win you should still go! Tickets are $6 and available at 12:30pm the day of the show.  No advance reservations. – For more information about the Northampton Community Music Center, call 585-0001.

Lullabies to Ease Transitions

More Lullabies

I’m a huge advocate of using music as a way to signal everyday events. This works especially well for special needs kids who may need a little extra help moving through transitions.

We have certain songs that we listen to when it’s time to eat or time to go to school, special Wake Up Songs, and, of course, special going-to-sleep songs.

We have so many sleep songs that we’ve actually separated them into three categories: relaxing songs when it’s time to just wind down a bit; nap songs; and bed time songs. I’m starting to feel like a lullaby expert!

So I wanted to share some of our favorite lullaby songs with you. Some are full albums and others are just one song off an otherwise excitable CD (and these days it’s so easy to just download one song), but all are magnificent.

Charlie Hope’s World of Dreams is a beautiful CD. She really thought through the entire concept from beginning to end and recorded an album fully with the intent of lulling your child to sleep.

I know it sounds obvious, but many lullaby CDs will include spoken words or jarring sounds that can wake you up! On World of Dreams, however, you’ll find that each song runs smoothly to the next, that the imagery is peaceful, the songs are ethereal, and the last song, If I Lie Here, sort of drifts off and fades away at the end, perfect for falling asleep to.

The beats on Under the Stars may move a bit faster than World of Dreams, but works beautifully for an afternoon nap time. What I love most about this album is that singers Nancy Falkow & Fran King take turns as lead vocalist, so get this very nice back and forth between a male voice and female.

Both singers are now based in Ireland (though Nancy is originally from the US), and you’ll hear lots of nature references in the songs that make me think of the Irish countryside. Very soothing and very sweet, my favorite song has to be I Wish You Love. It’s such a tender song about a parent’s love for their child.

This CD by Renee & Jeremy is a must-have in our car. It’s a Big World is the CD we pop in when Ivan is fussy and tired while we’re driving around town and just needs to settle down. It always works!

Renee & Jeremy are probably one of the best duo bands ever, their voices just blend perfectly, and this CD is home to my absolute favorite lullaby ever: Powder Blue. This is the song I hum to Ivan when it’s just me and him and he needs a little extra love. So simple yet so effective!

And can we talk for a minute about artwork? I’m just mesmerized by this CD cover. Brilliant and beautiful, but also soothing at the same time. Very nice.

A lot of artists will also record one lullaby song with the rest of the upbeat songs on their album. Here are some of our favorites:

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

HFVS Music Giveaway: The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band

New Music Giveaway
The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band by Laurie Berkner

Says Laurie, "After releasing five albums, I felt it was finally time to put out a compilation of my most requested songs. There have been many changes in recording technology, my own musical growth and the shape of the band since I released 'Whaddaya Think of That?'. I hope families will enjoy taking this music tour with us." - Deadline to enter to win Laurie's new CD: July 14th.

Laurie Berkner has released a greatest hits CD, The Best of the Laurie Berkner Band, filled with fan favorites – and we have two copies to giveaway to two lucky families!   Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, July 14th 2010. Details below.

ABOUT LAURIE BERKNER’S NEW CD

Award-Winning, best-selling children’s performer Laurie Berkner has released her first-ever collection of greatest hits, The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band, this past June.  All five of The Laurie Berkner Band’s CDs are represented: Whaddaya Think Of That? (1997); Buzz Buzz (1998); Victor Vito (1999); Under A Shady Tree (2002) and Rocketship Run (2008).  Special bonus tracks inclding a new song, “Open Your heart,” are also included.

A former preschool music teacher by day and indie rocker by night, Laurie Berkner started selling her music out of her living room on her own label.  She was the first artist to ever appear in music videos on Nick Jr., Nickelodeon’s 24-hour eucational, commercial-free preschool network, and are featured in nearly all of the episodes of the Channel’s “Jack’s Big Music Show.”  Find out more about Laurie Berkner at http://www.laurieberkner.com.

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free copy of Laurie Berkner’s new CD, The Best Of The Laurie Berkner Band, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. SHARE YOUR FAMILIES FAVORITE LAURIE BERKNER SONG BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their full name and town/state) and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, July 14th 2010 @ 7pm (EST).

Must-Hear Music Monday: Laurie Berkner

A Laurie Berkner Best Of!

Who doesn’t love the Laurie Berkner Band? Who hasn’t spent an entire afternoon happily humming Victor Vito to themselves?

Hey Victor! Hey Freddie! Let’s eat some spaghetti!

Laurie Berkner has been releasing perfectly danceable family fun albums for over ten years now (wow!) and felt it was high time for a best of compilation. I must agree!

If you’re not familiar with Laurie’s music, this album is a great introduction. You’ll get to listen to all of the best songs from over the years, from the silly (like Victor Vito and Pig on Her Head) to the sweet (like Five Days Old and Under a Shady Tree).

If you’re already a huge Laurie Berkner fan, you’ll be happy to see what a great job they did choosing the songs for this album (yes, Buzz Buzz made the cut), and you’ll probably have a couple you’d want to add (I’m kind of missing One More Stop on the Train). For us fans, this album would make a great gift for our friends who haven’t yet become super Laurie fans.

Another thing I love about this album: Since these are all hits, it’s a nice pick for the car. You’ve got almost an hour of “Oh, I love this song!” to drive along to with your kids… or on your own! Honestly, I don’t mind listening to a good Laurie Berkner song even when Ivan’s not around.

The Best of The Laurie Berkner Band was recently released on June 29th, and the band will be in Massachusetts for the Life is Good Festival in September. Exciting!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Amber BobnarAmber Bobnar

Amber lives with her husband and son in Watertown, MA. Originally hailing from Hawaii, Amber and her family moved to Watertown to be closer to the Perkins School for the Blind where her son attends preschool. She has a Master’s degree in English from Tufts University and spends most of her “free time” writing about being a parent of a disabled child on WonderBaby.org or about the family’s musical adventures around Boston on BostonChildrensMusic.com. But really most of her time is spent caring for and playing with her little boy. info@bostonchildrensmusic.com. (Originally posted at Boston Children’s Music.)

Locally Produced Family CD to Benefit Haiti

Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
Locally Produced by Spare the Rock Records

Hilltown Families friends Bill Childs and Dean Jones have joined forces to produce "Many Hands," a locally produced CD of family music to benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project. This forthcoming CD will feature new music from Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might Be Giants and many more. National release date: Aug. 10th, 2010.

With a national release on August 10th, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is the first release from Spare the Rock Records, based out of Western MA.  This unique collection of songs is filled with uplifting messages from some of today’s very best family musicians.

After the January 12th, 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital, family musician Dean Jones (Dog on Fleas) found himself feeling helpless and desperately wanting to help the people of Haiti. Having close friends in Haiti and feeling a deep love and respect for the music from the region, Jones felt the need to create something that could help the ongoing rebuilding effort.

The idea for Many Hands came to him in the middle of the night and the very next day several of his fellow family musicians signed on. “When I had the idea for the ‘Many Hands’ CD, I knew without a doubt that I could count on the big-hearted kindie community.” said Jones. “The generosity and the amazing work of all the musicians and everyone involved definitely exceeded my initial expectations.”

Almost all of the tracks on the album are previously unreleased, most of them recorded especially for this release. The gathering of artists featured here is a strong assortment of the unique and special talents creating and performing for today’s all ages audiences, from the legendary Pete Seeger to family hip-hop star Secret Agent 23 Skidoo. In addition, everyone involved in the process of getting this album out into the world from replication to distribution has also either drastically discounted or donated their services. Proceeds from this release will benefit the Haitian People’s Support Project and their long-standing work to help the people of Haiti.

Many Hands will be released as the debut album of Spare the Rock Records founded by kindie rock connoisseur Bill Childs. “After speaking with Dean it was immediately obvious to me that this would be a great record, and, just as importantly, that it would have the potential to help keep people’s attention on the ongoing recovery of Haiti,” recalls Childs on how the partnership came to fruition. “Dean asked for some help reaching out to a few artists, and that just naturally flowed into my helping the record get a wider release; ultimately, that meant starting a label.” Childs produces, with his kids, the weekly radio show Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child which airs every Saturday on 103.3FM Valley Free Radio from 7-9am, and 93.9FM The River from 8-10am. Bill also writes about kids’ music for Hilltown Families and various parenting magazines,  has produced numerous kids’ concerts and is the co founder of KindieFest, the family music conference.

Musicians include on the CD include: Dan Zanes, Pete Seeger, Elizabeth Mitchell, They Might be Giants, Gustafer YellowgoldCaspar Babypants, Frances England, Dog on Fleas, Lunch Money, Baby Gramps, Recess Monkey, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Jonathan Coulton, Uncle Rock, Grenadilla, Dean Jones, Emily Curtis, Randy Kaplan, and Jerrice Baptiste. - CD release shows are planned on both coasts, with details available at ManyHandsCD.com.

Amber’s 2010 Spring Picks: Hilltown Family Variety Show (Podcast/Radio Show)

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LISTEN TO PODCAST

Amber’s 2010 Spring Picks
Playlist by Amber Bodnar of Boston Children’s Music

Amber has put together a list of her and her son’s top 12 songs from this past spring of musicians who perform in MA, chiefly in the Boston area, with many who have performed here in Western MA too.

Visit both Amber’s site, Boston Children’s Music (Eastern MA) and check here on Hilltown Families (Western MA) for recommended family concerts, music and ticket giveaways.  Between the two we’re bridging the state to let families all throughout MA know about great concerts for families!

Featured Video: “Willy Won’t” by Debbie and Friends
This is a new song from the new Debbie and Friends CD. It’s a song about Debbie’s nephew Will, who makes silly faces when his picture is being taken. See how many famous places Willy visits and learn “why” he does what he does in pictures!


Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June  26th & 27th, 2010
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

listen NOW | listen on WXOJ | archived shows/podcasts request a song | subscribe to free podcast | contests & giveaways | myspace | facebook | twitter


PLAYLIST BY AMBER BOBNAR

  • “Two Mommies” by Alastair Moock [A Cow Says Moock]

Alastair released his first children’s album, A Cow Says Moock, last year and it’s amazing. He has a sort of folk/blues sound and covers some cool old songs, like “Fishin’ Blues” and “Spaghetti in My Shoe.” He does a lot of shows at Club Passim in Harvard Square and always sells out.

  • “A Frog Named Sam” by Ben Rudnick & Friends [A Frog Named Sam]

BR&F released their newest CD, A Frog Named Sam, in 2009. This is their fifth CD and even though we love all of them, I would say this newest one is probably our favorite. BR&F have an American roots/bluegrass style that is just so family friendly and I love that they always include a nice instrumental or two on each album. They perform all over Mass and are Arlington favorites.

  • “So, So Happy” by Debbie & Friends [More Story Songs & Sing Alongs]

This song is off of D&F’s newest CD, More Story Songs & Sing Alongs, released earlier this year. D&F’s have a wonderful way of taking familiar stories and nursery rhymes and turning them into something new and exciting. Ivan has always loved their “Three Little Pigs” song, but I think “So, So Happy” is his new favorite. D&F also have a really cool animator who has been creating fun videos for their songs (you can see them here: http://debbieandfriends.net/fun.php). D&F play all over Mass. Their shows are very interactive and perfect for young kids who have never been to a full band show before.

  • “Shake!” by the Flannery Brothers [Wake Up Songs]

The Flannery Brothers are from Maine and they are making quite a splash in the children’s music scene. Their newest album, Wake Up Songs, just came out this year and it is a short, six-song CD intended to help get your kids out of bed in the morning. We really do listen to this CD every morning! Their shows are super energetic and that energy is contagious. They’ve been playing more and more shows in Mass and they’re getting to be very popular. They’re working on a new CD set to release later this year.

  • “Panther Stamps Pants” by Gustafer Yellowgold [Mellow Fever]

Gustafer Yellowgold is the creation of Morgan Taylor, a multi-talented artist who writes, sings, and animates all at once! Each Gustafer song is accompanied by an animated video and the live performances are really spectacular as the band plays in front of a large screen displaying the characters. The songs follow Gustafer and his friends on their adventures that vary from the absurd to the inspirational. Morgan’s music is mellow and light and accessible to both kids and adults. He and his band are from New York but they have been coming up for regular shows at Club Passim in Harvard Square. Their newest album, Mellow Fever, is a must hear and there’s rumor that we can expect a new Gustafer album by early 2011.

  • “Owl Hootenany” by Vanessa Trien [Carnival Day]

Vanessa Trien is as sweet in person as she is on her albums. She’s the real deal! Vanessa is talented and full of energy, which is really saying something when you consider she’s also a mom to two young children. Her newest CD, Carnival Day, just came out last year and it is a must have. Owl Hootenany is probably my favorite song on the CD. Vanessa performs all around Mass, but mostly in the Boston metro area. She plays both big theaters and little charity events. Don’t miss out on one of her shows!

  • “Finger Puppets” by Little Groove [Building Blocks]

Little Groove, headed by lead singer Sara Wheeler, is another regular around town. Little Groove has put on big shows at TCAN in Natick and the Coolidge in Brookline as well as lots of smaller library shows. Sara’s style is almost celtic and very melodic. The music is mostly acoustic and kids just love her ladybug costume! Their CD, Building Blocks, was released in 2008. We love to listen to it in the afternoons when Ivan needs to calm down after a long day at school.

  • “Friends are on their Way” by Joe’s Backyard Band [Kick Up a Breeze]

JBB is from Rhode Island and their music is just beautiful. They play in a kind of folk rock style with lots of instrumentation, from harmonica to saxophone and everything in between. They’re really quite a sight when seen live. Most of their songs are about enjoying life and friends and that’s an important message for anyone! Their album, Kick Up a Breeze, came out last year.

  • “Yucky” by Judy Pancoast [Weird Things are Everywhere]

Judy, a musician from New Hampshire, has a way of making everything silly. Her shows are so much fun for kids as she gets them to pretend they are swimming through jello or meeting aliens. Her newest CD, Weird Things are Everywhere, came out last year and is a story told in both spoken word and song about a trip across the USA. As she travels across the country Judy talks about the books that have been written about each state. Judy is a big supporter of literacy programs and you can often find her performing at local libraries in Mass.

  • “I Came Out Backwards” by Leeny And Tamara [Sharing The Same Stars]

L&T are just fun. Most of their songs attempt to teach kids something valuable, but in an entertaining way, which is no easy feat! But L&T really do pull it off. Their shows are fun and super interactive – they encourage kids to come on stage and help them sing in the microphone. Their CD, Sharing The Same Stars, came out last year and has already won a Parent’s Choice Award. They’re from Gloucester and perform all over Mass.

  • “Pájaro Carpintero (Woodpecker)” by Mariana Iranzi [Aventura Collage]

Mariana is originally from Argentina and sings all her songs in Spanish. She has a delightfully rich voice and many of her songs remind me of the bosanova style. Her songs are playful and skillfully arranged. It’s hard to believe that Aventura Collage is her first CD! She’s both a music teacher and performer in the greater Boston area and she performs regularly at the Children’s Museum.

  • “Elephant Hide and Seek” by SteveSongs [Marvelous Day]

SteveSongs is such a staple of children’s music in New England and he’s become a big star now that he’s on PBS as Mr Steve! Marvelous Day is his fifth CD and the Elephant Song is just such a classic! Steve is one of those vocalists who is simply astounding and I love the silliness he injects in every song. Plus his back up singers, the Sensational Sillies, are phenomenal! And they’re little girls! Steve’s been doing fewer live shows lately and he also tours the country quite a bit, but you can still catch him back on his home turf now and then. But his shows almost always sell out so get your tickets fast when he’s here!

HFVS Music Giveaway: Jungle Gym by Justin Roberts

New Music Giveaway
Jungle Gym by Justin Roberts

We have two copies of Justin Roberts new CD to giveaway to the parents of two very lucky kids! Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, June 30th.

Justin Roberts has released a new family CD, Jungle Gym, and we have two copies to giveaway to two lucky families!   Deadline to enter to win is Wednesday, June 30th 2010. Details below.

ABOUT JUSTIN ROBERTS  NEW CD

Jungle Gym, the seventh family music release from Justin Roberts, is a collection of 12 new original songs taking listeners on a journey through the iconic moments of childhood.  His colorful lyrics paint portraits of experiences that are formative to every child. Roberts has a distinct way of capturing the essence of the most memorable times in childhood with his inspiring lyrics, catchy hooks and lush rhythms. The album title comes from a line in the song “Sign My Cast,” in which an injured kid is left behind as his friends get to go play outside. A brother’s out-of-control fascination with large moving vehicles spurs the rousing song “Obsessed by Trucks.” And when a kid is “stuck here with this man with sharp objects in his hand,” it can only mean that it’s a “New Haircut.”

HOW TO WIN:

Your chance to win a free copy of Justin Roberts new CD, Jungle Gym, is as easy as 1-2-3 (4)! To win simply

  1. POST A COMMENT BELOW and be sure to tell us your
  2. FULL NAME and where you
  3. LIVE (TOWN/STATE) Must include your town and state to be eligible. We’ll randomly draw a winner from those who leave a comment (along with their full name and town/state) and contact the winner via email.  So be sure to leave an
  4. ACCURATE EMAIL in the email field of the comment box (we never share your email address).

IT’S THAT SIMPLE! — Deadline is Wednesday, June 30th 2010 @ 7pm (EST).

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