Frozen February Fun
By Bill Childs, HF Contributing Writer
Brrrr. It’s pretty darn cold where I am when I’m writing this, and it’ll probably be pretty darn cold where you are when you read it. There’s nothing better than dancing to warm you up, so today, some almost all brand spanking new music for you and your family to boogie to.
They Might Be Giants – Here Come the 123s
On their third CD for kids, TMBG continues what made their first two essential listening: a combination of hook-filled music with lyrics that will get parents and kids cracking up. “High Five” celebrates the joy of palm-slapping, while “One Everything” gets metaphysical about everything’s uniqueness in a tasty pop morsel. While it’s number-themed, Here Come the 123s is not really intended as an educational CD, and that’s good – instead, it’s pure entertainment. The accompanying DVD adds energetic and hilarious animation to the tracks. www.tmbg.com
Medeski, Martin & Wood – Let’s Go Everywhere:
MMW has a devoted fan base from years of touring, and they’re going to add the younger set to it with this engaging and delightful mash-up of kids’ music with their trademark jazz and funk. With a mix of originals and covers (and the Johnny Cash reworking in the title track somewhere in the middle), the band has balanced the complexity of skilled jazz players with the simplicity necessary to grab kids’ attention. Recorded in just four days, the travel-themed record has a sense of improvisation and immediacy you don’t often find in music for kids. www.mmw.net
Putumayo (Various Artists) – Hawaiian Playground:
With ten tracks from and about Hawaii, Hawaiian Playground provides a sunny treat in the dead of winter. From The Moonlighters’ harmonies and ukelele on “Right On” to Joe McDermott pining for the islands on “Come to Hawaii” to native Hawaiians Ehukai and Imua, the CD gives a real sense for the multitude of musical styles in Hawaii while also being a cohesive – and fun! – whole. www.putumayo.com
The Jellydots – Changing Skies:
The Jellydots’ Hey You Kids was one of the best family CDs of 2006, and Changing Skies, while a bit of a departure, is well worth checking out too. Singer and songwriter Doug Snyder has definitely skewed a bit older – some of the songs (especially “Art School Girl” and “Remember Me”) are aimed much more at the tweener or teenage sets – but the real genius of the record is that it’s got something for every member of the family, without making any of them feel pandered to. www.thejellydots.com
Brady Rymer – Here Comes Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could:
Brady Rymer (formerly of the grown-up band From Good Homes) has put together his best-yet record of friendly and loose, but never sloppy, kid roots rock. Featuring a number of performers from Bruce Springsteen’s Seeger Sessions along with Rymer’s long-standing band, it’s the perfect soundtrack to a sunny weekend, or a cold and cloudy weekend when you wish it was sunny. www.bradyrymer.com
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Bill teaches law school by day in Springfield, MA. With his kids, he produces a radio show for kids, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child, on Valley Free Radio (103.3FM in Northampton) on Saturday mornings from 8am to 10am and online at www.sparetherock.com. He’s also a columnist for regional parenting magazines, covers music for Parenting magazine, and is a bi-monthly contributing writer to Hilltown Families. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.