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TOP 10 OF 2010 EPISODE
Saturday from 9-10am
January 8th, 2011
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
2010 saw many great CD releases of music for families, including several local Western MA bands (Primate Fiasco, Mister G and Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem). Narrowing down our selection to just 10 is one of the Top 10 Most Difficult Tasks of 2011 we’ve accomplished so far this year. So we couldn’t just stop at 10 … we added one more at the end, mostly because we lost count, but also because we wanted to include a family album for the evening hours. For the first couple of years HFVS was on the air, we aired on Tuesday nights, and there remains a soft spot in our hearts for albums appropriate for the evening hours. We couldn’t resist adding one more to the list!
So here it is, our Top 10 of 2010, plus 1 to grow on, listed in alphabetical order.
Caspar Babypants, More Please!
Chris Ballew is the lead singer and Grammy-nominated songwriter for the four-times platinum rock and roll band The Presidents of the United States of America. As Caspar Babypants, however, Ballew’s focus is on music for kids and families. Chris explains, “I’m very serious about making something to help the world relax and help parents take time to sing with their kids and enjoy music together. I work with a number of non-profit groups that focus on early childhood education and parent education and provide assistance to homeless and low-income families. If I can make songs that lighten the load for someone under stress or get a family singing, then I am doing what I was put here to do!” www.babypantsmusic.com
- Chris guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Saturday, Nov. 27th, 2010. Listen to the podcast HERE.
Compilation, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti
With a national release this past summer, Many Hands: Family Music for Haiti is the first release from the new local record label, Spare the Rock Records. This unique collection of songs is filled with uplifting messages from some of today’s very best family musicians, including: Emily Curtis, Rani Arbo and daisy mayhem, Bonga and the Vodou Drums of Haiti, Dan Zanes, Recess Monkey, Dog on Fleas, Elizabeth Mitchell, Caspar Babypants, Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Jonathan Coulton, They Might Be Giants, Lunch Money, Gustafer Yellowgold, Pete Seeger, Dean Jones , Grenadilla, Baby Gramps, Randy Kaplan, The Deedle Deedle Dees, Uncle Rock, Frances England and Jerrice Baptiste. www.manyhandscd.com
- Read more about this terrific CD here: Locally Produced Family CD to Benefit Haiti.
Compilation, Sing Me To Sleep: Indie Lullabies
A compilation album of 14 songs with both traditional and modern-day lullabies by a stellar cast of indie-rock musicians, including: Stars, Jenny Owen Youngs, The Real Tuesday Weld, The Leisure Society, The Rest, Casey Mecija, Dala, Telekinesis, Dean & Britta, O+S, Tanya Donelly, Neil Halstead, Snowbird and Trespassers William. Sing Me To Sleep hits the ball out of the park with a fabulous collection of great family music for the evening hours. The beneficiary of this album: The Valerie Fund, an organization that provides comprehensive support for the health care of children with cancer and blood disorders. www.alr-music.com
The Dream Jam Band, Leave it in the Soup
The Dream Jam Band is no stranger to charting in the top 10. Their 2008 release of their debut self-titled album made NPR’s Top Ten Children’s and Family Albums List. Their 2010 release of Leave it in the Soup is another smashing success. The music is fun and smart, and their stage performances are a fun retro style as seen in their video, “Have a Party When you Get the Blues“. www.dreamjamband.com
- The Dream Jam Band guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Nov. 13th, 2010. Listen to the podcast HERE.
Elizabeth Mitchell, Sunny Day
Hilltown Families contributing writer Amber Bobnar reviewed Sunny Day in her column, Must-Hear Music Monday. She writes: “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.” – Need we say more? A timeless family album sure to be a classic! www.youaremyflower.org
Flannery Brothers, The New Explorers Club
Winners of several prestigious awards, the Flannery Brothers are known for their engaging and easy going style. Hilltown Families columnist Amber Bobnar writes: “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.” www.flannerybrothers.com
Frances England, Mind of My Own
Frances England newest album, Mind of My Own, is a mix of independence and collaborations. Mates of State and Doug Snyder of the Jellydots join Frances, helping to create a solid album the family will love! In her column, Must-Hear Music Monday, Amber Bobnar writes: “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.” www.francesengland.com
We first saw the Grenadilla troupe perform on the family stage at the Clearwater Music Festival this summer, and we were hooked! South African born Debbie Lan brought her influence of Kwela music to the Hudson Valley and started Grenadilla, named after the South African passion fruit. Several vocalists joined her and this fabulous new group was born. Their debut self-titled CD is upbeat and happy, filled with beautiful harmonies and accented with percussion and the penny whistle. www.grenadillasings.com
Keller Williams, Kids
Kids is Keller Williams sixteenth album, but his first album for families. All I have to say is, what took him so long! Kids is a GREAT album. It’s filled with spontaneity and a humorous look into the world of growing up. Hilltown Families columnist Amber Bobnar writes: “The humor on this album is just the sweetest. Songs about “Taking a Bath” to get the stink off your feet, or about “Good Advice“ (never pick your toes and then pick your nose because then your nose smells like your toes and that’s not good—that’s bad), or how “Mama Tooted.” Well, you get the point.” www.kellerwilliams.net
- Keller will be guest DJing the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Saturday, Jan. 22nd, 2011.
The Okee Dokee Brothers, Take it Outside
If you’re a fan of bluegrass, you’re going to love Take it Outside, featuring 13 original songs for families. From sun-up to sun-down this album travels through the day with fun and educational songs. Families will learn what Antidisestablishmentarianism means and what an Auctioneer does, and enjoy fun songs that motive families to get up and outside. Sing-along songs and an upbeat bluegrass style make this album a winner! www.okeedokee.org
The Verve Pipe, A Family Album
Your family is going to love the fun pop songs on this album. A great CD to have in the family car for enjoyable listening by all members of the family. The foodie in me loves the playfulness of “Suppertime!” and the mom in me gets choked up to “Only One of You.” And we can’t get enough of “Complimentary Love” and “When One Became Two” A Family Album is original collection of songs intended for the entire family, with fun and inventive lyrics set to the memorable melodies the band is known for. www.thevervepipe.com
- The Verve Pipe guest DJed the Hilltown Family Variety Show on July 31st, 2010. Listen to the podcast HERE.