HFVS: Friends Episode with Guest DJ, Steve Denyes of Hullabaloo

Hilltown Family Variety Show

Listen to Podcast:

This week’s show is all about friends. Good friends, unlikely friends, real friends that stick with you through the good times and bad. Steve from Hullabaloo hand picks his favorites and shares a story about how he met his best friend.

Saturday from 9-10am & Sunday from 7-8am
June 7th & 8th, 2014
WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

Featured Video: “Out Standing” by Hullabaloo (from the album Raise a Ruckus)

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Guest DJ Playlist

  • Dan Zanes – Fine Friends Are Here – Catch That Train
  • Frances England – Place in Your Heart – Mind of My Own
  • Caspar Babypants – I Don’t Mind – Hot Dog!
  • Melissa Green – The Playdate – Sing Loud! 
  • Okee Dokee Brothers – Lucy & Tighty – Take it Outside
  • Elska – Don’t Make Fun of the Goobler – Middle of Nowhere
  • Hilltown Story Intro
  • Hullabaloo – Shy Kid Blues – Shy Kid Blues
  • Hullabaloo – 365 Days on Earth – Shy Kid Blues
  • Hullabaloo – Best Friends Forever – Shy Kid Blues
  • Dan Zanes – Side By Side – Night Time!
  • Randy Kaplan – Joe & Finn – The Kids Are All Id
  • Frances England – Cookies & Milk – Mind of My Own 
  • Jack Johnson – We’re Going to Be Friends – Sing-Alongs and Lullabies for
  • the Film Curious George
  • The Rembrandts – I’ll Be There For You – The Rembrandts: Greatest Hits
  • Bruno Mars – Count on Me – Doo-Wops & Hooligans
  • Randy Newman –  You’ve Got a Friend in Me – Toy Story
  • James Taylor – You’ve Got a Friend – James Taylor Greatest Hits: Vol. 1
  • Dan Zanes – Surrounded in Friendship – House Party
  • Dan Zanes – House Party Time – House Party

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.


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.

Elska Comes to Western MA! Win Tickets!

Win a package of tickets and museum passes for a family of four…

Elska Performs in Amherst
The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art
Sunday, October 21st @ 1pm

Hilltown Families was delighted by Elska’s performance at Kindiefest in Brooklyn, NY this year. We’re excited to announce her debut performance in Western MA on Sunday, Oct 21st in Amherst! Elska’s live performance is both sophisticated and whimsical, a winning combination for families!  Deadline to enter to win a family package of tickets and museum passes is 10/17 by 11:59pm.

Called “the next big thing in toddler entertainment” by Red Tricycle New York, Elska brings her live show to a very special performance at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst on Sunday, October 21st at 1pm… and Hilltown Families has two family 4-pack of tickets and two family passes to the museum to giveaway!

Elska’s performance at the museum is part of her tour to support her critically-acclaimed new album Middle of Nowhere which has just received Parents’ Choice Foundation and NAPPA Awards! Details on how to enter to win are below.  Deadline to enter: 10/17 by 11:59pm (EST).


Who is Elska and why is she blowing the minds of concert-goers and promoters alike? Elska is the imaginary character performed by Brooklyn-based singer/actress Shelley Wollert. The character of Elska is a modern pioneer who discovers a newly formed volcanic island off the coast of Iceland where she lives a life of beauty and wonder amongst a cast of unusual friends, including a pensive Winter Bear, a very friendly Goobler, a mysterious Arctic Fox and a vast colony of Lost Socks.

In the live show, Elska has traveled from her amazing island all the way to the museum to tell her story. A blend of theatre, storytelling and musical performance, Elska whisks away children and families on a musical tour of her Arctic home and introduces them to the island’s wonderful inhabitants.

To create Elska and her fictional world, Wollert worked closely with New York City-based record producer Allen Farmelo (The Cinematic Orchestra, Mikael Jorgensson/Wilco). Combining the whimsy of Winnie the Pooh and the otherworldliness of Dr. Seuss, Farmelo and Wollert very intentionally set out to create a new classic in children’s music and entertainment. – www.islandofelska.com


We’re giving away two packages (valued at $50 each) of tickets and museum passes! Your chance win a family 4-pack of tickets and family pass to the museum to see Elska at the Eric Carle Museum on Sunday, October 21st at 1pm in Amherst, MA is easy & simple! To enter to win simply:

  • CONSIDER SHARING ON FACEBOOK by selecting the Facebook icon below
  • TELL US HOW HILLTOWN FAMILIES KEEPS YOU CONNECTED WITH YOUR COMMUNITY   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 Wednesday, Oct. 17th, 2012 at 11:59pm (EST).

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Arts is located at 125 West Bay Road in Amherst, MA. Admission to the museum is $9/Adults, $6/Youth, $22.50/Family. Tickets to Elska are $7 and may be purchased in advance at the Museum Admissions Desk or by calling 413-658-1126. Find out more about the museum at www.carlemuseum.org.

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