Category: Kids’ Music That’s Actually Good

Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell make beautiful music together

I’ve always loved Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell for making such special music that families can enjoy together. And now they’ve joined musical forces to produce a collection of songs that is joyful, upbeat, and so very lovely. You won’t want to miss this one. [Keep reading for your chance to win your very own autographed copy for your kids, from Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell. Whoo!] In their first collaborative CD Turn Turn Turn, Dan Zanes and Elizabeth Mitchell have put together a collection of original and deserve-to-be-heard-again folk songs. It’s sure to be a new classic, a...

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Frances England’s Blink of an Eye: One of the best kids albums of the year

Summer brings out serious nostalgia in me–maybe because it doesn’t seem so long ago that I was the one learning how to dive off the dock into the pond. And as I watch another summer unfolding before my eyes, I’ve also had the pleasure of hearing a brand-new release from beloved kindie-folk artist Frances England, which gorgeously captures these little moments in time. It’s just spectacular listening. And I think you’re going to love it too. [We’re giving away a copy of this new CD! Details after the jump.] With her pretty, lilting voice which reminds me a bit...

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It’s finally time for Recess with Justin Roberts

We have waited three long years to hear Justin Roberts’ newest kindie-pop album. Oh, sure, he gave us an awesome Lullaby CD last year, but we’ve been eagerly awaiting another rollicking CD full of his imaginative lyrics and stick-in-your-head choruses. Today? The wait is over, everybody. {Keep reading for how TWO readers can win a copy of this new release! And you can hear THREE songs from this release for free!} On Recess, Justin Roberts has once again crafted a collection of songs that seems fresh out of the mind of a child. Or a dog, as in the...

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You’ll be pleased to meet Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke’s new CD

These hot and humid days of summer have my posse looking pretty sad and sluggish. It’s time to kick things up a notch around here, and we’ve got the perfect CD from fab fellows Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke. So get your groove on and break a sweat to their seriously fun sound.    {Keep reading after the jump for a chance to win a copy!} As they’ve done on both Rise and Shine and Hey Pepito!, Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke have compiled a totally entertaining group of songs on Pleased to Meet You, a must-have addition to...

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Songs for the World’s Bravest Kids: Thanks, Alastair Moock.

Though there are already many wonderful charities and benefits to help support kids with cancer, we are so touched by one effort by dad and musician Alastair Moock who is using his musical talents to speak directly to these special kids, one of whom includes his own young daughter. [After the jump: Learn how you can win a copy of this CD for your own family, or to donate to your local children’s hospital] Alastair’s own daughter’s leukemia diganosis influenced the creation of a most-excellent collection of songs for the family: Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World’s...

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Shine and the Moonbeams’ debut CD: The one our kids have been waiting for for 2 years. Really.

Ever since Shine and the Moonbeams turned an entire room of kindie-music industry folks into speechless putty at Kindiefest 2011, I’ve been anxiously waiting the release of their first full-length CD. When you consider that lead singer Shawana Kemp’s voice is featured on three of my top five kindie songs of 2012, well, that should give you an idea how ridiculously happy I am that the wait is over. And if Shine and the Moonbeams is new to you, keep reading to find out what makes their sound so special. [Win a free copy of this amazing CD: details after the...

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Classically cool American tunes for your Fourth of July celebration

Whether you’re planning a July 4th BBQ or just want to share some classic American music with your family, I’m pleased to introduce a brand new Putumayo Kids Presents CD that will get your toes tapping as you get into the spirit of red, white, and blue. {Keep reading for your chance to win a copy of this new CD!} Beginning with Johnny Bregar’s harmonica-accompanying She’ll Be Coming ‘Round the Mountain and ending with a spirited This Land is Your Land by folk-and-bluegrass musician Phil Rosenthal, Putumayo Kids Presents American Playground breathes new life into tried-and-true tunes, many of which...

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4 “fantastico” children’s CDs in Spanish

Whether you’re fluent in Spanish or can’t even count past ten (er, diez), hearing songs sung en español is such a great way for kids to become more familiar with the language while they are playing, dancing, or nodding off at naptime. And I’ve found four great CDs sung in Spanish that will make a great addition to your kids’ music collection. So, iÁndale!  –Christina [Keep reading for your chance to win all four of these CD’s] From CMP favorites Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band, Fantastico is one collection of songs that will have you sweaty dancing to...

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Take the plunge with Recess Monkey’s Deep Sea Diver CD

On their last two CDs, The Final Funktier and In Tents, Seattle’s Recess Monkey cleverly pulled together songs that either overtly or subtly referred to life in outer space — or under the big top. And now, in their ninth release, and just in time for the hot days of summer, they’ve released an ocean-themed CD packed with 15 tunes. Jump right in, the water’s fine. {Keep reading to find out how you can win a copy of this new CD!} Deep Sea Diver covers sand and sea with catchy rockin’ pop songs, from Beach Ball to Making Waves. But,...

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Lisa Loeb’s kids’ music gets you ready to move and shake. (Yes, you too.)

I’ve been a fan of Lisa Loeb’s voice ever since her days singing 90s hit Stay, but I really fell in love with her when she crooned the lovely, mellow Catch the Moon album for babes with Elizabeth Mitchell. Now Lisa’s back with a bunch of kids’ songs that aren’t made for napping, but for getting up and moving. And shaking. And yes, dancing. Get those smartphone video cams ready. Lisa Loeb’s Songs for Movin’ & Shakin’ includes ten tunes for doing just that. Half of the songs are originals like Turn it Down (The Air Band Song) that’ll...

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If you like the Okee Dokee Brothers, meet their friend Paul Spring

If you’ve read Cool Mom Picks for any length of time, you probably know how much we adore the music of the Okee Dokee Brothers. So, when our favorite Grammy-winning kids’ music duo asked me to check out the new release from their friend, Paul Spring, I decided to give it a spin. And it’s been in our family’s music rotation ever since. Hailing from Minneapolis, singer-songwriter Paul Spring’s first family-music release, Home of Song, is so easy on the ears, this is definitely not one just for the kids. With catchy vocals, plenty of peppy banjo, and cheerful...

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Let’s Skateboard! with the completely rad The Not-Its and a free MP3

If you’ve got little skaters like me, then you know that that skateboarding is no longer a fringe sport. It’s everywhere in pop culture. And skateboarding plus music equals sheer awesome, which is exactly how we feel about CMP-fave kindie rock band The Not-Its premiering their new skateboarding music video right here on Cool Mom Picks today. (Just for you!) {Don’t miss the exclusive premiere of The Not Its’ new music video PLUS a free download of their new skater tune and awesome giveaway just for Cool Mom Picks readers}   If you’re not familiar with The Not-Its, they’re...

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Shake things up with great new music from The Not-Its!

If there’s a month when I need to shake things up around here, it is February. Summer seems so far away, the fun of the holidays is over, and we’ve got a serious case of the blahs. As if arriving on cue, the crazy cats who make incredibly authentic indie music for families have just released their fourth CD…and it’s my favorite one yet. [Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of this great new CD!] What I have loved about Seattle’s The Not-Its! from the first time I heard their debut CD, We are the Not-Its!,...

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Congratulations to Grammy winners, The Okee Dokee Brothers!

We are so thrilled to learn that last night’s Grammy for best children’s album went to a longtime favorite of ours, the Okee Dokee Brothers’  Can You Canoe? In fact, our own kids’ music expert, Christina Refford, called it the best kids CD of 2012, so we’re glad to see the (clearly brilliant) Grammy judges agreed. I still remember when Christina first shared the Minneapolis duo’s 2008 release, Kids With Beards, and told me, “these guys are great! Really different…but I think they could be really big.” She included them in her favorite kids’ albums of 2008, and again in 2010. And now…the big time! Can you tell we’re just thrilled for them? (Plus, they’re so nice!) Justin Lancing and Joe Mailander with Christina and Liz’s kids at Kindiefest, 2010 As our regular readers know, our heart has always been with the small artist, the little guy, the moms and pops on their way up the ladder. And the same goes for our ongoing coverage of amazing Kindie Rock musicians who make listening fun for everyone in the family, even if they’re not all household names. Yet. Be sure to check out our review of Can You Canoe?, download, and see for yourself why this bluegrass and American roots band is just so captivating. You don’t even have to be a...

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A musical playdate you indie-music parents won’t want to skip

Still have your kids’ attention? Lucky you! That means there’s still time to fill their ears with music that will make your own indie-music-loving soul happy–before the siren song of Call Me Maybe has imprinted on their poor susceptible souls for life. So you’ll want to check out a new CD that is full of indie cred from the new label by Skankin’ Pickle’s Mike Park, but with lyrics for those who can’t stay up past 8pm.  Fronted by Greg Attonito, singer in punk band Bouncing Souls, Play Date has him joining up with his wife Shanti Wintergate in their first release, Imagination.  And while...

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Vered makes music for babies that you can love too. In other words, not too babyish.

I have no doubt of the power of music to soothe the savage beast–or the overtired 6 month old child. If you too are looking for something lovely, lyrical, and fun-to-hear to play for your little one, here’s a wonderful CD by a kindie artist and music therapist who writes songs that are designed to help you bond with your baby. Especially useful on those days when they’ve had you up since before dawn. Singer, songwriter, and mama, Vered Benhorin, has created Good Morning My Love, a CD of 18 gentle songs specifically for those first two years of...

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The best Schoolhouse Rock videos on YouTube – Happy Birthday Schoolhouse Rock!

Schoolhouse Rock for me, is more than just a part of my childhood, it’s a part of my family. As a kid, my dad worked at the ad agency with creator David McCall, and the other writers and art directors who brought us this genius educational series. In fact, one of my favorite memories as a kid was sitting in the agency screening room with my brother, watching them on the reel-to-reel (yes, I’m dating myself!) without waiting for Saturday morning TV. I love so much that now my own kids are fans of the series, and in fact...

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The Board of Education makes smart music the kids want to hear in Binary

They Might Be Giants makes it sound so easy to put together educational music that is fun and doesn’t sound like a lesson plan, but–take it from this homeschooling mama–it isn’t so easy to do. In fact, I’ve found that there isn’t a lot out there that the kids want to hear in the realm of educational tunes. But thanks to this band from Seattle that has the touch, we’ve found a CD full of smart songs the kids choose to listen to at any time of the day. {Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of...

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Elizabeth Mitchell’s latest kindie CD takes on Bowie, Hendrix and your kid’s playlist

Smithsonian Folkways artist Elizabeth Mitchell has one of those crystal clear, beautiful voices that can take any song and turn it into the musical equivalent of spun gold. And while she has already released the much-loved, Grammy-nominated collection of Woody Guthrie covers earlier this year, she has more songs to give us. In fact, her latest release mixes traditional American folk with original tunes and covers from everyone from David Bowie to Van Morrison to Jimi Hendrix. Yes, really. Besides her gorgeous voice, what unifies all of her songs on Blue Clouds are the lyrics that reflect qualities I...

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Little Golden Records brings back a tune of nostalgia

The world of children’s music has come a long way, baby. I definitely grew up in simpler times, lying on my bedroom floor listening to record-album recordings of my favorite stories. While it’s incredible to have such diverse offerings for our kids today, there is something about that timeless, pure, old-school style of storytelling that I still have a soft spot for deep down. Naturally I was thrilled when I discovered the new re-imagined Golden Records collection. Golden Records has revived the series which began way back in 1948 by music producer Arthur Shimkin, and is bringing it back to life with...

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Spruce up your holiday CD collection with the new releases from some of kindie’s favorites

As much as I love the holidays, hearing Christmas music in stores and on the car radio since Halloween has squashed my desire for another spin of Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. Luckily, like a surprise from Santa’s elves, three of kindie’s biggest and best names have released collections of holiday tunes that have rekindled my Christmas spirit. –Christina With a peppy, kid-pop sound, A Laurie Berkner Christmas is full of Christmas cheer, jingly bells, and songs of which you’ll know at least the first verse. Play this during your kids’ school party, while decorating the tree,...

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A wonderful new lullaby CD for moms tired of Brahms…or just plain tired

Stocking-stuffer alert for the sleep-deprived: I’m used to listening to Justin Roberts‘ songs with the kids in the car, with the volume turned up more than halfway. In my opinion, he is one of the best at sing-along choruses, clever wordplay, and high-energy kid-pop. Turns out he’s also pretty darned good at taking the tempo down–way down–and putting us all to sleep.  {Keep reading for a way to win a copy of this CD!} In his 10-song CD Lullaby, Justin Roberts soothes kiddos (and weary parents) to sleep with some peaceful sheep-counting imagery, gentle love songs, and short storytelling. And while...

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This just in: The top kids’ CD’s of 2012 as announced by Fids and Kamily

Just in time for holiday shopping, Fids and Kamily has released their Top 15 Kids CD’s of 2012 this morning. Which means that you now have a bunch of great gift ideas for every kid on your list that you won’t mind listening to either. You’re welcome. This list isn’t created by any one person, but by combining the votes from journalists, bloggers, publicists, radio show hosts. . .and yours truly. So it truly is the top collective picks of a whole big group of us who listen to an awful lot of kids’ music. Who won? Well, the...

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A coloring book as lovely as the little girl behind it

If you don’t know Elizabeth Mitchell’s music, you’re missing something special. She invokes a vibe of simple joy that’s been part of our daily soundtrack as a family for the past few years.  Daniel, Elizabeth’s husband, and Storey, her beautiful daughter, make up her band, the sweetly named You Are My Flower. Over the past few years, Storey’s creative role has evolved…and coloring-happy kids (and parents) will adore the results. Storey partnered up with her very talented grandmother Bonnie Brooke Mitchell on a delightful collaboration featuring Storey’s words and Bonnie’s drawings. Page by page, Storey’s Sunny Day Coloring Book is a wonderful reminder to...

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Wishing for a great kids’ CD? Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well

My singing voice is best kept in the shower. But that didn’t stop me from singing to my kids when they were younger, though I’d usually do it along with the lovelier voices of Laurie Berkner, Frances England, and Charlie Hope. (I think my kids appreciated this.) Here’s another wonderful voice I can’t help but sing along with. I think you will too. Canada’s Jennifer Gasoi recently released her second kids’ CD, Throw a Penny in the Wishing Well, and it is packed with 18 oh-so-pretty original tunes. And though the lyrics speak directly to kids who might wonder...

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We’re grooving on Ozomatli’s rockin’ new album for kids

Eighteen years of rocking out plus a Grammy win thrown in for good measure, makes Ozomatli a band for the ages. Yet as big as they’ve become, the band still rocks a happy home-grown vibe. And their latest venture is a kids’ album every bit as awesome as fans like me might expect. The sound of Ozomatli is infectiously fun, especially in the new album, OzoKidz. It’s a great way to introduce kids to songs that don’t fit into a conventional genre. The Skateboard song, one of my favorite tracks, feels like a punk rock anthem in the style of...

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Rabbit Days and Dumplings serves up deliciously different family music

Thanks to an Austrian grandmother and a healthy selection of Putumayo Kids music, my kids have been exposed to a fairly diverse tapestry of children’s music…although I will admit that our knowledge of any music from East Asia is almost nonexistent. But now that versatile musician Elena Moon Park from Dan Zanes and Friends has released a collection of songs from her homeland, that’s all about to change. {Keep reading for a chance to win a copy of this CD!} Rabbit Days and Dumplings is especially exciting if you’re like me and have a preconceived notion in your head of what an...

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Volcom, Yo Gabba Gabba and Jack Black = skate culture awesomesauce

Volcom is my kids’ absolute obsession around these parts. They’re hardcore skateboarders, and Volcom represents everything that is awesome about skater culture. One of my sons insists on only wearing shirts emblazoned with their logo. He has two, and if they’re dirty? No worries. He will gladly dig them out of the laundry basket. Talk about brand loyalty at six years old!  And now Volcom’s newest collaboration is the raddest thing since sliced bread, because they have figured out a way to raise the roof on cool. Intrigued? Oh, you should be. Volcom and Yo Gabba Gabba have joined...

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Raise a Ruckus with Hullabaloo’s latest CD for kids

Steve Denyes of Hullabaloo has the kind of cool Johnny Cash-esque voice that would be right at home in a honky-tonk country bar. Fortunately for our kids, he and his childhood friend Brendan Kremer have decided to make great kids’ music instead of crooning to boring old grownups. And their latest release is a real barn-burner. The dozen songs on Raise a Ruckus mix swing-your-partner country with story-telling folk and good ol’ rock-and-roll for a toe-tapping, upbeat sound. The fiddle-and-banjo-filled title song alone begs for dancing (and could exhaust even the most energetic five-year-old).  I love that Hullabaloo has such a...

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One apple worth picking this fall

When I was pregnant with my first child, my neighbor gave me a cassette tape full of traditional kids’ songs, and I thought, This is what I’ll have to listen to when I have a baby? Interesting. And then I sobbed. Maybe a little. This could be one reason why I get so excited when I hear bands like The Harmonica Pocket, who create the kind of unique music I want my children to surround themselves with as they get started in this world. And their new CD is one you’ll want to pick. {keep reading for your chance to win a copy!}...

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