Monday Morning Smile: "I Believe in Little Things" - Diana Panton

I Believe in Little Things cover

I Believe in Little Things cover

What was it I said last week?  "More joy."  Well, Joe Raposo makes just about everything more joyful.

Canadian jazz musician Diana Panton turned to Raposo for the title track to her kid-friendly album I Believe in Little Things.  The album was originally released in September 2015, but is going to get a bigger push here south of the Canadian border in 2016, and with tracks like the title track, I think it'll be well-received in the kindie world.

The video for "I Believe in Little Things" is charming and whimsical, and Panton's warm and clear voice elegantly lays out Raposo's masterful lyrics, with Jacqui Lee's illustration a perfect fit.  Definitely an album to look forward to (or hear now, if you don't want to wait).

Diana Panton - "I Believe in Little Things" [YouTube]

Video: "Sheep Don't Wear Shoes" - Marsha Goodman-Wood (World Premiere!)

Though I've been listening to kids music for about 15 years now, I can still be surprised by what tickles my fancy.  What was it then about this video for "Sheep Don't Wear Shoes," a simple little ditty from Marsha Goodman-Wood, off her album Gravity Vacation?  The gentle (though not over-the-top) message of independence?  The big-eyed sheep illustrated by Danielle Dekoker and assembled into video form by fellow kids musician Patricia Shih?  The fact that it stars sheep (I do like my animated sheep)?

I'm still not entirely sure, but I liked it enough to be happy to world-premiere the video this morning.

(Plus, my last name is "Shepherd.")

Marsha Goodman-Wood - "Sheep Don't Wear Shoes" [YouTube]

Video: "Pretend We Forgot" - The Pop Ups

After the surprise release of their wonderful album Great Pretenders Club, all that's left for The Pop Ups to do is release a bunch of fun videos.  The video for "Bird and Rhino" had a distinctive animation style; their new video for "Pretend We Forgot" features some slick dancing from the duo (and, really, mostly) by The Waffle Crew, a group of New York-area dancers.  How would you dance if you forgot how to dance?  The Waffle Crew (and Jacob and Jason) show us the way.

The Pop Ups - "Pretend We Forgot" [YouTube]

Monday Morning Smile: "Lightspeed" - Joel Henriques (World Premiere!)

This may be a first -- a combination Monday Morning Smile and world premiere video.  It's for the song "Lightspeed" from Joel Henriques.  You may know Joel from his own incredibly popular crafting website Made By Joel or the videos he's made for his sister Lori Henriques (I think my favorite is probably "Dinosaur").

Turns out, though, Joel's a bit of a musician himself, and seeing as there's some sort of Star Wars movie coming out later this month, he's gone an rerecorded a song he wrote about 20 years ago recounting the plot of the very first Star Wars movie (Episode IV, to be specific).  "Lightspeed" is a funk-rap with a furious guitar line that recounts the story of Luke, Han, Princess Leia, and a certain Wookiee.  Thrown in Joel dancing with a vintage Millennium Falcon t-shirt and simple animation based on drawings from his 8-year-old son, and it's a fun 2 minutes of pre-Episode VII hoopla.  Not written with kids in mind, but I feel fairly sure that kids'll dig it.

Joel Henriques - "Lightspeed" [YouTube]

Video: "The Adventure Song" - Ben Rudnick and Friends

Ben Rudnick - A Frog Named Sam: Musical for Children cover

Ben Rudnick - A Frog Named Sam: Musical for Children cover

Musicals are the new TV pilots, or so it seemed over the past couple years, as kids music stars no less bright than Laurie Berkner, Justin Roberts, Recess Monkey, and Lunch Money all had (and, I believe, are continuing to have) major roles in new musicals for young audience.

I don't think the trend is stopping, either, as Ben Rudnick is going where the lights are bright... ON BROADWAY!

OK, not really, but his newest album, A Frog Named Sam: A Musical for Children, is released next month, and as you might be able to gather from the album title, it's from a brand-new musical. For children.

Does this musical involve an adventure, a journey?  Judging by the album cover (an alien in a spaceship) and this first song, "The Adventure Song," I think that's a safe bet...

Ben Rudnick and Friends - "The Adventure Song" [YouTube]

Video: "Katy Caterpillar" - Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke

Amidst the rush and noise of the holiday season from Thanksgiving onward, I encourage families to come back to this video from Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke.  It's for "Katy Caterpillar," a gentle Beatlesque lullaby, and while I'm pretty sure November and January isn't the most common time of year for caterpillars to become butterflies, Wilde's animations of butterflies (and caterpillars) are soothing visually.  A perfectly pleasant two minutes.

Key Wilde and Mr. Clarke - "Katy Caterpillar" [YouTube]