Weekly Summary (11/24/14 - 12/7/14)

I'd intended to post more here over the past couple weeks, but Thanksgiving + flu = not much posting.

And while I don't have something on the site (yet), congratulations to Secret Agent 23 Skidoo, Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could, The Pop Ups, and The Okee Dokee Brothers for their Grammy nominations for Best Children's Album.  They, along with the audiobook recording of "I Am Malala," will be competing for the Grammy on February 8.

Blog: Video: "Hair" - fleaBITE

Videos:  "The Number Song" - Play Date

Listen to Music:  None this week

Free Music:  "Favorite Cousin" - The Pop Ups

Kids Music ReviewsNone this week

iOS Apps:  None this week

Upcoming Releases: Constantly updating...

Podcasts

Kindie Week in Review:   None this week

My Other Other Gig:  None this week

Bake Sale:  None this week

Weekly Summary (9/8/14 - 9/21/14)

Review: Through the Woods - The Okee Dokee Brothers

OkeeDokeeBrothersThroughTheWoods.jpg

There aren't many blockbuster albums in the world of kindie.  There are lots of albums that sell well, and lots of albums that achieve a level of critical popularity inside and outside the kindie world -- but something that combines parts, that's rare.

The Okee Dokee Brothers' Can You Canoe? was one of those rare albums.  It was critically acclaimed as the best album of 2012, winning the Grammy for best children's album of that year as well as taking the top spot in the Fids and Kamily Awards.  It also continued to be one of the few kindie albums (Non-Laurie Berkner/Elizabeth Mitchell/TMBG Division) to make Top 50 charts at iTunes and Amazon.

All of which is to say, Justin Lansing and Joe Mailander, those boys from Minnesota, had a mighty big task in following up that album. Did they succeed with Through the Woods: An Appalchian Adventure Album?

It's hard to say, precisely because of its predecessor's tremendous success. Are all the elements there? Yes -- a big-hearted spirit, a fancy for metaphor, tenderness leavened with humor, it's all there.  But I would be lying if I said I had the same instantaneous reaction to this new album as I did 2 years ago, and maybe the reason it's taken me 3 months to write this review is that I've been trying to figure out why.

The best answer I can come up with -- and it's not a great one, though it is an honest one -- is that it's mellower, its philosophy perhaps more inwardly focused.  Compared to Canoe, whose can-do attitude and celebration of exploration was front-and-center from the first note (my NPR review of the album is one my favorite pieces there and draws heavily on those themes), this new album, inspired by walks along the Appalchian Trail, generally sings in a more relaxed key.  The title track, featuring a lovely descending bass line, is the spiritual successor to the last album's title track, but most of the songs are more content to celebrate tiny moments -- dancing with neighbors in "Jamboree," the gentle love song "Evergreen," the ode to keeping things loose "Out of Tune."

The Brothers do a good job of reworking some well-known folk tunes like "Big Rock Candy Mountain" (featuring Hubby Jenkins from the Carolina Chocolate Drops) and "Hillbilly Willy," their version of "Old Dan Tucker."  Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer each make a separate appearance, with Marxer's banjo playing on "Fiddlestick Joe" of particular note. Dean Jones co-produces with Lansing and Mailander, and Jed Anderson with his usual light (and spot-on) touch.

The album will be most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 9.  The album packaging, featuring art from Brandon Reese, is lovely -- it's the sort of thing that warms this physical product fan's heart.  (There is also a DVD with music videos and footage from the trip.)

So, in sum, Through the Woods is an excellent album, one that should provide your family with hours of very pleasurable listening.  If you came to love the band because of Can You Canoe? then you will continue to love them no less after this new album.  And if you, like me, love this album a little bit less, it's OK, too -- it's still pretty great.  Highly recommended.

Weekly Summary (7/14/14 - 7/27/14)

Video: "Echo" - The Okee Dokee Brothers

By the time you read this, hopefully I will have crossed a small portion of the Appalachian Trail as part of our family's summer vacation.  Maybe we'll just essentially drive across it, or maybe we'll have time to walk a mile on America's most famous trail.

So I'm using that as an excuse to post one of the videos from The Okee Dokee Brothers' latest album, Through the Woods.  It's an album inspired by and partially written during the duo's trek along parts of the Appalachian Trail, and this song, "Echo," has, as you might expect from its title, a sing-along chorus.

I do not plan on jumping into a large body of water from a multiple-story-tall cliff, however.

The Okee Dokee Brothers - "Echo" [YouTube]

Radio Playlist: New Music May 2014

As we head into Memorial Day, we move into one of the big times of the year, kids' music-wise, just before summer.  Lots of great songs to choose from.  (You can see the April playlist here).

As always, it's limited in that if an artist hasn't chosen to post a song on Spotify, I can't put it on the list, nor can I feature songs from as-yet-unreleased albums.  But I'm always keeping stuff in reserve for the next Spotify playlist.

Check out the list here or go right here if you're in Spotify.

**** New Music May 2014 (May 2014 Kindie Playlist) ****

The Okee Dokee Brothers – Through the Woods
shad weathersby – Yellowstone / Henihco'oo'
Mr Kneel – C.L.E.A.R. (feat. Jonny 5)
Father Goose – Keep Your Head Up (feat. Danger D)
Suzi Shelton – It's a Beautiful Day
Django Jones – Counterpoint
Danny Weinkauf – Oh No Oh Yeah
Little Miss Ann – Follow Me
Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – El Cucuy (feat. Ruben Ramos)
Koo Koo Kanga Roo – Fanny Pack
Walter Martin – Hey Sister