Best Kids Music of 2013: Top 10 Debuts

Every year I wonder whether there are going to be any musicians who decide to turn their attention to making music for kids, and every year I am not disappointed.  It's a silly attitude to take on my part, because doing these sorts of follow-up looks back at the year gives me hope and tells me I should stop wondering, that right now somebody I've never heard of -- and who may never have heard of these artists or any of the other artists on this site -- is for the first time recording music for kids and families that's going to be great.

Here are my top 10 debut albums from 2013, with "2013" defined as being "between November 1, 2012 and September 30, 2013," coinciding with the Fids & Kamily 2013 voting year.  Sometimes debuts drop through the cracks thanks to the slow pace of reviewing, so albums like Vered's Good Morning My Love and Helen Austin's Always Be a Unicorn (which were October 2012 releases, and so just miss the November 1, 2012 starting point) somehow didn't make my list of top debuts from from 2012, either.  And of course, there are post-September 30, 2013 albums like Red Yarn's The Deep Woods and Introducing Jelly of the Month Club that I would not be surprised to see on this list next year.

One other caveat -- there some debuts from experienced kindie folks who made music with new friends. Debuts from Underbirds, Todd & Cookie, and more might very well have made this list were it not for the fact that those participants, artists like Todd McHatton, Morgan Taylor, and Mista Cookie Jar, aren't new to the kids music world.

So here they are, in alphabetical order. It was hard picking the list this year -- there were a couple albums that I thought would make it but somehow got squeezed out by all the other wonderful talent here.  Which must mean that there are a lot of musicians who think that trying their hand at making great music for kids is a worthwhile endeavor.


Cat Doorman

The Cat Doorman Songbook

Review - "reminds families of the worlds and possibilities that lie outside our door, if only we're willing to see them and create them ourselves"


Crosspulse Percussion Ensemble

I Like Everything About You Yes I Do!

Review (Coming Soon!) - Old-school rhythm, with soul to spare.  It doesn't sound a lot like most of the other albums on this list, and that's one of its strengths.


Chris Doud, Willy Tea Taylor, and More

Color This Album

Review - "It's a romp through a world of animals and imagination, and the long-awaited (spiritual) sequel to the classic Bloodshot Records album The Bottle Let Me Down."


Lesley and the Flying Foxes

A Day in the Life of a Boogaleeboo

Review - "It's got a sense of wide-eyed wonder at, and celebration of, the human experience."

Boxtop Jenkins

You're Happier When You're Happier

Review - I"f you're going to title your album "You're Happier When You're Happy," you darn well better deliver an album that makes listener happy (or happier).  And on his debut, floppy-eared Boxtop Jenkins, the creation of singer-songwriter Franklin Bunn and producer Glenn Matullo, do indeed."


Martykins & Friends

Martykins & Friends

Review - "I suppose any album gutsy enough to feature a song called "The Funky Lumberjack" had better be willing to follow through and, you know, be kinda funky.  Surprisingly enough, that song, off the debut album from bassist Martin McSweeney is, well, kinda funky."


Pointed Man Band

Swordfish Tango

Review - "A combination of Tom Waits and Shel Silverstein, the Beatles and Parisian cafes, the music smells of hardwood floors and flannel and wood construction blocks."


Shine and the Moonbeams

Shine and the Moonbeams

Review - "While it's not really the first R&B and soul album in kids music, it's the first that got the sometimes insular "kids music world" excited."


Paul Spring

Home of Song

Review - "Home of Song is an ode to books and stories, and to the families who nurture them."


The Watson Twins

Pioneer Lane

Review - "a tiny jewel of an album that will give the listener a warm, fuzzy glow…"