Continuing on with my look back at 2015 (or Oct. 1, 2014 though Sept. 30, 2015, or thereabouts), let's turn our attention to debuts.
As always, I struggle with this list because what is a "debut" in kids music? Meaning, if someone's been recording music for adults for a decade or more and then releases an album for kids, is that a "debut"? I've leaned towards "no," especially if there's no indication that they plan to return to the kids music world. (See: The Amazing Keystone Big Band, Suz Slezak, or Hilary Grist, though I would love to be proven wrong.) Same goes for artists who've recorded kids music but in other pairings. (Waves hello to Renee Stahl, who recorded as Renee and Friends as a break from Renee & Jeremy.)
Luckily, the list of five albums below are still fine introductions to kids music from artists I've got a pretty good feeling might come back for round 2 -- at the very least they went to the trouble of creating a new band, right? So here are my top 10 favorite debuts, listed alphabetically.
Big Block Singsong - Big Block Singsong Greatest Hits Vol. 1
[Review] - "Turns out that the delightful series of 2-minute music videos date back to 2009, when Canadian illustrator Warren Brown and composer Adam Goddard (now Goddard/Brown) first unleashed Big Box Singsong, as it was then known, onto the world... Now there are 59 videos, 49 of which are the Season 1 pile which provide the 24 songs drawn for the album and DVD. I, for one, welcome our new big block overlords."
Big World Audio Theatre - The Peculiar Tales of the S.S. Bungalow
[Review] - "Voice actor Kevin Barbare narrates the story, which is filled with enough dramatic plot turns, gentle good humor, atmospheric sound effects, and occasional Princess Bride-style meta-commentary to keep the target audience hooked and any adults tuned in amused. The chamber pop-folk, featuring the occasional stringed instrument, horns, and pedal steel, runs the gamut from peppy to slow as befitting the story's twists and turns."
Sonia De Los Santos - Mi Viaje: De Nuevo Leon to the New York Island
[Review] - "Mi Viaje is an engaging album, and De Los Santos has succeeded in her goal of having listeners understand her journey from Mexico to New York City. A Spanish-language kids music album might seem like a niche record, but as De Los Santos and others in this third wave of Spanish-language kids music of the past couple years have shown, it can speak to a fairly broad audience."
Rock 'n' Rainbow - Let's Boogie
[Review] - "Let's Boogie is energetic and a different spin on a lot of early childhood music education music. For families looking for a slightly glitter-infused take on music for their kindergarteners, this could fill that niche well." [Note: Mike Whitla's done some other kids music stuff, but this is of such a different character that I'm letting it in as a debut.]