Though I've been a Pandora member for many years now, I've never particularly listened much to the music there. Part of that may be that I have enough music to listen to, family and otherwise. The other part is that I know other folks love the often surprising song selections -- but that's not me. I want my radio experience to be more guided than Pandora's been. 'Til now. Late last week, Pandora announced the creation of genre stations, and it includes 4 "family" stations -- "Lullaby," "Toddler," "Tween," and "Children's Folk Songs." The good news is, well, that there are 4 family radio stations on the popular service. And from skimming 3 of the stations (I didn't feel the need to spend my time with "Tween"), they've done a good job picking out songs that match the category. And they do have a mix of big-name (Sesame Street, Disney, Raffi, etc.) and indie (Elizabeth Mitchell, Frances England, Dean Jones). But what about those kids who need to rock? What about them, huh? Who'll think of the children?! [Edit: Jeff points out that Pandora's had a series of pre-programmed kids' stations for a couple months. The basic point, though -- that there's no kids rock genre on Pandora's station -- still remains.]
NYC musician Jeremy Zmuda, AKA Jeremy Plays Guitar has his new album Use Your Words coming out Sept. 28th and while he's had some sound clips from the new album up for a little while, I think, the offer of a free track from the upcoming album is new. While the album features languorous Madeleine Peyroux on a track (not to mention Kirk Douglas from the Roots), the free track -- "Jump So High," featuring Joy Dragland on vocals -- is anything but languorous. Ska for the wee ones -- pick it up here.
OK. Let's get it out of the way -- the cutest/oddest thing about Nick's Mega Music Fest are these backstage/VIP passes. I can't decide if they're exclusionary because, y'know, not everybody gets to go backstage, or inclusionary because, y'know, everybody can make one. In any case, the previously-recorded Mega Music Fest will make its broadcast premiere Labor Day -- Monday, September 6 at 8 PM ET/PT on Nickelodeon. There were a lot of press clips of the performance available for posting, but unfortunately they're mostly just 30 seconds in length... so here's 30 seconds of the Laurie Berkner Band playing "My Family." For those of you looking for a little more Laurie time in advance of the show, she'll be part of an online "Mega Music Party" at ParenstConnect on Thursday, Sept. 2 at 11 AM ET. But there was one clip definitely worth watching even at 30 seconds in length...
Dan Zanes continues on his family band promotional endeavors. As noted last month, he's started a series of YouTube music lessons covering his favorite songs. This week, it's "House Party Time," off House Party. As with his other lessons, they're not for the beginner, but even a beginner would appreciate the detailed explanation of what is probably Zanes' most famous family music riff, the bass run from the beginning of the song... Dan Zanes - "House Party Time" (instruction) [YouTube]
As previously reported, Nick, Jr. greenlighted Season 2 of their show The Fresh Beat Band. And now their "hijinks and high-energy music" (which, y'know, is not a bad description of the show) will be featured in four new Season 2 episodes premiering Monday, Aug. 30 - Thursday, Sept. 2, at 11:30 a.m. ET/PT. And while future episodes promise that the band will "learn and play new styles of music, including Jazz, Conga, Bluegrass and Motown," for now fans will have to be satisfied with these 4 shows. The Fresh Beat Band - "You Got It" [Posted with permission of Viacom] PR descriptions of the 4 premiere episodes after the jump. Note: one sentence in each description may be less than totally truthful.
For those of you who think family music's become edgier over time, the following kids' song, written a half-century ago by Canadian songwriter Lionel Daunais features: 1) a locked-up kid-dog, 2) humans in cages, 3) dustmites who eat the title character, and, perhaps worst of all, 4) pipe smoking. In spite of all this, The Secret Mountain has put together The Little Blue Doggy, a book lovingly illustrated by Marie Lafrance including a CD with songs by Daunais performed by Canadian musician Michelle Campagne and her family. You can get an idea of what you're in for by watching the video below. (Warning: includes pipe smoking.) The Little Blue Doggy is out in October. Michelle Campagne and Family - "The Little Blue Doggy" [Vimeo]