Yet Another Kind of March Madness

For those of you going through (temporary) KidVid Tournament 2008 withdrawals (fear not -- more matchups will follow soon...), Jeff from Out With the Kids is running his own tournament, the OWTK NCAA Kid's Music Tournament, featuring 12 recent releases battling it out for Spring '08 review supremacy. It looks like the Final Four is almost set, but that's when the voting really counts, right?...

Baseball Songs (Again)

I'm traditionalist in not too many things, but the idea that baseball's opening day should be, well, in the day, and, well, in North America (as long as all the teams are, you know, based here) is something I firmly believe in. So for once I am timely with this updated list of baseball songs. (Read last year's list here.) Enjoy, and may all your teams have a great season. (Yes, I realize that's a statistical impossibility. Doesn't matter -- it's the first day of baseball...) ********* There are very few sports-related children's songs that come to mind. I can understand why, as sports like football and hockey require a lot of equipment and are typically for older kids (this is especially the case for football). Basketball and baseball are easier to play, perhaps -- less equipment, introduced at an earlier age. Since the major sports typically become mostly a spectator sport as we grow up, perhaps it's good that there isn't much children's music about sports since a song about watching other people do something is kinda depressing as a kids' song. (It does make me think that the genre of children's soccer songs is a niche waiting to be filled.) Here goes:

The Next Next Dan Zanes Album

You probably already know that the next Dan Zanes album, ¡Nueva York!, is almost here (set to be released on May 20). You may also remember the Zanes mentioning to me earlier this year that he's recorded an album of Broadway tunes. But in between those two albums is a third album with some new Zanes material coming out later this spring. It's called The Welcome Table: Songs of Inspiration, Mystery and Hope, and it's a compilation of new and previously-released DZ&F material "mostly from the North American gospel traditions." With the promise of new Zanes music and the fact that proceeds will benefit the New Sanctuary Movement, an American organization of churches and synagogues "working toward deportation reform," I think it'll definitely have a few fans...

KidVid Tournament 2008: Renee & Jeremy vs. Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke

It's the battle of the ampersands in the Ella Jenkins Region, the last of the 4 KidVid '08 Regions to be decided -- the #1 seed Renee & Jeremy's "It's A Big World" (the title track from their debut CD of the same name) versus the #2 seed Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke's "I Had A Little Dog" (from their forthcoming - eventually - CD). You know the rules by now -- one vote per family in the comments below, due by 9 PM tonight (Friday). As always, vote nice, y'all. Renee & Jeremy - "It's A Big World" Key Wilde & Mr. Clarke - "I Had A Little Dog"

Review: Songs For Sleepy Beings - Half Moon

SongsForSleepyBeings.jpgMaybe it's been a long and sleepy week, but I'm very taken by this CD. Songs For Sleepy Beings is the creation of Michigan's Gretchen Eichberger-Kudlack, who put together Half Moon, an old-timey string band which here plays a set of quiet-time folk music on the first half of this CD. Traditional lullabyes ("Pretty Little Horses") mingle with ever-so-slightly more current lullabyes ("Goodnight Little Gwen," attributed to Woody Guthrie). The musicianship here is first-rate, with the Half Moon musicians hitting just the right balance of technical expertise and tenderness, saving the album from the mushiness which afflicts many lullaby CDs. The band rightly plays second fiddle (if you'll pardon the pun) to Eichberger-Kudlack, who has a clear, bright voice. Initially her voice seems too bright for a quiet-time CD, but the secret genius behind the CD's appeal is the tracking, as the music and arrangements grow ever-so-slightly dimmer with each track. By the time the CD hits track 7, "Baby's Bed's A Silver Moon," 20 minutes in, her vocals are much more appropriate for a sleepy baby. Following that is another 15 minutes of Eichberger-Kudlack playing familiar lullabyes unaccompanied (mostly) on piano (there's a couple tracks with vocals). By this time your child (or you) will probably be fast asleep. The album is most appropriate for kids ages birth through 6. You can hear clips at the album's CDBaby page, or listen to some complete songs at the Half Moon music page. The packaging (featuring artwork by Jamey Barnard), I should note, is simple but very pretty. I hear few lullaby CDs I can recommend whole-heartedly. Songs for Sleepy Beings is the exception -- it meets that high standard. Besides being a lovely gift for new parents, you might want to consider it for your own family. Definitely recommended.

That's More Like It: A KidVid '08 Doubleheader

Ah, back to 2 KidVid Tournament 2008 matchups a day. Over at Offsprung we have a battle to be the champion of the Pete Seeger Region -- Gustafer Yellowgold's "Pinecone Lovely" against Mr. Richard's "Cheese." Vote here by 9 PM Thursday night.