Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Ghost Riders in the Sky – Andy Z
Hello – Adele
Up To Something Good – Sunshine Collective
Ground Food – Ratboy Jr.
Laugh With Me – Chibi Kodama
Hammer – Aaron Nigel Smith

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Carry a Tune – Recess Monkey
Secret Fox – Gustafer Yellowgold
Here Comes The Sun – Andrew & Polly
Water Under The Bridge – Adele
Wild  – Chibi Kodama
Brain Freeze – The Not-Its!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 30, 2016

Wake Up – Red Yarn & Morgan Taylor
She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer
Hello Goodbye – Caspar Babypants
I Dreamed I Could Fly – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
It's Only in Your Head – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
One – Aaron Nigel Smith
Boredinary – Chibi Kodama
The Start of Things  – Alison Faith Levy

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 27, 2016

A Mapmaker's Song – Andrew & Polly
Rest Easy Now –  Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
This Land Is Your Land – Alastair Moock & Friends
Road Trip – In The Nick Of Time
L.A. Girlz – Weezer
Right Side of the Bed – Ratboy Jr.

Kindie Quick Hits: Gee Whizpops For Nature, New Eric Herman Video, and Bears and Lions!

One of the occasional pleasures of being a children's music blogger is that people find me (it's also one of the nuisances but that's the Internet for you). Without the World Wide Web, how would acts from Montana find me? And I'm not talking about The Salamanders – I'm talking about The Whizpops. Yes, there are two high-quality acts from Missoula, so you can book both for your kid's party.

At their nucleus, the Whizpops are powered by elementary school teachers Kevin Cashman and Casey Schaefer (hey, aren't those Recess Monkey guys also educators, speaking of upcoming releases and also guest stars on this disc). The new CD, RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX, VOLUME 1, is produced with the backing of the National Wildlife Federation. Again, like their second CD, SEA BLUE SEA, it's all about the animals. Well, and also about power-ballad guitar solos ("It's All About the Mustache (Walrus Song") and Eagles-style harmonies ("California Condor").

Released on National Endangered Species Day, the Whizpops are emphatically putting their microphones where their mouths are, to urgently sound a clarion call to the ominous, precarious, disastrous situation befalling a stunning number of non-Homo Sapiens. Joining them on RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX are Bill Harley, Danny Weinkauf, Aaron Nigel Smith, the Pop-Ups and many more. It's a big world, we're not alone, and if we were, the human race wouldn't be here for long before we became extinct. And as the Whizpops are quick to anthem-ize, "Extinction Really Stinks" – the album-closer tune mixes Kansas, Toto, and the National Parks Service.

The National Parks Service commissioned their own CD (SONGS FOR JUNIOR RANGERS) a few years back. While that disc focused on the many facets of public service in the field, the Whizpops have turned their attention to the decidedly non-human denizens of the woods and waters. There's no Yogi Bear but a '70s vibing "Polar Bear" and a New Age-y "Bison." RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX, VOLUME 1 promises more editions. Cross your fingers that all the creatures commemorated are still with us when the time comes for VOLUME 2.

RANGER RICK'S TRAIL MIX, VOLUME 1 is available from the Whizpops' website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the band's song, "Black Footed Ferret":

Bubble wrap. That insidious plastic protective material that entrances children of all ages. The perfect subject for a song, yet kept at arm's length for so long. Finally, yes finally, an artist has dared to take it on. And that group is Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies. The title track of his brand new CD, BUBBLE WRAP also receives its own video! The album is coming June 10, but you can see the video below:

Bears and Lions, oh my! They duo (who dress like the erstwhile creatures) have a brand new EP of two songs, "Sleepyhead" and "Depot Park." If you like Wilco but wished they skewed more for kids, you get the general idea of their sound. Still, they make a funky pair. Bears and Lions should be natural enemies, yet they have banded together to make a band.

Bears and Lions claim they have made the greatest club in the woods, where all the animals can get along and not eat each other or be attacked by evil tourists. And what's a club without a theme song, or singalongs, or hot dogs? But I digress.

"Sleepyhead" is a parent's plea for a child "with a long, long life ahead" to get moving and start their day. "Depot Park" is a victory song about an actual depot building in their native Gainesville, Florida that was bulldozed and turned into a public playground. Yippee!!

This single seems to be a stopgap until Bears and Lions reproduce (not with each other) more music or videos for their YouTube channel. But we should all heed their call and stay vigilant. Be a "Sleepyhead" no more, they roar.

Hear them at Bears and Lions' website, Rebervnation, and iTunes.

Watch the video for the band's song, "Pancakes":

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 26, 2016

Don't Fence Me In – Andy Z
Fun – Coldplay Feat. Tove Lo
Crazy Mountain Road – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
Mama Don't Allow – In The Nick Of Time
King of the World – Weezer
Mama – Mista Cookie Jar & The Chocolate Chips

Booking the Woods With the Okee Dokee Brothers

I've found myself up the river again without a paddle. Luckily the Okee Dokee Brothers have accompanied me, bringing a guitar and banjo. Where there's music, there's light. And where there's light, there's hope. The Okee Dokee Brothers hope that their first book, CAN YOU CANOE? AND OTHER ADVENTURE SONGS, will encourage kids to try spending time in the great outdoors, or investigating the Old West, or perhaps go camping (even if it's only in their backyards).

Their bio reads like a Mark Twain short story – Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing were Denver, Colorado friends from childhood. They built a passion for all things off the grid (hiking, swimming, rafting, exploring the trails through the Rocky Mountains) and eventually used their talents to team up and become Grammy Award-winning musicians. Three CDs into their journey, they are adding author to their hyphenates, with able-bodied illustrations by Brandon Reese.

Each of the 12 tales on CAN YOU CANOE? (published by Sterling Children's Books) is a selection from one of the Brothers' CDs. "Saddle Up" and "The Great Divide" represent this year's collection, SADDLE UP. Every two-page spread is lushly drawn with local flora and fauna, as Joe and Justin make their way across the plains and up the road less taken. While I missed the colorful narration (i.e., lyrics) that too often are not part of a CD's packaging, CAN YOU CANOE? is all that and more – a dozen songs, all lyrically displayed, with drawings to hold the interest of the kids who don't want to sing along (or be gently coerced into learning how to read).

As a suburban dad, I give myself "outdoor points" for showing my five-year-old how to light our propane grill after playing catch in the backyard. But the Okee Dokee Brothers are the real deal. To paraphrase a minor character in The Blues Brothers, they can play country AND western music. Kindie über-producer Dean Jones helps them deliver a warm and welcome message with arrangements that play down technology in favor of fiddles, organs, and an upright bass.

Malcolm Gladwell declared that you need 10,000 hours of practice before you call yourself an expert. I think it's a safe bet that Joe and Justin have each spent eight solid weeks outdoors in their lifetimes. And the Brothers' music shares their love of nature and all things rustic, from "Black Bear Mama" to "The Bullfrog Opera." CAN YOU CANOE? is not an instructional manual but it might as well be one. It's a primer for jamborees and folklore (such as the jackalope). You can lead a child to water but you can't make him drink. But you can lead a child to the Okee Dokee Brothers and ask him to sing. 

CAN YOU CANOE? AND OTHER ADVENTURE SONGS is available from the Okee Dokee Brothers' web site, Sterling Children's Books, and Amazon.

Here is the video for their song, "Saddle Up," which is also the title track of their latest CD/DVD:

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
LA Christmas – Andrew & Polly & Mista Cookie Jar
Sweetest Devotion – Adele
I'm Not the Sharpest Tool – Dean Jones
Hamsterdam – Ratboy Jr.
Wind in Our Sail – Weezer
Everybody Out There – Paul McCartney

Monday, May 23, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
Washington, DC – The Not-Its!
The Word – Caspar Babypants
My Teacher's An Alien – The Bazillions
Voodoo Doll – 5 Seconds of Summer
California Kids – Weezer
Stay Up Late – Dean Jones

123 Andrés Es Para Todos Los Niños

Charm will open a lot of doors. And 123 Andrés is certainly charming. But don't be fooled. Latin music artist Andrés Salguero is cultivated as well – he's got a doctorate in music to prove it. With his second bilingual children's CD, ARRIBA ABAJO (Top to Bottom), Andrés teaches vowels, the musical scales, counting (with birds), and the wonders of nature.

The first 10 tracks are mostly in Spanish, with English versions following. Music continues to be the universal language. Matthew (5) can't speak more than 2-3 words of Spanish, yet went around the house repeating "Dame una A" after watching the animated video on Andrés' YouTube channel. I didn't have the heart to play the English version ("Give Me An A") that follows later on the disc. His first CD, ¡UNO, DES, TRES, received a nomination for a Latin Grammy award. Andrés now seeks to follow up by widening his base across both cultures.

I am by far not the ideal candidate to promote multi-cultural diversity. While I advocate for equal rights and self-expression, I grew up in a neighborhood that was decidedly middle class (and mostly white). When the racial climate in our Jersey suburb not-so-subtly shifted (and I became the target of bullying from some of those migrating elements), my family took flight to Long Island. That was decades ago but there are still lingering memories. However it's not the fault of the music or the arts. And I wholeheartedly endorse the values and sentiments of the talented artists who appear on this and other multi-ethnic CDs. {So much for full disclosure}

The music is part of a larger mission, as Andrés will release an accompanying "learning guide" later next month to explore Spanish/English concepts more in depth. ARRIBA ABAJO (top to bottom) indeed, as Andrés delivers an educational, entertaining message for very young listeners. Music is a subliminal teaching instrument – children who flee from a traditional classroom setting find inspiration and amusement in the auditorium or the band room. Andrés puts finicky learners directly in his melodic crosshairs – his persuasive percussion most effective on tracks such as "Diez Pajaritos (Ten Birds)" featuring Colombia's Nathalia Palis. Whether in English or Spanish, Andrés makes a sincere effort to charm your kids. Muy bien, Andrés. And gracias.

ARRIBA ABAJO is available June 10 from Andrés website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is Andrés'  video for "Dame una A":

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 23, 2016

River Lea – Adele
Go Jump in the Water – Keith Munslow
Cheese World  – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Turned Out – Paul McCartney
Thank You (feat. R. City) – Meghan Trainor
This Love –  Maroon 5

Friday, May 20, 2016

Chibi Kodama: Girls Just Wanna Make Music

Girl power is all about entitlement and freedom from societal shaming.

Chibi Kodama's John Cullimore is girl-overpowered. His band features himself, songs co-written by wife Yvonne, and four of their five daughters (Aletheia, Adaryn, Chasah, and Saoirse). The Cullimore house, one surmises, may have permanently-nailed-down toilet seats.

The band's new CD, STARDUST, has 15 new tracks (as well as acoustic versions of two older tunes). Chibi Kodama delivers nearly one hour of power-pop pitched from a child's perspective. The album kicks off (literally) with the '90s grunge of "Boredinary," buzzsaws into "Walk Like Me" and catches its breath with "Daydreamer," with the refrain "I was made to be me." That seems to be the over-riding theme, parboiled down from "free to be...you and me."

Much like the Spice Girls were all about girl power, Chibi Kodama is all about kid power. "Different Like Me," "More Than Just..." and "Crazy Idea" promote the notion that all children are created equally to have fun, do their own thing, and not be stigmatized for thinking outside the box. With hands-on, 24x7 online support from Mom and Dad all the way down the line, Chibi Kodama is the prototype new millennium family band.  And the band walks the walk, talks the talk, and rocks the rock. The title track delivers a hint of the Cullimore family's spiritual side:

We are made of stardust
We are made of light
Filled to the brim with the energy
Of the maker of the day and night.

My dad was in the software business, and when my employment options went through a wormhole 25 years ago, I wound up (as a writer/editor) in the software business. John makes music and one hopes that as his girls continue to mature and evolve, that they will determine their own paths. But he (and Yvonne) have given them a large footprint of how to proceed. How many non-Disney performing kids can Google their own discography back to their preteen years? Whether the band made the kids or the kids made the band, Chibi Kodama is an ongoing adventure and you can peer in through their YouTube channel. Watch and listen and learn and decide for yourself. It's only rock and roll but they like it, at any age.

STARDUST is available from the band's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video for the group's song, "Moonlight Dance," produced by 13-year-old Aletheia:

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 20, 2016

Sourwood Mountain – Red Yarn
Forever Young – Andrew & Polly
Hold on to Your Dreams –  Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Loving & Kind – Aaron Nigel Smith
Tomorrow's People – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Mom (feat. Kelli Trainor) – Meghan Trainor
Hello – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Kindie Quick Hits: Free Summer Music, Pop-Ups and Brady Rymer in Concert

Need a quick hit of summer?

Sugar Mountain PR has released a FREE "summr road trip" playlist of songs from its roster of artists. Not to give anyone short shrift, but you get tunes from Frances England, Aaron Nigel Smith, Charity and the JAMBand, the Suger-Free AllStars, The Not-Its, Brady Rymer, the Whizpops, and more. See, I've shrifted most of them.

But hurry – the playlist will only be public through Wednesday, May 25!

The Pop-Ups are going to perform their latest CD, THE GREAT PRETENDERS CLUB at New York's City Winery on Sunday, May 22 at 11 am. Tickets are available at the low, low price of $15 per ticket.

Speaking of City Winery, you can also book tickets for Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could's next CD, PRESS PLAY! on Sunday, June 12 (also $15)! CD review will follow (after we finish playing it).

Here is their latest video from the Pop-Ups, for the song "We Live in An Orchestra":

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Bright Side Of Me – Alastair Moock & Friends
Bile Them Cabbage  – Red Yarn
Hey Everybody! – 5 Seconds Of Summer
Super Hero Rock Band – The Bazillions
Uh Huh – Dean Jones
Dance Like Yo Daddy – Meghan Trainor
That Guy – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Thank You for the Box – Andrew & Polly
Bad Haircut – The Bazillions
Gettin' My Ya Ya's Out – Brady Rymer & The Little Band That Could
Amazing Day – Coldplay
I Won't Let You Down – Meghan Trainor
Fun Times – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Calling All the Kids to the Yard – Cat Doorman
Everything I Didn't Say – 5 Seconds of Summer
Take Me Away – Sunshine Collective
Rainbow Tunnel – Alison Faith Levy
Favorite Book – The Bazillions
NO – Meghan Trainor
What I Want – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 16, 2016

All Around the Kitchen – Andy Z
Hello – Adele
T.L.C. – Alison Faith Levy
Hymn For The Weekend  – Coldplay
Me Too – Meghan Trainor
You Are What You Eat  – Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies

Friday, May 13, 2016

Open the Bubble Wrap: Inside Eric Herman's New Kid Pop

Not every song about happiness needs to be sarcastic and melancholy. How's that for an introduction to a review of BUBBLE WRAP, the new children's music CD from Eric Herman and the Thunder Puppies? The Rolling Stones recorded a song called "Happy" that was jaded and lewd. "Happiness" from the show You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown will reduce you to a puddle of your own tears. By that definition, "Hello," the closing number on BUBBLE WRAP, on the surface is an upbeat, simple, and earnest reminder that there's no bad time to say hello. Until you read the fine print...it's a tribute to Eric's late wife and co-writer Roseann Endres, who died during the creation process of the album. Its lead in, "Okay," was written right before and just after she passed away, and finishes with the haunting refrain, "I'll love you always," accompanied by their two daughters, Becca and Evee.

Great art can come from turmoil, tragedy, and struggle. Heck, Van Gogh cut off his own ear. But a smaller, personal family affair can change the dynamics for everything. It took Eric Herman five years to pull together his last CD, PARTY ANIMAL. At that point, he resolved not to put his recording career that far on the back burner. For the first time playing a full CD with his entire band, the Thunder Puppies, Eric delivers music both from the child and parent perspective. The six-minute-plus "Everybody's Watching" builds to the reveal of the protagonist gulping that he's backstage and petrified with stage fright:

I know they all will laugh at me
And this play is not meant to be a comedy.
I can't go on stage now
Because everybody's watching me.

Attention must be paid to the Thunder Puppies - Dave Pettey, Ben Macy, Chris Baugh, and Javier Ruiz. They take some of the workload off Eric, allowing him to concentrate more on his duties as lead singer and band frontman. Who else would rock out so hard on a song declaring "You Are What You Eat." The band gets to go full-blues mode on "Where's Saturday," while depicting the tedium of the typical school week.

Eric uses his ironic perspective to its best advantage on tracks like "Phone," where a child's youthful exuberance is tested by his parents obsession with their mobile technology. Has the invasion of the body snatchers been manufactured by Apple and Samsung? It's quite possible. Guest performers Keith and Ezra (Trout Fishing In America), Roger Day, Mister G, and children's poet laureat Kenn Nesbitt enliven every adult's regular treatise to "Take A Bath." The band deals with managing expectations on "What I Want," possibly a response to PARTY ANIMAL's "Can We Buy a New Car (So I Can Have a Balloon)?" It also serves as the appropriate setup for "Everybody's Watching." And what adult male hasn't at some point wished "I Wanna Be That Guy" who exudes positive role model testosterone from his pores.

Eric Herman invites your inner child to join him and the Thunder Puppies on a playdate. While you're at it, bring the kids. The music's ostensively for them, isn't it? Otherwise, who's going to point out the mathematical illogic on "Sunflower Seeds"? Music can educate, music can amuse, and music can help quell fears and sadness (not completely, but it fills the void). Eric Herman has more than 50 million YouTube views on his channel. If that were the only true measure of artistry, he'd be a household name. Well, he is around ours. With BUBBLE WRAP, Eric Herman is back on top of his game and looking for new fans to say "Hello." As the final line on the CD declares, "Any time is a good time to say hello." Are you ready?

BUBBLE WRAP is available on June 10 from Eric's website, Amazon, CDBABY, and iTunes.

Here is the video for "What A Ride," from the CD of the same name:

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 13, 2016

She Looks So Perfect – 5 Seconds of Summer
Sons and Daughters – The Bazillions
One After 909– Caspar Babypants
Odd Socks– Dean Jones
Best Friend– In The Nick Of Time
Unwind–  Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Sugar– Maroon 5

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ghostbusters – Andrew & Polly
Bionic (feat. Shiz & Lady Asha) – Father Goose
DJ All Day – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
That Way – Chibi Kodama
The Grass Is Always Greener – The Okee Dokee Brothers
I Dreamed I Could Fly – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Other Days – Andrew & Polly
Alligator Get-Together – Key Wilde And Mr. Clarke
This Love – Maroon 5
Don't Stop – 5 Seconds of Summer
Snaggletooth – Dean Jones
Good Old Times – The Okee Dokee Brothers
My Favorite Sneakers – In The Nick Of Time

Monday, May 09, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Start Of The End – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
All the Pretty Horses – Cat Doorman
Shake a Friend's Hand – Andy Z
The Word – Caspar Babypants
Young at Heart – Mista Cookie Jar & the Chocolate Chips
Cow Cow Yippee – The Okee Dokee Brothers
Permanent Vacation – 5 Seconds Of Summer

Sunday, May 08, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 9, 2016

Purple Rain – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
The Rainbow Connection – Diana Panton
The Great Divide – The Okee Dokee Brothers
Coney Island Crazy – Ben Rudnick & Friends
No Direction Home – Cheap Trick

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Friday, May 6, 2016

Here Comes The Sun – Andrew & Polly
Loving Cup – Cat Doorman
San Francisco – 5 Seconds Of Summer
Cheese World – The Dirty Sock Funtime Band
Don't Fence Me In – The Okee Dokee Brothers
Amistad (Featuring Dan Zanes) – Hot Peas 'n Butter

Okee Dokee Brothers Saddle Up for Western Adventure

Alan Lomax would be proud to see the current movement of artists celebrating and reinvigorating Americana music. From Elizabeth Mitchell recording the songs of Ruth Crawford Seeger to Red Yarn creating pioneer-style animal puppets for his videos, it's sure as shooting a great time to whet your whistle.

Near the top of the mountain are the Okee Dokee Brothers (Joe Mailander and Justin Lansing). The Grammy-winning duo are back with their third collection, SADDLE UP, which comes with a DVD of their adventures on a 30-day trip through the Continental Divide. The sky-climbing range pours water in one direction to the Pacific Ocean and flows to the Atlantic Ocean on yonder side. The childhood friends used the opportunity to record 15 songs that vary from Depression era optimism ("Hard Road to Travel") to Native American Indian culture ("Sister Moon and Brother Sun"), inspired by a stop at the Navajo nation in Northern Arizona.

The focus is decidedly on important cultural concepts from around the turn of the century and just beyond. There's nary a "let's drive fast" reference, since the horse was the primary method of transportation (if you weren't taking a cross-country train ride). Hence the title track, "Saddle Up," as well as "One Horsepower" and "Lead a Horse to Water." Instead of indoor pets, Joe and Justin jostle and josh about heifers in "Cow Cow Yippee":

It's a love/love relationship we all agree
I love my cows and they love when I feed 'em.

I got an odd re-introduction to American music in my high school years. I'd aged out of little kid music programs (and besides, we had moved to Long Island and I had yet to learn how to drive). Uncle Floyd was a cult presence on cable and I fell under his sway. I bought several of his novelty singles, which were structurally sound. His band was led by brother Jimmy, who currently plays with the house band on Conan. Floyd was obsessed with the old West as well, recording "I'm My Own Grandpaw" and a remake called "Deep in the Heart of Jersey." I can hear elements of those songs on SADDLE UP, from Cindy Cashdollar's steel guitar on "Shootin' Star" to Carlos Medina's accordion on "Somos Amigos."

The one weather-worn cover tune is "Don't Fence Me In." The song Cole Porter wrote from a poem be bought for $250 (true story) is not shoehorned or oddly out of place. The uninitiated would think it an original song, comfortably nestled by the campfire. I've run out of superlatives for über-producer Dean Jones, who works his quiet magic once again. Have I mentioned John Sebastian? He's here as well. SADDLE UP's rustic sound puts you out West under the skies, roaming and exploring and telling tall tales for nighttime entertainment, in the pre-electronics era.

The best testament to any artist are the reactions from their audiences. It may be a matter of cowboy semantics, but Matt (5) felt obligated to correct me when I sang "Cow cow yippee aay yay." He said, "Daddy, it's cow cow yippee yippee yay," before proceeding to sing it for the next 30 minutes. The chorus line, that is. Okee dokee, pardner, you said it.

"Saddle Up: A Western Adventure Album" is chronicled in the 45-minute DVD packaged with the CD. Join Joe and Justin for a little history, some amusingly bad tunes that didn't make the cut, and vistas that take your breath away. You'll learn about fly-fishing along the way. There's even a real-life "Jackalope" puppet, courtesy of the aforementioned Red Yarn. If you pass on the CD, the video will be streaming on Netflix starting June 1. Speaking of ancillary merch, the Okee Dokee Brothers' first storybook, "Can You Canoe And Other Adventure Songs," hits e-seller shelves this month as well.

SADDLE UP is available May 13 on the band's website, Amazon, and iTunes.

Here is the video from the CD's title track, "Saddle Up":

Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Thursday, May 5, 2016

All In A Day – Alastair Moock & Friends
Sweetest Devotion – Adele
Caught in the Screen – Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
The Sound of Silence – Disturbed
Airplanes  – 5 Seconds Of Summer

Kindie Quick Hits: Wednesday Is Video Day!

A batch of new kindie videos went live this week.

The belle of the kindie ball, Laurie Berkner, has released a dance remix of one of her classic tunes, "We Are The Dinosaurs." New kids (i.e., real young ones) will be enthralled. Older kids (i.e., pretty much everyone in the world) will appreciate something from their childhood already being repurposed.

I wrote last summer about how gripped and affected I became after listening to Renee & Friends' song "You Were Meant To Be." Now they have released an animated video for the song, performed with Glen Phillips (of Toad the Wet Sprocket).

The Okee Dokee Brothers have released the video for "Somos Amigos" from their upcoming CD, SADDLE UP. Filmed on a bridge over the Rio Grande, the tune featuring an authentic mariachi band from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Bilingual children's recording artist Andrés Salguero (aka 123 Andrés) is returning with his second CD,  ARRIBA ABAJO and is debuting the first video, "Dame Una A." You can see Andrés in Brooklyn next month, playing with Sonia De Los Santos at Jalopy in Red Hook on Sunday, June 19 or Friday, June 17 at the Lark Cafe with Lloyd Miller.

Speaking of Sonia, here is HER latest video from her CD, MI VIAJE: DE NUEVO LEON TO THE NEW YORK ISLAND, for the song "Chocolate":

Tuesday, May 03, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Ghost Riders in the Sky – Andy Z
Extraordinary – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band
A Mapmaker's Song – Andrew & Polly
Sunday Morning – Maroon 5
Jersey Dinosaurs – Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam
20 More Dollars – Chibi Kodama

Monday, May 02, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Tuesday, May 3, 2016

LA Christmas – Andrew & Polly & Mista Cookie Jar
River Lea – Adele
This Land Is Your Land – Alastair Moock & Friends
My Teacher's An Alien – The Bazillions
The Ultimate Frisbee – Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam
A Head Full Of Dreams – Coldplay

Sunday, May 01, 2016

Ben's Playlist - Monday, May 2, 2016

Another Good Year  – Lori Henriques
Road Trip – In The Nick Of Time
Done With The Science Fair – The Not-Its!
Water Under The Bridge  – Adele
Hey Jude  – Caspar Babypants
Your Happy Place – Jason Didner and the Jungle Gym Jam
The Tale Of The Sun And The Moon – Eric Herman And The Invisible Band