Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rock The Playdate!

Kid’s Music With Parent Appeal
Grammy-winners Dan Zanes and Friends (You may know Zanes as the front man from The Del Fuegos) has just released a collection of songs, Little Nut Tree, that he calls “age desegregated.” That’s hipster for kid’s songs that won’t make you cringe at their saccharin level or forced “teachable moments.”

Five years ago, Dan Zanes and Friends released the family cd Catch That Train that went on to win the Grammy. Little Nut Tree is made up of original tunes and covers and includes some fun and surprising collaborations. My favorite is his cover of the Etta James and Sugar Pie DeSanto R&B classic “Down in the Basement” with funk/soul singer Sharon Jones. Every suburban kid is familiar with the basement playroom. Zanes makes the playroom hip as he sings, “Where can you go to party all night?” as Jones chimes in with the refrain, “Down in the basement!”

Zanes told NPR, “Most pop music is about romance and sex. That doesn’t fly with most three-year-olds. And parents aren’t all that excited about songs that are about saying please.” Tracks like "Wake Up Baby!," title track, "Little Nut Tree," and "I Don’t Need Sunny Skies" (plus 12 more tracks), make this a refreshing choice for parties and playdates. It’s about having fun and enjoying life and each other without being corny about it. And you can listen to samples of every cut right here.

This spring, nerd/geek rockers John Flansburgh and John Linnell, better known as They Might Be Giants, will celebrate 30 years in music. Since becoming parents themselves, they’ve blended careers in “grown up” music with family-friendly, witty kid’s discs and shows. I took my then two-year-old daughter to see their confetti-cannon Family Show and she just adored it; almost as much as I did. There’s a lot to love here. John and John have always had a way with a catchy, just-this-side-of-Motown bridge. Their clever lyrics always work on more than one level, but with their children’s collections, they only have to work on two: yours and your kid’s.

You can get a feel for their sense of humor just by reading their list of original songs: on their Grammy-nominated disc, Here Comes Science, track 9 is "Why Does the Sun Shine?" And track 10 is "Why Does the Sun REALLY Shine?" Grammy-winning Here Come the 123’s contains the hilarious tracks, "The Secret Life of Six," and "Seven Days of the Week (I Never Go To Work)." You’ll want to keep these discs (including Here Come the ABC’s) for yourself; if the kids are extra good, they can have a listen. But only if they know how to share. Sample songs from all their kid’s discs at their Amazon “mini-store.”

What music do your kids like? Share it here!

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