Saturday, September 02, 2006

Musical Interlude: Some great baby/kid cds

This week we got some exciting new kids' cds from (a great site where artists receive a much larger piece of the purchase than through other online retailers- support your favorite artists better without paying more).

We love music. Baby geek is already an adept little beebopper who dances or bounces his head along to the music we play. He loves the blues, bluegrass, folk, classical, oldies, and even accordion music. We soon hope to teach him the phrase "More cowbell!" but alas, these things take time.

So here are some great new purchases. We'll try and catalog some family favorites as time goes on, but it would be a huge endeavor to catalog them all tonight. I'll just summarize by saying you can never go wrong with Dan Zanes, Keb Mo', Lyle Lovett, Cheryl Wheeler, or Trout Fishing in America.

Newborn Sara Hickman

I found this cd at the library while looking for farm songs for a friend's party. The artist's name didn't spur any recognition, though it should have as Sara Hickman's beautiful vocals and lyrics shaped one of my favorite albums Three Women (Domestic Science Club). Jim immediately recognized her voice and it was like uunexpectedly finding a long-lost friend.
The cd is musically cohesive while showcasing a wide range of musical styles and songs (a capella, retro, contemporary, jazz, folk...). The music, the musicianship, and the production are superlative. This cd is great for music snob
s but presents no barriers for the hoi polloi (us).
"This Heart" is one of the sweetest love songs ever written, and it just melts my heart every time I hear it. "Slice of Heaven" is a great brainworm of a song that makes you smile and sing it for hours after listening. The songs rang from upbeat to serene and exude a deep joy for life and music that is contagious. This cd is great for waking up, going to sleep, doing the dishes, long car rides, and dancing in your pajamas. Newborn at Amazon

Toddler Sara Hickman
"More is always better," this is my dear friend Kathryn's ("Queen of the Gilded Lily") motto. I don't always agree with her on this, but in the case of Sara Hickman it appears to be quite accurate.

Toddler is a faster album than Newborn, but equally joyful. It shows the same diversity of songs a
and styles and adds new elements of spoken word stories. We started singing "Weenie Man" to calm a minor meltdown in a restaurant and ended up making up a special geek family version of the song. In the liner notes for this series, Sara Hickman writes that she would like families to have the confidence to improvise fun songs with their kids, and I think her music inspires us.

Classics like "Hole at the Bottom of the Sea," "Bill Groggin's Goat," and "Frere Jacques" are complimented by Ike Jones' "Bunnies" and "I Got You Babe." Fun all around
and NOT just for toddlers. Toddler at Amazon

Meltdown! Justin Roberts
I actively resisted this cd when my husband handed it to me at bookstore listening station. Like many other geeks, Jim has an undeniably crow-like tendency towards bright and shiny objects.

I was going to put this back on the shelf because the first song "I Chalk" threatens to be one (especially if you're not paying attention) one of those peppy bits of ear-treacle about shoe tying and the wonders of being a kid. The whole thing seemed like it might be too Raffi, too "How Much is that Doggy in the Window" optimistically simplistic for a cynic like myself, but when I hit the title-track "Meltdown" I found an album with sounds reminiscent of R.E.M., early They Might Be Giants, and other contemporary & indy greats with an unexpected sense of humor to keep adults surprised and entertained.

In "I Chalk" the narrating child says his Dad is going to draw a dolly on the porch, but it looks more like a clock (Dali!)- anyway, when we quit laughing, we made it to the register and took this cd home- singing all the way. Meltdown! at Amazon

Listen to, and buy these cds at where musicians get a better cut of the purchase price, independent artistry is encouraged, and they let you listen to more of the tracks in their sample clips.

I had planned to list more cds tonight, but I have miles to go before I sleep, so you'll just have to wait with baited breath.

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