New Kids Music for the Fall – 24 Tracks To Add To Your Playlists

Boy, when you are a famous and popular blogger, like me in a possible future timeline, you get your hands on a lot of awesome kids’ music! With the exception of the first Okee Dokee Brothers album (which I only bought because I loved the second Okee Dokee Brothers album), all of this music was sent to me for free, with the hopes that I might listen to it and let you know what’s good and what’s less good. I have therefore spent the past several weeks listening to all of these albums, and now you too can hear what we have been listening to and loving over here at Tenor Dad Central as we continue to add tracks to our “Latest 35 Mix for Kids.”

“Can You Canoe” – The Okee Dokee Brothers
You may recall that I met the Okee Dokee Brothers and interviewed them when they were in town this summer, and I loved their folksy music so much that I had to buy this album. I know that it is not new music for this Fall, as was implied in my title. Sorry. But it is new to us, so we’re excited about it.

1) Can You Canoe – The title track from this Grammy-winning album is a simple but endearing tune about getting out into nature and loving the outdoors on the river.

2) Haul Away Joe – This upbeat rendering of a classic tune that you probably sang in elementary school is a definite winner in our house. Cue the dancing and singing! You’ll feel like a kid again, and your kids will, well, still feel like kids I guess.

3) The Bullfrog Opera – Okay, yes, I will admit that I love this song because it has opera in the title. Although upon further listening the song seems to be saying that the sounds of nature are as good as hearing an actual opera, which is not good for my business. Perhaps you should not listen to this great song after all…

4) The Boatman’s Dance – Oh, you thought “Haul Away Joe” was as dancey as we were going to get? You thought wrong.

“Through the Woods” – The Okee Dokee Brothers
You know, The Okee Dokee Brothers are getting ready to release a third album, so there will be new music coming at some point, but for now let me just enjoy their second album, okay? You can enjoy it with me.

5) Through the Woods – Like their earlier invitation to travel down the river with them, the duo now asks us to go hiking with them on this charming opening track.

6) Black Bear Mama – Bear really likes this one. I asked him if it was because it is about a bear, but he insisted that he only likes it because it is about bear food, and not bears. Either way, this is Bear’s number one pick.

7) Ruby Jane – Yeah, if you write a song with my daughter’s name in it, it’s going on the list. Brazen pandering on behalf of the brothers, but it worked. This is a personal favorite of mine.

“Simpatico” – Renee and Friends
This just came out a few weeks ago, so it is currently available, but still new! This gentle and soothing album is almost suitable as a lullaby album, with a few upbeat exceptions, but it is never boring. With so many star-studded collaborations, from Lisa Loeb to Molly Shannon, Renee Stahl has truly gathered her friends to create something beautiful.

8) Precious One – This is one of those lovely-but-not-boring tracks that really relaxes the room with a message of love and appreciation. Thank you, Renee and Sophie et les Petits. My children far prefer crazy dance parties to slow jams, but this song is just so sweet and perfect that they can’t help but love it and sing it along with me.

9) Starfish and Coffee – Maya Rudolph joins Renee for this Prince cover (is he still called Prince again?), so I pre-loved it before I even heard it. Of course one always worries when introducing their kids to old songs they love. What if your children do not also love them?! But I played this for my kids, paused the album, and asked them what they thought. “That song really fills my bucket,” replied my five-year-old son. I’ll take that as a thumbs way up.

10) I Am Not Afraid – You can almost feel the bravery strutting forth in this strong track from Renee and her friend Caspar Babypants (probably not his real name). We have enjoyed Caspar in the past, and he does not disappoint here either. Play this one in the dark and just dare the monsters to come out. They won’t.

“Home” – Tim Kubart
You might know Tim Kubart from his work on Sprout. If you do not know what Sprout is, you do not have young children. If you do not know Tim Kubart, you should. This album comes out on Friday, September 25th (new! see?!) and it is a magical collection of songs that feel as though they were written by kids disguised as adults. Kubart channels childhood expertly in a way that doesn’t feel fake or forced at all. This isn’t someone singing to a kid, it’s someone truly singing as one.

11) Sunday Crafternoon – Yeah, you look at that title and think “ugh, terrible pun,” and yet it works. It works hard. My kids think it is hilarious, and this uptempo ode to crafting is too much fun to ignore.

12) Better – Kubart, may not have as many people hanging around his studio as Renee Stahl, but he still calls in kindie superstar Laurie Berkner to join him on this easy-going anthem to just being together. Full of hope, joy, and love, you’re going to want to turn this one up and clap along.

13) Rooms – I would put this on my adult mix. This disco confection that details a tour of some kids house is the dance number about your room that you didn’t know you needed. Not since Brian Wilson has someone so expertly sung about their personal space. You’ll be dancing in your own room.

14) Kitchen – If you want to keep the dance party going that Kubart started in “Rooms,” make sure you put “Kitchen” on next. This song is not only a great song for having a dance party in the kitchen, it actually is about having a dance party in the kitchen. A little Latin flavor spices this track up just right. Get on up.

“Smiles Ahead”
There is a new player in the family music game, and it is Mighty Mo Productions. They have correctly figured out that just because someone loves one kids music album, it doesn’t mean that they know what other similar things are out there. Ryan Seacrest does not count these songs down. MTV does not play their videos. Okay, MTV does not play anyone’s videos, but you get my point. MMP has formed as a sort of compilation company or, as they prefer to think of themselves, curators. Their first album is due out out October 16th, and features an all-star line-up of kindie artists, including our friends from the top of the list The Okee Dokee Brothers. This is a good idea, and I hope it gets more good music into people’s hands and ears.

15) “Box of Crayons” by The Pop-Ups – This thumping dance number about crayons has some questionable rhymes that do not sound at all questionable when spun through the musical fun machine that is The Pop-Ups. Do you know The Pop-Ups? Maybe try this one out first and then go from there.

16) “Get Happy” by The Verve Pipe – Remember The Verve Pipe? They did that one song “The Freshman” that you heard one million times back in 1996 and 1997. That was a good song. Know what is a better song? “Get Happy.” This hand-jiving, hard-rockin’ song about feeling good will pump you up and not let you down. Seriously, it belongs on adult radio too, but I’ll take it wherever I can get it.

17) “Sitting on Top of the World” by Grenadilla – Where do you go from getting so happy with The Verve Pipe? How about the top of the world with this relentlessly chipper track from Grenadilla? It sounds both familiar and new at the same time, and you’re going to be bopping about unconsciously before you even know it. I was.

“Get on Board!” – Alex and the Kaleidoscope
There are many different kinds of children’s albums. Some of them sound like indie or pop albums that you would hear somewhere else, but with messages directed at kids. Then there are albums that are truly for the kids alone, and that’s what this album does. Out September 25th, “Get on Board!” examines things kids love, like trains! bugs! more trains!, and sings to the hearts of the children, but maybe the slightly younger children. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. Alex and the Kaleidoscope is a show for kids, and this music from the show does exactly what it aims to do.

18) Shark Tank – The first track on the album that really grabbed my attention was this one, detailing the moment as you stand looking at a shark in a tank and it swims towards you. It’s not scary though. To Alex, it’s just cool. His rich voice really comes through in this song and you suddenly want to be there to see the shark too.

19) Recycle – Sometimes we try to teach kids lessons through song, and often those songs are terrible. Not this time. As the album continues to get better in it’s second half, we get this jazzy song about recycling that somehow manages to both teach us everything we ever wanted to know about recycling as well as get us swaying to the beat and humming along.

20) Oh, Won’t You Sit Down – This classic gospel chorus almost seems out of place on this perky album, but I’m so glad it’s here. What foot-stompin’, hand-clappin’, heavenly fun!

21) Leading the Way – His other best shot at a “lesson song,” this track not only asks us to lead the way to make a difference in the world, it tells us how we can do it. Thanks Alex. We’re going to be singing this one for a while.

“Put Our Heads Together” – Hot Peas ‘n Butter
This is the 7th album from NY duo Hot Peas N’ Butter, and they have some friends helping out here too. I guess this is a thing now. Dan Zanes is on board for the fabulous opening track “Amistad,” and this bilingual album doesn’t stop there. I feel that they sometimes fall into the almost inescapable trap of the too-on-the-nose lesson song (Fresh Spokes, of which there are three different versions on the album, tries to teach bicycle safety, but doesn’t quite capture the fun of bike riding with verses consisting of just shouting safety rules at us), but when they hit it they hit it hard and well.

22) No Bullies – You would think an anti-bullying song would sound about as fresh and fun as a song asking you not to wear baggy pants while bike riding, but something clicks on this track and it comes off as important, necessary, and, most of all, catchy and fun. This is a song that I want my kids to listen to, and that they won’t mind hearing again and again. From the first few lines, which serve as sort of a subtle redirect in an “ohhhhhhh” way, to the chorus that tells us that being different is what makes all of us the same, this song sounds like something Syndrome should have written at the beginning of the Incredibles. He would have been much happier, although the movie would have been much shorter.

23) Put Our Heads Together – With a background that sounds like video game music (that’s a compliment), this frenetic track squeezes some upbeat messages into a call and response dance number that your kids will be doing in the living room.

24) Here at Last! – Chase Behar features on this track that serves as a joyous welcome to summer. Did I say that this was music for the Fall? Forget it. Just put this on repeat and keep on enjoying summer as the leaves drop around you and the pumpkin spices invade. Get ready for new beginnings.

Posted in Alex and the Kaleidoscopes, Grenadilla, Hot Peas 'N Butter, Laurie Berkner, Music, Okee Dokee Brothers, The Pop-Ups, Tim Kubart.

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  1. Pingback: I’m Giving Away a Copy of “Smiles Ahead” – Plus a New Album From The Okee Dokee Brothers! | Tenor Dad

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