Summer music round-up: fun albums your kids (and you!) will enjoy

July 18, 2014

My daughters and I have been listening to some fantastic music this summer. Here’s a summer music round-up of our favorite releases for kids (and adults!) to enjoy:

Through the Woods from The Okee Dokee Brothers
This fun CD/DVD combo is filled with Appalachian-style music that the Okee Dokee Brothers created while on a month-long trek on the Appalachian Trail. It’s categorized under bluegrass, but there’s some folk-style music too. There is also a “field journal” with notes on their travels that’s fun to read. This is a follow-up album to the Grammy-award winning Can You Canoe (which you can listen to for free here if you have Amazon Prime) and is just as much fun! Highly recommended, even if you don’t have kids!

Just Say Hi! from Brady Rymer and the Little Band That Could

I was recently introduced to the genre of music known as “Kindie,” which is indie rock for kids. One great kindie album that we currently love is Just Say Hi, from Brady Rymer and the Little Band that Could. We listened to this one at my daughters’ birthday party and it definitely added to the fun! It sounds like one of the bands I would have gone to see in college, until you realize that all the lyrics are kid-friendly! I was trying to think of who to compare Brady Rymer to, and the best I could do was this: he’s a mix of Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, and Jerry Lee Lewis. This is another CD I listen to in the car when the kids aren’t there! Go here for a preview.

Simply Fantastic, from The Secret Mountain
The Secret Mountain releases their second picture book-with-CD introducing children to classical music, by pianist and educator Ana Gerhardt. I previously reviewed The Secret Mountain’s first classical music book/CD combo, Listen to the Birds, and I love this one just as much! The theme of this book is fantastical creatures, and the musical selections involve stories of ghosts and goblins, fairies and elves, witches and wizards. Although Simply Fantastic was released in the summer, it seems like a selection that would really be appropriate around Halloween. My daughters, who scare easily, were a little afraid of some of the drawings, so we’ve mainly been listening to the CD, and will be saving the book portion until they’re older. This book and CD are a really great way to get kids interested in classical music!

Listen to these fantastical musical pieces here, and go here for a video preview.

Aqui, Alla, from Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band
I love introducing my kids to music in different languages, and we’ve really been enjoying the new Spanish-language album Aqui, Alla, from Latin Grammy award-winner Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band! Although we don’t speak much Spanish in my house, the fun energy of these songs needs no translation. This CD blends Chicano rock, indie pop and Tejano styles (I had to look that up; I’m not a musical scholar :)). Go here to listen, and stay tuned for the debut of a new English language single, “Shimmy!”

Love Bug, from Raffi
Raffi’s first children’s album in 12 years was released on July 15th. I’m 33 years old, and I was raised on Raffi, so he has been entertaining preschoolers for a very long time! One of my earliest memories is listening to Baby Beluga with my mother, and I was excited to introduce my girls to Raffi! With the first note of the title track, the child advocate’s warm and loving voice draws you in. (For you musical-types, NPR’s Tamara Keith notes the Tom Waits influences in this CD.) Raffi writes good, classic music for preschoolers, and this CD is no exception. View this adorable video if you want to know what a “Love Bug” says, and get ready to shake your sillies out.

Raise Your Hand, from the Not-Its

The Not-Its are another example of a Kindie rock band, and this album sounded, to me, like Chrissy Hynde was singing songs about cats and haircuts to my kids. (Which is a good thing!) The songs on this album sum up the experience of being a child: waiting for your mom to pick you up from school, raising your hand and hoping desperately to be called on, falling and skinning your knee, or the attempt to make a funny video of your cat. My girls loved the lyrics of these songs! (And I especially loved the song for parents, Hey 80s!).

I hope you’ve enjoyed this summer music round-up and have found some new CDs to play for your kids (or when you’re alone in the car…I won’t tell!)

Thanks to the above artists for providing me with a copy of their CDs for review. All opinions in this review are solely my own. Links in posts may be referral links that help support this site. Read my disclosure policy here.

Entry filed under: Education, Reviews. Tags: .

Knoxville Children’s Theatre presents Thumbelina through July 27 TN residents: Visit Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies for just $10, through Labor Day

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