While this move has slowed my reviewing, I would be remiss if I didn’t share with you some of the wonder music that has come out this fall. With so many great new albums, we’ve definitely got something for everyone.
I received these albums free of charge to facilitate my review. The opinions I present are mine.
First on the list is Building Blocks from GRAMMY winner Tim Kubart. Tim’s resume is as long as my to do list and a lot more interesting: television and podcast host, children’s book author, and Sesame Street songwriter, among other things. As soon as I put in this CD I was captivated by the clarity of the music and the message. Each song as good as the last, each focusing on a different building block of childhood. He sings of firsts, of growing up, of friendship, of imagination, and of making mistakes. He sings with the wide-eyed optimism of a young child. The themes are relatable and meaningful.
The penultimate song, We Are Growing, includes a chorus from Woodward Parkway Elementary School, Tim’s alma mater, that strikes all the right chords when it comes to children’s choirs. The album closes with Block Party, a rousing anthem featuring a collection of Tim’s music friends, many of whom you may recognize as well. My three year old has repeatedly requested “the Oopsie-Do! song” and he sings along in the back seat. We both love this sweet reminder that everyone makes mistakes and that making mistakes can be a positive thing.
When I think with my rational, adult brain, I don’t get the appeal of piracy. But alas, I am not a young buccaneer. When I ignore all practicality I’m ready to give up my land-lubbing ways altogether and set sail. Tom Mason and the Blue Buccaneers have just released a rousing album of child-friendly shanties, If You Want To Be A Pirate: Songs for Young Buccaneers.
Representing the diversity you find at sea, the music ranges from Irish jigs to Afro-Cuban ballads. The songs are irresistible and fun. The topics, all pirate related, cover pirate parrots, kindly krakens, trash, and more. Talk Like a Pirate was even composed with a co-founder of Talk Like a Pirate Day, John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur.” Best of all, for me anyway, is hearing my toddler sing “swab the deck!” The cuteness is just too much.
Ready or Not! the Not Its are back with more heart-pumping music that’ll strike all the right chords with you and your kids. This veteran rock band from Seattle has previously released six award-winning albums and haven’t yet run out of content. This album features several songs about the tiniest among us: bugs. Other memorable aspects of childhood included in this album include Hide & Seek, a Staring Contest, a solo airplane flight, and a brawl at curriculum night. I think what struck me best, however, was the honesty of Potty Mouth and A Lie Is A Lie.
Story Pirates founded in 2004 and have been creating music from the stories of children ever since. It’s a large cast of comedians, musicians, authors, designers, and teachers. Using stories from children they bring the stories to life with professional polish on stage, on screen, in books, and in their popular podcast. Nothing Is Impossible is their first album.
It is just as fantastic as you would expect. Each song comes from the imagination of children and covers an impressive collection of topics as well as a variety of musical genres. Even the titles are fantastic: Pizza Revenge, How Penguin Office Became a Thing, and Fart Our Loud Day to name just a few. The last one comes from a pair of sisters in Colorado and includes a lot of body-positive messages. Have you ever wondered What the World Was Called Before Us? You’ll definitely have to download this album and find out for yourself.
My final submissions to this music roundup comes in book form. The Secret Mountain presents new sing-along picture books of classic folk songs. I always love their publications and their focus on collaboration among the world’s artists and musicians. We’ve been reading Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and She’ll be Coming ‘Round the Mountain. Each is charmingly illustrated and paced nicely to sing the lyrics and appreciate the images on every page.
My little one and I like to go through once singing then go back again and tell the story from the images. The back of each book includes some history on the songs and the full lyrics. Did you know Twinkle, Twinkle has five verses? You can learn that and more. Each also includes a link to listen to a free recording of the song.