Note: These descriptions of new releases are sent in by the CMN members mentioned, but they may have been edited by Pass It On! staff for style, consistency, or length. The materials have not been reviewed. In addition to the sources listed, many recordings are available at local independent children’s book and record stores.
Music for Everyone Under the Sun
To experience local singer/songwriter Alison Cromie perform for a group of kids is much like watching a favorite aunt whose silly, childlike joy is infectious. Kids laugh and dance. They eagerly take turns learning to strum her ukulele. Days later, even the adults may still be humming the catchy tune to “I Love Ice Cream.” Now with the release of her debut album, Music for Everyone Under the Sun, Cromie hopes to give smiles and a love of music to even more kids.
“Music for Everyone Under the Sun” is simply fun. You’ll hear lots of musical influences in Cromie’s songs, from folk to show tunes and even a little vaudeville. “In addition to dancing and singing along, this first CD is meant to encourage kids ages two through eight to find a love of music,” she confirms. Some of her songs are written from a child’s perspective. “I wrote ‘There’s a Baby in My House’ about that smelly new baby getting all the attention. ‘Playing in the Sandbox’ is about chilling in the sand with your favorite shovel and pail.” She’s thrilled that three of her songs have already been added to Rock the Cradle radio’s catalog.
You can find Alison’s debut album for sale on her website, www.alisoncromie.com, as well as other major music online retailers.
I Am 4, 5, 6
Imagination, creative problem solving, and finding your heart are the themes of this collection of twelve original songs for children ages four through six. This album celebrates the tremendous growth in creativity and empathy in this age group with a mixture of all-acoustic vocal layering, folk, rock, and classically inspired compositions. Clever lyrics combined with a unique sound make this an intriguing listen for both children and parents. The album is a winner of a 2018 NAPPA Award, as well as a Tillywig Parent’s Favorite Product Award. CMN members Devin Walker adds on drum set for tracks 3 and 5, and John Cullimore adds vocals on track 9.
You can find I Am 4, 5, 6 on Songs for Teaching, CD Baby and available for bulk purchase through Midwest Tape and CPI Distribution. You can also find the album as part of an Early Learning Set, which includes the coloring book and debut album by Bevington, One and Two Is Three, on Etsy.
For more information, visit www.inandoutoftheclouds.com.
Rainbow of Color
This is a collection of songs for infants and children through age ten with a focus on the wonderful opportunities present when we meet someone who is different than us. Different is not scary or bad. Through songs and stories, this CD is full of the joy of friendship and the invitation to broaden our ideas of what a friend is.
This collection of songs grew out of the work Joanie Calem does as a disability awareness and inclusion advocate. As she led more workshops on this theme, she created more songs to accompany the theme. Says Joanie, “I truly believe that when children are taught to love and accept, they will love and accept. As the old song from the musical South Pacific goes, ‘You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear....’ With a gentle reminder, children can be very kind and compassionate.”
The song, “The Name of The Game,” was written a few years ago for a fourth-grade class who grew so much over the school year in their ability to work things out when arguments arose. They decided to share the song at the end-of-year performance with a crazy and complicated choreography in order to allow each student a moment to shine in the middle of the stage. It is a song Joanie shares in teachers’ workshops and community building workshops as well, as the dance is a great mixer.
Available from joaniecalem.com and CD Baby.
Apples From Their Trees: Songs of Life With the Differently Abled
This is Joanie’s second collection of songs for parents, teachers, therapists, and other family members who are living with and supporting individuals who are differently abled. With a combination of humor, pathos, and honest sharing, Joanie once again invites her listeners to a consideration of compassion and inclusion, regardless of a person’s differences.
In workshops for teachers and workshops for communities learning to be more inclusive, Joanie focuses on explaining Sensory Processing Disorder, a condition that affects most individuals with autism and many others who do not have autism. The song “You Have No Idea” explains the condition and is often the show stopper in Joanie’s workshops. When we realize that we really can never know exactly what another person is experiencing, we can perhaps be a bit more compassionate when someone is having a hard time.
Available from joaniecalem.com and CD Baby.
The Forest Island: Songs of the Black Hills
A former Chicagoan who claims “dual city-zenship” between Chicago and the Black Hills, Linda was inspired by the beauty of He Sapa (in Lakota cosmology, the heart/home of the Lakota, center of the universe) and the belief in sharing the stories of the flora and fauna, water and land resources, and important and beloved people and places of the Black Hills of South Dakota.
The sixteen songs include fourteen original songs and two traditional, with new lyrics by Boyle. Songs will appeal to young children as well as middle school kids. Linda’s songs have an Old Time, Roots feel to them; the more narrative songs are ballads that double as lessons about wildlife, geology and natural resources. There are songs about several birds, trees, mammals, and the “Missouri River,” which tracks the history and path of the river, its resources, tributaries, and path of the DAPL pipeline. It is a lesson about this great watershed and will be accompanied by many lessons about water, conservation, and maps in two companion booklets coming out this fall: The Forest Island in the Grassy Great Plains Sea: Songs, Stories and Pictures and The Forest Island: Discover & Color. For each song, there are lyrics, stories, lessons for grades two through eight, graphic organizers, beautiful color illustrations, and black-and-white line drawings for coloring by Linda’s brother, Grant S. Boyle. Lessons include several content areas along with educational standards for reading, writing, vocabulary, the arts, math, science, and social studies.
Purchase from Linda at www.lindaboyle.com.
10 Terrific Tunes
10 Terrific Tunes is a special CD. Each song is designed with a built-in guitar lesson for beginning players. Listeners can grab a guitar and jam along with the CD. The songs are performed, written, and produced by David Meyers of Rock On Music School in Holmes, New York. Rock On Music School provides music lessons to children with autism and special needs. The ten tunes showcase a fun mix of musical styles including rap, rock, reggae, funk, and blues, using easy chord and open string patterns.
Interested? Contact David Meyers at firstname.lastname@example.org or RockonMusicSchool.com.
Kare Strong/Kare Strong and Josh Goforth
Rivers of Love
Rivers of Love, from singer-songwriter Kare Strong and Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Josh Goforth, captivates listeners young and old with fourteen original songs in the folk tradition that range from alluringly beautiful to irresistibly playful. River of Love has won many awards, including a Parents’ Choice Silver Honor Award. This album is for families who like to sing along to songs about animals, friendship, nature, generosity, goodness, and love.
Kare Strong writes, “My beloved late father inspired me to make this debut album. He believed in me and in my songwriting and singing, and that made all the difference. There is nothing in this world quite like a father’s love. I was over-the-moon fortunate that musical genius Josh Goforth was willing and able to be the captain of the ship. He turned my songs to gold through his exquisite instrumental accompaniment, his producing work, his showing me how to sing my own songs, the many lessons in songwriting I had with him, and his humble and generous heart.
Please find more information about the album and the artists at www.karestrongmusic.com.
Rivers of Love may be purchased at CD Baby.
Hamlet Meneses/Mi Amigo Hamlet
Happy Land Is Tierra Feliz
Parents and their children will enjoy listening to Happy Land. This CD is a playground of bilingual and educational musical journey, featuring songs that help children learn about days of the week, months of the year, colors, transportation, and more through a variety of Latin, rumba, and bossa nova flavors. Included also are songs written from a parent’s perspective with loving touch and sweet melodies. Hamlet writes that inspiration for this album came from “the love for my two sons. This is my positive contribution to the national dialogue of immigrants who are making a positive impact in the lives of children to learn to love being bilingual.”
Additional inspiration for the album came from his desire to promote his #BeBilingual life mission, as well as bilingual music programs, and continue helping educators, parents, and children to learn Spanish/English in a dynamic creative way. With this CD, Hamlet also hopes to show that life during and after cancer can be very meaningful.
The name of the album, Happy Land, came as a result of a two-year-old student who could not pronounce Hamlet’s name: “This student began calling me ‘Hamland’, then ‘Hammyland’, and finally ‘Happy Land’.” The entire album is an invitation to come together, sing, dance, learn, love. This is the first album in a series.
Produced with Grammy-Winner Dean Jones, of Dog On Fleas, this CD is scheduled to be released on September 21, 2018.
Available from www.miamigohamlet.com, Instagram: @miamigohamlet, and Facebook: www.facebook.com/miamigohamlet.
On a Roll
As a musical storyteller, Tim Seston’s style is warm and engaging. He is a skillful children’s artist who has taken his lyrics from his life experiences. Tim’s third and latest CD On a Roll inspires creativity and play while addressing some of the more challenging aspects of family life, and he tackles uncertainties head on. Tim’s friendly vocals make some of the tougher concepts he sings about more accessible.
As a teacher and father of three boys, Tim spends a great deal of his time in the company of children, and he understands them. His title song immediately jumps into a subject that is close to his heart. “On a Roll” celebrates the adventures of his son who travels around in his wheelchair. He playfully uses the word “roll” in several different ways: to describe the motion of the chair, when things are going great, and as an alternative to a bagel.
Of particular note are three songs that were inspired by CMN. “To Be Kind” was written at the 2015 CMN conference in Zion, Illinois, after the keynote address by Stuart Stotts. Tim performed the original version with other members at the closing ceremony. “On a Roll” was written after a breakfast conversation with Andrea Green and Luke Seston at that same conference. “Rumble, Tumble, Grumble” was inspired by play between Tim’s twin boys, Luke and Owen, and CMN member Pat Sorn before a song swap in Tim’s living room in Concord, Massachusetts.
Tim’s CDs are available at Songs For Teaching, retail stores nationwide, and at www.frompagetoplay.com.
Andy Zamenes/Andy Z
The instinct to tell a story while incorporating character puppets into performances for children is what led Andy Z. to the creation of an imaginary world that would be the backdrop for telling these stories, meeting the characters (a.k.a. residents), and taking kids on a destination-based musical adventure. So, Andyland was born, and he’s been having a great time visiting with kids ever since!
Camp Andyland is the camp every kid will want to go to. It’s filled with strikingly crafted pop songs for kids, with stick-in-your-head lyrics and catchy melodies, plus a memorable cast of characters that bring kids into Andy Z’s world. This CD is an infectious collection of songs compiled from the popular Andyland series that takes kids on a destination-based musical adventure. Winner of the NAPPA, Tillywig Top Fun, and Creative Child CD of the Year awards—so far—this CD is for kids age four through eight, parents, and teachers. For more information, the CD has its own website: www.campandyland.com.
Available at CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.
Kidz STEM Songz
After producing Concoctions, Dan Crow and his partners at KidzMusic found they wanted to further use of the arts to celebrate science. First, they found a wonderful animator and created the music videos. They introduced a delightful animated teen character named Anny Dallshouse to act as a mentor in the videos. Next, they brought in some of the terrific family music artists they’ve worked with over the years, many of whom are fellow CMN members. They want younger children to know how much they can enjoy science. However, the songs are great whether kids are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) or not.
This three-disc set is a compilation CD that employs the art of making STEM more fun through music (also called STEAM—the “A” is for the Arts), with the styles of music as different and engaging as the performers, and subjects as varied as the sixteen artists who present them. It includes Dan Crow’s award-winning CD Concoctions and a DVD of five music videos starring a teen mentor who takes kids through a world of animated science fun.
Available at CD Baby and Amazon.
Dave Kinnoin/Dave & Randy (Dave Kinnoin & Randy Sharp)
What do you get when two hit songwriters collide for the third time? Another flight of clever, cheeky, laugh-out-loud, funny songs that can come only from the minds of Randy and Dave. Excellent production, lyrical wit, and clever word play are among the hallmarks of a Randy and Dave recording. There is so much going on that listeners want to hear it over and over to discover it all. You have to hear this to believe it.
The title track came out of a discussion about how some words just sound funny. Randy’s brother and Dave’s friend, Steven Sharp, had a knack for entertaining kids and was known for stringing together words that didn’t make any sense but always got a laugh because they just sounded funny. Snorkel is one of his go-to words.
They write: “We like the pure fun and challenge of coming up with new ways of being silly and going back to look at the world through a kid’s eyes again. We started this adventure with Calling All the Elephants. By the time our second CD was finished, we’d already written most of the songs for the third, Snorkel, and now that that one is coming out we already have a pile of new songs for number four. We’re just enjoying ourselves too much to stop.”
This CD is for kids ages four through eight, parents, and teachers.
Available at CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.
A Race in Space
The songs on this album are written and performed by a real space scientist and singer/songwriter, Dr. Jim Thorne, and have been used for planetarium shows and NPR programs. These educational story songs continue the adventures of Tommy and Laura, future space travelers who explore the solar system. The album is designed for elementary science students and teachers who need to cover space science in their school programs. The lyrics of the songs address many facts that elementary science students can use for their Standards of Learning test questions, including the order of the planets in both distance and size. There are also a few songs just for the fun of it, but they are all about Tommy and Laura’s space adventures.
Jim writes: “This album was inspired by a fourth-grade teacher friend of mine who asked me to write several songs about the order of the planets, the history of space exploration, and other supporting material to help her students with the standardized tests on the required Standards of Learning objectives in Virginia. The second track, ‘Mission to Europa’ is about a trip to an ice-covered moon of Jupiter and has been played on WXPN in Philadelphia, as well as used for a planetarium sky show. Tommy and Laura release a robot submarine to explore the ocean under the ice and look for signs of life. When I was an exchange scientist with NASA a few years ago, I worked on a similar proposed mission.”
The album is available on CD Baby.
David Heitler-Klevans and Jenny Heitler-Klevans/Two of A Kind
The World Is Not Your Garbage Can: An Environmental Musical
David and Jenny of Two of a Kind have written an environmental musical for kids to perform. This musical features an original story and music, for grades five through eight. “Sloppy Joe” is a messy kid without much sense of responsibility who changes his ways with the help of friends and a school clean-up. Joe and his friends then work together to face a big environmental challenge in their community. Catchy songs, humor, and great messages make this a fun and valuable musical for kids to perform and to see.
“The World is Not Your Garbage Can: The Musical” is the soundtrack to David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans’ new environmental musical for kids, with very talented kids singing the songs, backed by an excellent band. The complete score is included, with additional sing-along tracks. The CD includes award-winning songs “Treehugger” and “We’re All In This Together.” Additionally, “Magic Birds” is a silly new song for kids that David and Jenny just released as a single to download.
Available from twoofakind.com.
David Heitler-Klevans and Jenny Heitler-Klevans/Two of A Kind
Lead With Love
“Lead With Love” is Two of a Kind’s first grown-up CD in twenty-six years. It features their sons Ari and Jason, their alternative folk quartet Acoustic Blender, and an excellent band of instrumentalists. The CD includes mostly original songs plus covers ( of Melanie DeMore, Dido, John Prine, Peggy Seeger) and collaborations with other songwriters. The songs range from personal to political, with an emphasis on songs of resistance and resilience in the face of the current political landscape. It includes thirteen songs plus three bonus tracks.
Available at twoofakind.com.