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.
BENEATH THE CHERRY TREE
Kare Strong and Josh Goforth
Exquisitely tender and imaginative stories woven from the innocence of children, the generosity of animals, and the goodness of our natural world. Here are fourteen original songs in the folk tradition that are both poetic and lyrical with an Irish-Appalachian flavor. Each is dressed up in beautiful and playful instrumental arrangements: fiddle, banjo, mandolin, guitar, piano, mountain dulcimer, and more instruments join in the fun. A mother tree tells her uncertain sapling that she is beautiful in every season just the way she is. A spellbound boy hears a bluebell flower praise the morning. A resourceful child with a dear heart protects a groundhog, and a friendship flourishes. Mole and two wrens hatch a plan to welcome Pig, who is new to the neighborhood. And on it goes, with faeries and grandparents and Wind and more characters who come to life.
Grammy-nominated multi-instrumentalist Josh Goforth and award-winning singer-songwriter Kare Strong joined forces and made Beneath the Cherry Tree together. Their first album, Rivers of Love, released in 2017, garnered six awards.
“These songs for the entire family arise from my love of children, animals, nature, poetic language, goodness, innocence, beauty, generosity, sweetness, and above all else, love itself. They are, to me, stories about what are the most real things of all. They are the way given to me to express my joy at being alive, and my wish to help our world. May these songs bring nourishment, nurture, beauty, and smiles to listeners of all ages!”
Available as CD or downloaded at CD Baby or at Amazon and Bandcamp for download only.
Jean’s first CD, Sunflower, is a collection of songs Jean wrote mostly about her experiences in nature.
Five of the songs all had their start on or near the towpath—a walking path along the canal that runs parallel to the Delaware River and is about fifty steps from her kitchen door. “Fishing,” written from a young child’s perspective, was inspired by sitting with her son, Matthew, when he was fishing on the canal at age five or six. “Honey Bee,” with a very singable refrain, is kind of a love song to the honeybee. “Sunflower” was written with citizen scientists in mind. “All Kinds of Animals” was originally conceived as a movement song; it is a true song that describes the movements of the animals Jean sees as she walks along the towpath with her dog.
Jean was able to share some of these songs last year with members of the CMN community at a regional song swap, the annual meeting, and Kindiecom. “It has been such a joy to connect with this fabulous, supportive group of professional children’s musicians. I hope you enjoy Sunflower!”
Available as CD through CD Baby as well as a variety of download and streaming services.
CHATTER OF THE FINCHES
Kim is pleased to announce the recent arrival of her new CD of original songs, Chatter of the Finches. Ken Whitely produced, advised, arranged, and organized all the musicians, and they recorded in his studio in Toronto. While this is intended for adults, there are some songs that may work for everyone, like “Pet Your Dog.”
Kim says, “I write songs to understand what is going on, either personally or in the world, and to manage my emotional response. Sometimes I write because an image or an idea grabs me and won’t let go.” Some of the songs have incubated for decades, such as “Dark and Rainy Night” and “Cowboy and the Umbrella.” Others slipped out quickly, like “Settle In” and “Comfort on Their Wings.” There are songs about friendship, being a refugee, hanging spoons from your face, decision making, dancing, and wondering.
Each song is fully realized—they have become more than what Kim imagined they could be.
Available directly from Kim at email@example.com.
JOHN KEENAN and JO-ANNE WILSON-KEENAN
CHILDREN ON PARADE
These twelve fun songs celebrate the joy that music brings to children’s lives. Children are invited to join a parade and find their own way to participate in music and in life. They will delight in songs such as “Einstein Squirrel,” “Mac ‘n’ Cheese Overture,” and “Blueberry Blues.”
The album will appeal to children in preschool and elementary school. The songs may be shared with parents, librarians, teachers, caregivers, and community program staff. These interactive songs encourage listeners to move and sing along.
The songs immerse children in a variety of musical styles, including folk, R&B, rock, reggae, country, and blues. In “My Air Guitar,” children hear rock, country, and blues all in one song.
Bay Song is a singing duo consisting of John Keenan and Jo-Anne Wilson-Keenan, who live near Cape Cod Bay in Massachusetts, U.S.A.
Available through major distributors, including CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon Music. Shelf-ready library packaging and processing is available from Midwest Tapes.
SING WITH ME
If you want to have a rousing good time with your kids, Tracy Newman’s third album, Sing With Me, is a bull’s-eye, with fifteen artfully crafted songs that are teeming with joy, gushing with fun, and propelled by Tracy’s clear, friendly voice that hits the sweet spot between mom and playmate. Love and wonderment abound in this freewheeling, jingle-jangle celebration of the magic of childhood.
The eco-friendly packaging includes all the lyrics, which helps facilitate sing-alongs. Tracy says “I was writing songs for kids when I was in my twenties (but didn’t record), then I took a long, long break to write for TV and actually make a living. Now I’m back to doing what I love most: writing songs for little kids. And now I have a grandson, so that in itself is my greatest inspiration.”
Children ages newborn to six, and anyone who is around kids, will enjoy this CD. Among the special songs, “Walking Bear” was written for Tracy’s grandson, Logan, when he took his first steps. The chorus starts with “One step, two steps, three steps, four, Logan is a-walking ’cross the kitchen floor.” Feel free to use the song with your own special child’s name in it!
“Birdie Fly Down, Down” was written many years ago, by Patty Zeitlin, one of the founding members of CMN. The pre-K kids Tracy sings to request it the instant she sets foot into their classroom, and when they sing it, they stand up, flap their arms like birds, move up and down, and articulate every word, good and loud. It’s a wonderful warm-up, with a great melody. Warning: It’s a serious ear worm!
Available at Amazon, iTunes, and runalonghome.com.
ALL I DO IS HOP
Grin Brigade is back with All I Do Is Hop, their second eclectic and unpredictable mix of twenty-nine (not a typo!) songs that keep you guessing what musical treat will pop up next. A blend of kid funk, blues, pop, rock, country, anthem, and ballad, this wild jumble of tunes about a whole mess of things will make you happy, make you think, make you feel, and make you laugh.
Helmed by Dave Kinnoin (of Randy & Dave), Grin Brigade is a revolving group of top-flight singers, musicians, and songwriters, which this time includes Randy & Dave; partner, hit country songwriter, and Grammy Award-winner Randy Sharp; and Grammy nominee and children’s music icon Red Grammer.
All I Do Is Hop covers a delightfully dizzying number of topics as the production effortlessly moves from genre to genre with vocalists beautifully matched to their material. The follow-up to the multi-award-winning Crazy with Happiness, Grin Brigade once again provides something for every listener.
So hop to it, have fun, and discover your favorites!
Available at CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes.
WHO I AM
Who I Am is a collection of songs written by Tim Seston over the course of two years for two different musical theater productions. The two shows were performed by campers ages eight to sixteen at Camp Pok-O-MacCready in Willsboro, New York, under the direction of Tim Seston. On July 22, 2017, Once in a Lifetime made its debut on the camp stage and included the first seven songs of this album. On July 28, 2018, The Rock made its debut on the camp stage and included the final seven songs of this album.
Of special interest, the third track on the album, “Scissors and a Crayon,” was inspired by a CMN workshop on creating group songs with multiple voices. Tim has made Doodly videos for four of the tracks. See them here on Tim’s YouTube channel.
Once in a Lifetime:
Act 1: Campers have been coming to Poko for as long as they can remember. It looks and feels the same as always but there is something strange about camp this season.
Act 2: What is Teddy talking about? It is not the twenty-first century. Turns out the campers have all been born in different years and yet they are all in this moment at the same time.
Year after year, people return to The Rock for a variety of reasons. Some are intrigued by the stories, some feel empowered by the gathering, some believe The Rock has mystical powers that influence each individual at the very core.
Full synopses and director’s notes for these productions can be found on Tim’s website.
CDs—both physical (limited copies) and digital—available at CD Baby.
This CD is the perfect Women’s Suffrage collectable gift. HerStory is a lyrical collection of original songs honoring the lives, loves, and work of women in celebration of upcoming Women’s Suffrage Centennial. Included are a new twenty-fifth anniversary recording of “Standing on the Shoulders” anthem and a new song for Mother’s Day.
The first single, “Women Rock the World” is an up-tempo pop/rock anthem celebrating the incredible power of women and the ways all women “rock the world,” from cradling babies to riding a rocket in space! Features a strong singalong chorus to a dance groove.
These empowering songs are great for nurturing strong girls to become Awesome Women!
Available at EarthMama.hearnow.com, SongsforTeaching.com, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, and Apple Music.
SCHOOL OF FISH
School of Fish is a collection of ten energetic, fun, playful songs in the pop vocal, Americana music style for kids of all ages. During the first two weeks the album was released, it raised $2,500 for charity. 100 percent of all CD sales was given to these charities: Beat Nb! (neuroblastoma) cancer in children, educational scholarships for future teachers, and support for a local wildlife rehab and rescue group—all volunteer, operating on a shoestring. Artists performed shows within a three-week span to raise the money, which helped get them on Billboard Heatseeker charts for two weeks.
Cynthia composed “Song for Ezra,” in memory of a little boy who passed away from a terrible childhood cancer, neuroblastoma, at age two and a half. “It broke my heart when I knew about Ezra some years back, so I made sure his song got on School of Fish.” Ezra is the reason Cynthia chose to donate proceeds to Beat Nb!
“Cockadoodle Doo Doo” is a fun protest song about doing the right thing and cleaning up dog doo. The chorus: “Just bring a little bag and a scooper too, will just take a minute it’s the least you can do, pick up that treasure your little dog left, would really appreciate it, you bet!”
Available at worldnationgroup.com, CD Baby, iTunes, and Amazon.