Posts tagged indie

Cancon in the Kids’ Music Blogosphere

As if I’m having trouble finding time to catch up on postings with this whole parenting thing…all these other parents are actually MAKING albums, and I can’t seem to pull together time to say a few words to say how awesome they are. I also need to step up my game now that I’ve been reaching out to bands putting out kids’ albums, falsely promoting myself as some kind of Kids Music blogger.

There are some really great Kids Music blogs coming out of the states – like Zooglobble.com, which pumps out so many postings my Google Reader account is about to collapse, and Kids’ Music that Rocks, whose tagline is “Music for kids that doesn’t make adults want to rip their hair out.”. Exactly. Those guys totally rock \m/

So I’ve been digging around to beef up the Cancon in the Kids’ Music Blogosphere, and am very excited to have connected with a few bands out west in British Columbia who are sending me some CDs. And since CDs are as obsolescent to me as fax machines and phone books, I’m going to share the love and give them away to lucky readers. Yeah baby, that’s right…free stuff. Good music. Free stuff.

So new material to come…the usual suspects that pop up all over the place will still make it in (i.e. Justin Roberts and Ellis Paul to come up next), but stay tuned for some down-home Canadiana!

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Elizabeth Mitchell

41NQ9BP6JZL._SL500_AA240_ I first found Elizabeth Michell (a folk-rock singer and guitarist from NY) at one of Ottawa’s growing number of baby boutiques – her CD was playing in the background. Her sound was what inspired me to think differently about kids music and gave me hope that if you go looking for it, you can find some fabulous albums. While I haven’t yet listened to her other band, Ida, I’ve fallen in love with her children’s albums.

Mark Demming’s review stated it best –

Most commercial childrens music seems to be made under the assumption that youngsters are incapable of appreciating subtlety and need to be aurally slapped about the face with melodic and lyrical repetition in order to make sense of what they’re hearing. Elizabeth Mitchell is an educator and musician who thankfully knows better.

The simplest way to describe her music is indie-folk. It’s primarily just her and her guitar, with help from her husband, singers like Lisa Loeb, and a gaggle of delightfully adorable kids that jump in on the odd song. I think that’s one nice thing about these albums – it’s nice to hear kids singing along and being a part of the music, but it’s not overkill – they pop in, are utterly adorable, and then the album moves on to another song without kids entirely. The other great thing about Elizabeth Mitchell is that while her style is definitely folk, it’s a little more indie and edgy, particularly on Catch the Moon and You Are My Little Bird. It can take you a song or two before you even realise you’re listening to a kids album.

The songs include a mix of traditional folksongs (Woodie Guthrie, Elizabeth Cotten), and indie/pop/rock covers (Velvet Underground, Bob Dylan), and have elements of gospel, bluegrass, and even a little Johnny Cash. They also feature a nice mix of soft, lullaby-like tunes in French and Spanish, and upbeat, interactive songs that you won’t resist bouncing along to. I’ve even pulled out a tambourine (Boo’s favourite thing) a few times.

The first two albums (You Are My Flower and You Are My Sunshine, both released 2002) are much shorter and more traditionally folk. Catch the Moon (with Lisa Loeb, released 2003) is a little more pop and polished, and You Are My Little Bird (released 2006), which is my personal fav (and comes with a chord book for those of you who can strum a guitar), is a nice balance of everything.

You can listen to her albums on her website, YouAreMyFlower.org. It’s also available on Amazon.com and Emusic.com.

You can also check out these videos on YouTube:

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