2013 has already been a fantastic year for kids and family
music. For the second year in a row, the folks behind the annual
"Fids and Kamily" Music Awards were kind enough to invite THE ROCK
FATHER to join them as one of 27 judges tasked with choosing what
will ultimately be cemented into history as the best family albums
of the year. While
the results are in, the year isn't over yet. There's still
plenty more great albums that still need to be covered.
I'm featuring five albums right here on Chicago Parent this week
that you should check out with your little ones. Among the five are
a trio of artists that were runners-up at Fids and Kamily, two of
which will be performing right here in the Windy City later this
week. Ready to rock?
Caspar Babypants -
Who can blame The Beatles for the countless artists that have
chosen to cover them over the past 50 years. After all, when you're
arguably the most influential band of all time, others will
follow, and within those ranks will be some who choose to pay
rightful tribute. One of the latest is Chris Ballew, best-known as
the voice of The Presidents of the United States of America. Beyond
the world of "Lump," "Peaches," and the "Mach 5," Ballew has been
releasing family music under his Caspar
Babypants alter-ego since 2009. His latest offering is "Baby
Beatles!" - a collection of 20 classics originally performed
by the Fab Four, all re-worked into Ballew's whimsical, signature
style. The little ones will be singing along to the songs of Lennon
and McCartney in no-time at all. Available now on
Red Yarn - "The Deep
The debut album from Portland's Red Yarn (Andy Furgeson)
is one of this fall's true gems. After receiving a grant to remake
traditional American songs into songs about animals, Furgeson held
a community recording session to capture the voicesof more than 150
backing vocalists. The end result is an album of pure Americana,
peppered with songs that would not feel out of place if they were
to pop up locally on WXRT. But they're about rabbits, snakes, birds
and even "The Fox." "The Deep Woods" is also beautifully packaged
on CD, with photos depicting the puppets that help populate the
deep woods of Red Yarn's live show - a presentation of folk songs
and puppetry for families. Available now on
Secret Agent 23 Skidoo
Crew & Family Too! - "Live at the Orange Peel"
Set for release on Nov. 19, "Live at the Orange Peel" captures
one of my favorite kindie artists in a live setting, paired with Yo mama's
Big Fat Booty Band - a 10-piece funk outfit with crazy chops.
23 Skidoo is in a league of his own as it is - premiere
purveyor of "Kid Hop" - but hearing his rock songs from his first
three albums alongside a full horn section? It's fantastic and
something that must be heard, absorbed, and appreciated. Legit
hip-hop for all-ages. Get the album direct from the artist via
Mister G - "ABC
On this bilingual collection of songs, Mister G (Ben
Gundersheimer) seamlessly blends English and Spanish for some
foot-stomping results. Interestingly, Mister G says that his
exploration of the Spanish language began along with his hope of
one day becoming a Major League Baseball player. While his career
path veered musical, he found himself further becoming immersed in
the language through his extensive touring in Latin America and
throughout the United States. My favorite cut here is "Ratones."
Available direct from the artist. Catch Mister G live
on Nov. 9.
Trout Fishing in America - "Rubber Baby Buggy
Don't let the old school title scare you off, "Rubber Baby Buggy
Bumpers" is the latest offering from four-time Grammy nominees Ezra
Idlet and Keith Grimwood - two guys that were doing "kindie" before
kindie was a thing. In fact, the duo behind Trout Fishing in America
have been rocking together as long as I've been alive (that's 37
years, should you be curious). Here we have a dozen new tracks,
including the recently appropriate "Boo!" (a new Halloween staple),
the southern fried "Zoo Wacky Zoo," and the bluesy "It's Not Mud,"
which scores bonus points for featuring an appearance from the
Sugar Free Allstars. Available now on
iTunes. Catch Trout Fishing in America at the
Old Town School of Folk Music on Nov. 10.
Known as The Rock Father, James Zahn is a work-at-home dad raising a pair of young daughters while his wife works outside the home.
See more of James's stories here.
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