Compiled by Barbara Rice
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.
Sarah Goslee Reed
Sleep Like Fish
Sarah sang some of these songs to her kids when they were little, and now sings to their children. She wrote “Yellowbud” for her granddaughter; “Now We Are Family” for her grandson, who is adopted; and new verses to “The Timeless Rocker” for both of them. Says Sarah, “I sang ‘The Ponyman’ to my son during a rough visit to the dentist. ‘Lullaby Time in the Desert’ is a delight to sing and play—something I suspected the first time I heard it. I’ve been singing ‘Epistle to Derroll’ since college and discovered (finally!) Derroll Adams was a friend of Donovan’s, a spectacular banjo player with tattoos on his fingers. ‘Morningtown Ride’ is one of my favorite songs by Malvina Reynolds, and ‘Baby Beluga’ was the only song that stopped my granddaughter from crying when she was a baby. Thank you to Camp Ned (Darryl Purpose, Paul Zollo, Tracy Grammer, and Peter Mulvey) for the prompt to write ‘The Marrow of Our Bones,’ and to Margaret Wise Brown’s The Sleepy Book for the inspiration for ‘Sleepy Song.’”
Sleep Like Fish is available at CD Baby as a physical CD or downloads, or by e-mailing Sarah directly (firstname.lastname@example.org).
More Songs For Curious Kids
This album features Dorothy Cresswell and Katie Tolles on vocals and guitar, Pat Vittum on flute, and Garrett Sawyer on bass. The songs and story-songs are catchy and singable for young and mid-elementary aged children, and many adults enjoy them too. Most were developed around true events that lifted hopes and were important to capture and share. Many of these songs have been used as jumping off places on The Curious Giraffe Show to get kids singing and talking about important topics.
Songs inspired by fascinating experiences around water include “Pelican Pilot,” “Mary Manatee,” and “The Swift River Paddling Song.” Other songs are about navigating friendships and family, helping out and reaching out to others, and stepping up to challenges. And there is the amazing true story of “Syrup in Space!”
Fellow CMNer Katie Tolles accompanies and provides harmonies for many of the songs, and “Surprised” is actually about the amazing warmth of meeting the CMN community in person at the national conferences. “Love and Laughter” is a fun round, and “Can I Help?” is a zipper song for all ages and situations. “The Human Spirit” sings of the amazing ways we make it through challenges.
The CD can be ordered or downloaded through CD Baby or ordered directly through Dorothy at email@example.com.
Kathy Reid-Naiman / Kathy Reid-Naiman and Hannah Naiman
It’s a Beautiful Day – C’est une belle journée
This is the second collaboration that Kathy has done with her daughter Hannah and their first bilingual recording. If you listen closely, you can hear Hannah’s voice singing harmony on all of Kathy’s recordings; however, this is the third album Hannah has released for children with her own voice in the lead. Their voices blend so closely that it is sometimes hard for them to tell who is singing which part. “Sweet and Low” is a perfect example of this!
Kathy Reid-Naiman’s recordings have been included in Newborn Literacy Kits distributed by Early Years Centres and Library Associations in many Canadian provinces in an effort to encourage parental involvement in early learning and literacy. This recording addresses the second official Canadian language, French. There are songs, fingerplays, dances, and lullabies in both languages, which makes it perfect for young children whose parents speak either one.
Available from www.merriweather.ca, CD Baby, or iTunes.
Barb Tilsen writes, “I wrote the musical poem ‘Sacred Ground’ in the mid-nineties, reflecting on the profound connection I felt singing to my own babies as well as to those of friends and family in my musical work with young children. Combining the singing voice and the speaking voice through poetry and song, I wanted to express the wonder I felt, the deep and abiding promise to cherish, protect, and nurture these new lives and the world in which they grow.” The recording also has songs for adults that Barb has written over many years. The same commitment and connection weaves throughout, giving voice to the many different ways we love and care for each other, our children, our planet, and our future.
Available from CD Baby and Apple Music.
John Keenan / Bay Song
From their house, John Keenan and Jo-Anne Wilson-Keenan hear the wind and waves of Cape Cod Bay, so they call their singing group Bay Song. Their latest album, Library Adventure, is about the power of literacy in children's lives. This cheerful and engaging album is geared toward children in preschool and elementary school. It may be shared with parents, teachers, librarians, caregivers, and community program staff.
The songs support reading, writing, information literacy, and learning. Reflecting the diversity of the world's people, they represent a variety of musical styles, including blues, folk, rock, Latin, and country. Bay Song is joined by Cape Cod singer Anna McEntee on “Once Upon a Time,” a song about traditional tales from around the world. Other Cape performers on the album include Sam Ferrara, Tim Carlin, Song Rauschenbach, and the late Jack Hart to whom the album is dedicated.
“Mirrors, Windows, and Doors” is dedicated to Rudine Sims Bishop, an esteemed authority on multicultural children’s literature. She teaches us that a book can be a mirror for a child to see him or herself, a window to see other people and how they live, and a door that opens to another world, real or imagined. Two bonus tracks contain humorous stories of specially trained dogs that visit schools and libraries to motivate children to read.
The album is available from CD Baby, Amazon, and iTunes. The booklet Library Adventure: Songs and Stories is available in PDF format at keenanliteracy.com.
The Loathsome Lady and Other Love Stories
The Loathsome Lady and Other Love Stories is for older kids, ages 11 and up, who love mythology and classic stories. It includes musical accompaniment and introductions.
This recording is filled with love. Love that’s joyful, love that’s tragic, love that lasts, and love that ends. These stories are drawn from mythology, and they remain true and powerful today. The power of romance and attraction, the sorrow of loss, and the mystery of it all are clearly featured. What does it mean to fall in love? To be faithful? To lose love, and to find it again? People have grappled with these questions for many years, and some answers are found in old stories.
CDs are available from Amazon, CD Baby, or from Stuart directly at stuartstotts.com. All of the tracks can be streamed or downloaded on Apple music, Spotify, Amazon, and other music services.
Janet Schreiner / The Cat’s Pajamas
Janet writes, “Kitten Kaboodle is the celebratory culmination of a long career, complicated by four spinal fusion operations that have often made doing what I love nearly impossible, including coming to the CMN national conferences. A ‘kit’ is a set of objects or tools needed to do your job. A ‘caboodle’ is a collection of people. With the wonderful bunch of musicians who are the Cat’s Pajamas, (vintage slang for ‘cool and ahead of their time’) and this collection of songs that range from the ridiculous (‘Chicken a la Cat’) to the sublime (‘One Bad Wolf’), I truly have ‘the whole Kitten Kaboodle’ and I couldn’t be more proud.”
On this new album, the Cat’s Pajamas reinvents some of their most enduring songs with all the excitement of The Music Man: “A Big Parade” opens a capella and ends with a full second line New Orleans band. At other times, they’re a Latin band, a Klezmer band, a boat full of pirates, or a kitchen full of chickens. Translating the band’s live performance experience (a hybrid of kindie rock and ’50s musical theatre) to a recording, Kitten Kaboodle is a joyous celebration of play, wonder, and FUN, perfect for children and all their grownups.
CDs are available at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.howlinrecords.com.