So many wonderful collaborations popped up in the past couple of years that blended artists and genres that we never would have previously imagined. I’m so excited today to add a new partnership to that list -Jazzy Ash (Ashli St. Armant) and Red Yarn (Andy Ferguson). I’m not sure what took this duo so long to get together but I’m glad that they did because the combination of Jazzy Ash’s jazz infused style and Red Yarn’s folk/Americana sensibilities perfectly combine to create music that tells stories and entertains all at the same time.
Their full-length EP, Sing Together will be out on October 7. Today, however, it is my pleasure to premiere “Sing Together,” the title track from their upcoming album. This folky tale features a wide variety of woodland creatures who each have their own unique voices but when they sing together, they create a beautiful song. If you’re in need of a pick-me-up, “Sing Together” will do just the trick. Enjoy!
I admit it. I capital “L” love Christmas music. For as long as I can remember, it has always played a big part in my holiday season. As a child, stopping by my grandmothers’ homes and listening to their Christmas records featuring crooners like Perry Como, Bing Crosby, and Nat King Cole was always something to look forward to. Singing in the second grade holiday play where I got to dress like an angel and sing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” solo is still a childhood highlight. As is joining in with my dad as he washed dishes and practiced a packet of carols for his factory’s Christmas party. But my favorite memory of all was going to church on Christmas Eve. The church would be dark except for a few flickering candles while the choir and the congregation sang Christmas hymns. The story of Jesus’s birth would be told through Bible readings and songs and as the birth grew near, the lights would slowly rise and the music would grow until it felt like it was filling my soul with joy and love.
Over the years, the way that I celebrate the holiday and the people I celebrate with may have changed, but the love, joy, and peace that Christmas music brings me still remains. I used to wait to break out the Christmas music until the day after Thanksgiving, but over the past few years, that date has moved up and up. Now, more often than not, I find myself listening to a holiday tune or two right around the first of November. After all, it’s never too early to celebrate love, peace, and joy.
And speaking of joy, there have been several new Christmas songs released by family music artists this season. Today, I’d like to highlight three songs – all original and all full of holiday cheer.
Let’s kick things off with “Merry Christmas to You!” written and performed by Kymberly Stewart for her YouTube show Miss Kym’s Music Place.
Our next song takes us from the preschool set to something the older kids in the family and adults will enjoy. “Merry and Bright” is written and performed by Laura Doherty. The accompanying video lovingly showcases the many local gems found in Andersonville, the Chicago neighborhood Laura calls home.
Finally, to wrap things up, the jazz-infused “Fly Through the Sky” written and performed by Jazzy Ash. Focusing on the flight that Santa and his reindeer take on Christmas night, this delightful lyric video plays like an interactive storybook and will enchant viewers young and grown.
Welcome to Kids Rhythm and Rock’s third annual Children’s Music Roundup! For those of you new to the blog, each year I compile a list of my favorite albums, then organize them by categories that change from year-to-year. Normally I would have had this list up by the middle of December, but 2020 being 2020, it threw a last minute curveball that delayed things a bit.
The past year was a time filled with incredible challenges for children’s music. The pandemic found performers having to completely redefine how they brought their music to the masses, racial and social justice came to the forefront, and the GRAMMY controversy spurred the children’s community to action. Through it all though, one constant remained – children’s music continued to grow in ways that left listeners enthralled, enriched, and entertained. So let’s say hello to 2021 by taking a look back at the year that was in Children’s music. Don’t see your favorites in the list below? Add them in the comments!
Note: There has been a lot of discussion in the past few weeks regarding albums by BIPOC performers. I have denoted those albums with an (**).
Wide World of Music
Fiesta Global performed by Flor Bromley**
Live in LA performed by Aaron Nigel Smith & 1 World Chorus**
Songs Across the Pond performed by David Gibb and Brady Rymer
Debuting on Friday, July 21, Swing Set is the follow-up to Jazzy Ash’s fantastic album, Bon Voyage (2015). Each track on Swing Set is at least 90 years old and found a place on the album after years of research by Jazzy Ash regarding early recordings and songbooks of African-American music. With her new arrangements for a modern generation, the songs and rhymes on this album will be enjoyed by children of all ages.
In the studio
Premiering today is “Eh La Bas,” the debut single from Swing Set. A traditional New Orleans song that was originally sung in Creole, it was later translated into French, and is performed here with additional verses in English. The video is shot in the recording studio which gives a fun mini-behind-the-scenes look at how a song is recorded, while capturing all the joy of Jazzy Ash and the musicians as they perform the tune. A choir of children is also in the studio and provides a depth to the call and response chorus. Beware, “Eh La Bas” is infectious and may cause spontaneous sing-a-longs to occur. A great kick-off to a fantastic album! Enjoy!!
This list of fantastic songs! Are you looking for just the right music to listen to during a summer family road trip? From today through Sunday, June 11 the wonderful variety of songs listed below are available as free downloads. There’s a little something for everyone. Pass it on!
“Transportation” – Danny Weinkauf – Red Pants Band
“Moon Star Pie (It’s Gonna Be Alright)” – Lisa Loeb
“Superhero 2017 REMIX (feat. Carly Ciarrocchi)” – Tim Kubart
“Rolling Down the Hill” – Justin Roberts
“Paletero Man” – Lucky Diaz
“She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” – Jazzy Ash
“Five Green and Speckled Frogs” – Dana
“Mockingbird” – Red Yarn
“The Senses Song” – Little Miss Ann