A few times a year, I pull back and look at just how much new family music is coming across my desk here at Rock Father HQ - not only physical CDs (which still prevail in the kids and family realm), but also digital albums. The pile is never-ending, and that's one of the reasons why I've started the Kindie Scene 6 column - a quick look at six albums that are available for your enjoyment right now. This week, I'm highlighting four recent releases along with two that technically came out last year - all of which are worth your time. It's sort of a "Women Who Rock Edition," so let's take that theme and roll with it. Also, this time around, all six albums are Rock Father-approved!
If you think that I've crossed over to The Dark Side, you may be correct... or just completely mistaken, as I've probably been riding shotgun with Vader for more than thirty years at this point. You see, there's KIDZ BOP - a Global phenomenon that I was 100% against for the longest time... or was I? Then it really hit me that KIDZ BOP is no different than the KIDS INCORPORATED record I spun for a good portion of my own childhood, one that was spun-off of a television series as an extension of it's own "brand." With its kid-friendly cover versions of Top 40 hits, and being the number one music brand for kids, KIDZ BOP does have a place here on THE ROCK FATHER... and the latest edition, KIDZ BOP PARTY POP!, was released earlier this month as a sonic aperitif to the forthcoming KIDZ BOP 26 (out July 15 via Razor & Tie).
Twice in the past month this has happened to me - that uneasy feeling when a new album arrives by one of your favorite artists and doesn't manage to live up to expectations. It always puts me in that weird spot where I almost don't want to say anything at all, if only because I don't want unfamiliar listeners to avoid giving other albums from an artist's back (or future) catalog a spin... but then there's just the reality that as a reviewer, I have to do the same thing I've done in varying capacities since 1992, and lay it out - tell it like it is, and offer up my opinion. After all, as PRIMUS once said, "they can't all be zingers."
Hailing from Orange County, California "by way of New Orleans," it's no surprise that JAZZY ASH has crafted a new album steeped in the musical heritage of her southern roots. With the release of HOME, Miss Ashli has evolved a bit since I first posted about her "Leaping Lizards Music" program here on The Rock Father nearly a year ago, assembling what stands out in the Kindie realm as what's almost certainly the first (and only) NOLA-style jazz band geared toward kids and families. And it's really well-done, with each member of the six-piece band also serving as a music educator.
It's incredible to think of any musical artist being able to release a staggering 34 full-length albums over the course of their career, but in an incredible 56 years of recording for Smithsonian Folkways, that's exactly the number that ELLA JENKINS recently reached, with the release of "123s & ABCs."