Get your iPod, laptop, and credit card out, it’s time to refresh that music library. Your fall playlist is played out, and you need some new tunes to take you in to 2012. Below is a musical buffet of albums to check out, with several sure to fit your musical pallet.

The Jimmies – Practically Ridiculous: It’s here! After a (painful) 4 year wait, Ashley Albert & co have baked up a dozen new tasty tunes to memorize, chuckle at and share with friends. Bring on the high-concept music videos!

The JimmiesThe Jimmies

Charlie Hope – Songs, Stories and Friends: Let’s Go Play!: Sail away on the summer breeze of Charlie’s beautiful and airy vocals. Filled with her own original tunes and public domain classics, Charlie’s music makes the coldest day a summer holiday.

Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – Oh Lucky Day!: Out of nowhere, Lucky and the fam burst onto the scene with their bar-raising intro E.P. of pop-rock tunes. As we hoped, the E.P. was just an appetizer for this full length release of jangly kid tunes for hipsters and homemakers alike.

Rabbit! – Go For It!: Sunshiny, feel-good indie pop that is ready for its close-up, from a Floridian crew that proudly takes it inspiration from the “bubblegum scene of the late 1960′s.” Another instant favorite in our house, and bound for kindie glory.

Dan Zanes – Little Nut Tree: Before I take that first listen to the latest Dan Zanes’ album, I always wonder what he will do to top himself. This time, the Grammy award winning singer mixes his truly ageless Americana sound with headliner guests like Sharon Jones, Joan Osborne and Andrew Bird.

Mike Whitla – Dinostory: The Ultimate Dinosaur Rock Opera: Have a dinosaur lover in your family? Keep them entertained and engaged with what is sure to be the one-and-only dino rock opera.

Rocknoceros – Colonel Purple Turtle: Making kindie music before “kindie” entered the lexicon, Rocknoceros’ new effort is a CD/book concept album that takes place in the animal-filled, cleverly-crafted world of Soggy Bog.

RabbitRabbit!

Ben Rudnick & Friends – Live in Lexington : Under the Copper BeechChildren’s music staple Rudnick & Friends show they can make it happen outside the studio with a live, eclectic mix of bluegrass, calypso, folk and rock.

Biscuit Brothers – Get Up & Go: If you are one of the lucky PBS markets that carry the Biscuit Brothers, you are familiar with this music-filled show. We have been enjoying their YouTube video clips for years, and can now sing along to some of the greatest Cajun, rock, country, polka, jazz, swing, and a capella tunes heard on the Emmy-Award winning show.

Recess Music’s UR Some 1 and Big Bully compilations: Great compilations with great messages. On UR Some 1, artists like Peter Himmelman share the message of self-confidence while Big Bully has artists like The Hipwaders and Renee & Jeremy spreading the message of being generous and kind.

Mr. Leebot – Erratic Schematic: Plug it in and turn up the kindietronica, with Mr. Leebot’s inimitable new wave sound.

Hope Harris – Cousins Jamboree: With Dan Zanes’ production talent behind it, you know it will be a treat for the ears. If you are looking for a little twang and new, original tunes, you can’t go wrong with Hope’s first kindie rock release.

Doctor Noize – The Ballad of Phineas McBoof: For the kindie rocker who wants more than just the music, Doctor Noize (aka Cory Cullinan) has created a transmedia property around ‘Phineas McBoof.’ The colorful character creations of his music are brought to life on the page, kicking off a new kid’s property to watch out for.

Lucky DiazLucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band

My Name is Handel – The Story of Water Music: Cool down time in the minivan? Let the London Philharmonic Orchestra introduce your kids to German composer Handel with an educational intro to his life and his instruments.

Beethoven’s Wig – Sing Along Piano Classics: Another way to intro kids to classical music? Add some silly lyrics to them. Richard Perlmutter has nailed this formula, and attacks piano classics on his fifth release of remade masterpieces.

In The Nick of Time – Making Silly Faces: The third release from Nick Deysher’s In the Nick of Time act brings a high-energy mix of genre-hopping with songs tackling “hot topics” like manners and healthy-eating.

Mister G – Bugs: Teacher/ASCAP-Award-winner/former indie rocker Ben Gundersheimer is back with another round of catchy kindie pop-rock tunes that should continue to build his loyal all-age following.

Alastair Moock – These Are My Friends: Boston-bred Moock is back with another rootsy family album, this time bringing along some very special guests like Rani Arbo and Lori McKenna. Moock’s last album was track-by-track greatness, and this album continues his streak with folk-rock covers (“Mail Myself to You”) and his own new creations (“Born To Dance”).

The Hipwaders – The Golden State: Band leader Tito Uquillas and the gang keep churning out delightful power-pop for the whole family, with their latest a tribute to the sunshine sound of California.

Alastair MoockAlastair Moock

Peter Alsop – Grow it At Home: Peter is aiming squarely at the kids with this award-winning album of goofy-good, green-themed tunes.

Rollie Polie Guacamole – Time for Hummus: Brooklyn-based Rollie Polie Guacamole will bring you back to your favorite summer jam band festival, but with the kid-safe lyrics and appropriate substances.

Hullabaloo – Road Trip: Made for the mini-van, this folk-rock duo’s latest release is full of clever songs about the pain and pleasure of family road trips. Take the journey with high-energy, twangy tunes like “Rolling Down That Road,” “Are We There Yet?” and “Good To Be Back Home.”

Chip Taylor & The Grandkids – Golden Kids Rules: With a pedigree that includes crafting hits like “Angel of the Morning,” this gravely-voiced musician is a welcome addition to the family music scene. Academy Award-winning brother Jon Voight graces the liner notes, while his three grandchildren duet on songs like the gentle title track.

Jane Roman Pitt – Midnight Lullaby: Instead of buying another one of those chimey lullaby albums, consider Jane Roman Pitt. This mother and grandmother does her own soothing take on contemporary tunes by artist like including Wilco, Sade, Tom Waits, Bob Dylan and Josh Ritter.

Laura Doherty – Shining Like a Star: If you love the breezy sound of female singer/songwriters, Laura Doherty delivers sweet and interactive acoustic tunes for the kiddos.

Charlie HopeCharlie Hope

Todd McHatton – Galactic Champions of Joy: We described Todd’s last album as “one of those rare releases that you can play from start to finish.” Once again, he delivers. This album is hard for parents to tire of, full of college radio-style rock for the whole family. Added bonus: a song called “I Think I’m A Bunny.”

David Rees – I Believe in Pasta: David Rees has a progressive new idea in the kindie space: album merged with iPad app. Beyond being an innovative idea, this experienced composer has also created a charming bunch of pasta-themed tunes for kids.

Jason Riley – Funky Folk: If you are yet to explore instrumental music with your kids, here is an interesting way to start. Riley takes on well-known songs like “Camptown Races” in genres like jazz, blues, funk and, when the album really shines, bluegrass.

The Que Pastas – Debut E.P.: If you have a penchant for the weird (as I do), you will love the debut (free) EP from this Denver duo. Quirky and catchy, this is not your average kindie band, and I look forward to seeing what batch of original recipes the ‘Pastas’ cook up next.

The art of the music video is generally lost on today’s youth. While the occasional video from OK Go or the like may attract some viral attention, today’s teen looks to MTV for reality programming like Jersey Shore or 16 and Pregnant. In general, unlike my generation, today’s millennials are not tuning in to see the world premiere of a video by a breakthrough artist to admire the new special effects, styles or dance moves. MTV has shifted so far away from its original purpose of featuring the work of new and favorite music artists that it recently dropped the “Music Television” caption.

Entrepreneurs Randall Green and Dan Gellert may be in position to change to change this dying art form.

These two gentlemen realized their two preschool-aged girls were absolutely in love with music. However, there was no way these dads were going to allow themselves to listen to irritating kids’ tunes. So, tapping into the growing kindie scene, they decided to launch their own online music video and radio station for kids, jitterbug.tv.

Jitterbug.tv is a one-stop destination for independent children’s musicians to share their music videos and songs, and for parents to introduce quality music to their kids. The sites offers both streaming videos and songs, all congregated in one location to avoid endless YouTube and web radio surfing.

One thing that amazed me when surfing through the videos on this site was the imagination and work put into the music videos. From the candy-colored world of The Jimmies videos, to Gustafer Yellowgold’s original animated pieces to the low budget-and-endearing Recess Monkey shorts, music videos have become an essential part of the kindie scene. As the scene itself grows, and music videos get more viewings, jitterbug may be a key contributor to the rebirth of the format as well as the growing kindie music genre as a whole.

Co-founder Dan Gellert, also a Grammy award winner and music industry veteran, was kind enough to answer a few questions for me. Check out his Nugget Island interview below.

Nugget Island: What has been the general reaction from the artist community?
Dan Gellert: Most artists have been enthusiastic to get involved with jitterbug. Many artists contact us to get posted. I think they know the audience is totally focused on kids’ music, so it’s a good place to show your videos and music. And we are all for promoting great artists.

N.I.: Were you a big music video fan as a youth?
D.G.: I was not a big music video fan actually. I’ve always appreciated a well-crafted song, whether it be a pop production or a loose folky song – if it is well put together, I pay attention. I think a video can enhance a song, especially today when video is integrated in our online life so much. I’ve noticed toddlers love the music videos but given the right context, they really pay attention to songs with no videos also.

N.I.: How have your daughters reacted to this site?
D.G.: My daughter asks for jitterbug by name – and that is the goal, for jitterbug to enter the fabric of toddlers parents’ lives and be the starting place to find fun music and videos.

N.I.: Looking at the music industry, are there any business models that you respect or admire?
D.G.: I think the business model of offering part of a service for free and having a premium service that people pay for is a good model.

N.I.: What advice would you give to a family music artist trying to make a name for themselves in the industry?
D.G.: First, write music that is honest and appeals to parents and kids. Don’t try too hard to make it “kid friendly”; the kids comprehend more than we know. If you are serious about getting into this niche, there are many internet tools to help you market to your audience, distribute your music, gather fans…. a good starting point for the Do It Yourself artist is here: http://www.topspinmedia.com/

N.I.:Where do you see the kindie scene going in the next few years?
D.G.: My crystal ball tells me the Kindie music niche is going to keep growing and more artists will start making a living at it. I think the production quality will become better and more “venues” will pop up to accommodate all those enthusiastic toddlers with parents.

N.I.: Any future plans for jitterbug you are comfortable sharing?
D.G.: Jitterbug is going into phase 2, which will be rolling out more features on the website, more fan engagement and interacting with mobile devices as well as helping more artists promote themselves.

Check out jitterbug now!

Halloween is my holiday. As a horror movie junkie and a lover of all things creepy, crawly and spooky, I absolutely delight in a day of the year where everyone of all ages accepts a little macabre into their manor.  Sure, it has to be down-aged for the little ones, but as soon as the decorations appear in stores, I am ready to celebrate.

schnitzer2
G-Rated Boos from Schnitzer

As my blog clearly demonstrates, I also enjoy celebrating quality and entertaining music with my daughter. So when All Hallows Eve comes around, it is an essential to find songs that match the season. As Maia is only three, I have to be somewhat selective in fright-themed tunes, but with wonderful sites like  Zooglobble.com, Kidsmusic.about.com, gooney bird kids, and Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child to guide me, we can get quite the playlist going. Here are a few songs to add to your mix this season.

Kindie Blood Curdles

“Howling at the Moon” by The Hipwaders -  This California kindie trio offers a fun werewolf tale that will inspire some backseat howling.

“Boo, Cackle, Trick or Treat” by Sue Schnitzer - A fun folk ditty from Sue’s full album of Halloween songs for kids.

“The Day After Halloween” by The Sippy Cups – We fell in love with this song last year, as well as its accompanying video. Another kindie superstar band, the song comes from their EP One Day Soon.

“The Edison Museum” by They Might Be Giants – This song is on their No! album. A spooky ditty  about a haunted mansion, this track will be creeping the kiddies out all year.

The Gabba gang plays dress up
Give them something good to eat

“A Monster Goes Rrraargh!” by ScribbleMonster & His Pals – This hard rocker from Chicago-area kindie quintet ScribbleMonster will have the little ones practicing their best monster growls well past the season of scares.

“Moogie Monster Man” by Kevin Kammeraad and Friends – Off Kevin’s 50+ track collection The Tomato Collection: The Big Album, this is less a Halloween song and more a celebration of make-pretend monsters.

“Monster Face” by Roger Day- Doing his best Pee-Wee Herman voice, Day demands all the kids make their best monster face and then dance, dance, freeze.

“Skeleton Song” by Mary Kaye – Maine-based Mary Kaye has created a delightfully quirky Halloween song with some fun xylophone instrumentation and mouth sound effects.

“Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet” by Monty Harper – Oklahoma-based children’s performer Harper tells a (kid-safe) creepy tale of a troll who exacts revenge on a house with no candy left.

Assorted Halloween Songs from Yo Gabba Gabba – In case you missed the  Halloween-themed episode, it features some great music, both from the regular cast of characters, as well as musical guests Shiny Toy Guns and I Monster. We love these songs so much, we had to find a way to extract and save the songs from the episode after we purchased it on iTunes.

Adult Supervision Recommended

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Zacherley cooks up Halloween fun in the lab

“Ghoul Bash” by Eban Schletter featuring Dave Gruber Allen – This composer/songwriter has brought a team of talent on board for his more adult-skewing album Witching Hour. Jill Sobule, Dave Foley, Paul F. Tompkins, Grant Lee Phillips and Tom Kenny (aka Spongebob Squarepants) all show up on various Halloween-themed tracks.

“Halloween Dance” by Reverend Horton Heat , “No Costume, No Candy” by The Swingin’ Neckbreakers – Both of these songs are from the Rob Zombie-produced compilation Halloween Hootenanny. While his adult efforts (both film and music) aren’t exactly family fare, these hard rocking songs are safe for your Halloween shuffle mix.

“Thriller” by Michael Jackson – ‘Tis the season to appreciate all things MJ.  Like most people in my age bracket, I was a bit traumatized by this video as a kid. Regardless, the song is relatively harmless, as long as the Vincent Price voice-over doesn’t unnerve any young ears.

Classic Cuts

“Monster Mash” by Bobby “Boris” Pickett and “The Purple People Eater” by Sheb Wooley - As a kid, these songs drove me crazy. Now, it is with tongue in cheek that I share them with my daughter..

“Which Witch is Which” from Walt Disney Record’s Halloween Songs & Sounds - Pulled f

Disney scares
Disney scares

rom a Disney novelty record, this track will entertain the Mickey lovers in the minivan.

“This is Halloween” by Danny Elfman (Nightmare Before Christmas OST) – While the accompanying images from the film may be a bit too intense for younger kids, the song itself has become a seasonal classic.

“Zombie Jamboree (Back To Back)” by Harry Belafonte – The “King of Calypso” sings about the undead in one of my favorite songs from these picks.  While you are at it, pick up the whole Belafonte collection for the rest of the year.

Halloween Detox (Or,  how to “unspook” your child through the power of music)

“Under My Bed” by Recess Monkey – Seattle kindie band (and teachers by day) turn the monster-under-bed story on its side with this not-so-scary story song.

“Soaper the Scaredy-Bot” by The Jimmies – Let Ashley Albert and co. remind your little ones not to be afraid of silly things with this irresistible kids’ tune that will distract them from that evil ghoul in the closet.

“Maybe the Monster” by Justin Roberts – This song, from the popular Chicago children’s singer-songwriter, is just one of the many songs out there to help kids remember that monsters are “make pretend.”

Happy Halloween!

“Coolest Little Monster ” by John Zacherley – Many of the (quite humorous) lyrics from the song will go over heads of little ones, but any song from this TV horror host personality is a must for the season.

This is a special “guest” post from my wife Michelle, a talented writer, wonderful mom and my pop culture partner-in-crime.  I wanted to call her Mama Nugget. She declined.

The conversation went soemthign like this: Nurse: Do you like Hannah Montana stickers? Maia: No. Who’s that? Me: She’s a girl on TV who sings and has concerts. Maia: Like Ashley, Mama? Me: Yes, like Ashley. Nurse (to me): She doesn’t know Hannah Montana? Good. Keep it that way. That Miley Cyrus with her YouTube videos and slutty clothes and makeup, she is headed for trouble. She’s no role model. Nurse (to Maia): Do you want princess stickers instead? Maia: YES!
At this doctor’s visit, the complicated issues surrounding providing good role models for our daughter presented themselves in full force. This concept of a role model is not something I think I fully prepared myself for when I first rejoiced over finding out I was having a baby girl, and it’s definitely something I’ll continue to wrestle with. Maia has become infected with the Princess bug, despite our initial struggle to keep her immune to it. And I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Sure, there’s plenty of research out there about the negative effects of the Princess Phenomenon. From the focus on beauty to the notion of the damsel in distress, the messages aren’t so hot for a young girl in a modern world. After meeting their prince only once, the princesses fall head over heels in love and want only to get married. No education, no career goals, no desire to do charity work or travel the globe. Yuck. And let me also add that Maia categorizes princess paraphenalia into “real princess stuff” (Disney) and “the fake ones” (sometimes equally beautiful books, crowns, etc.). And she usually only wants the real stuff. Go Disney.  But I am losing a battle, one which I’m not so sure I actually am even fighting very hard, or even want to call a battle at all. The smile that comes over my daughter’s face when she sees princess toothpaste or a box of princess raisins is one I’m not interested in squelching. I don’t know how or why this particular property thrills her in this way, but the bottom line is, it does, and I love seeing my daughter thrilled. Fairy tales have been around since the beginning of time, I think, and they’ve always told these stories. I heard them as a kid, and I still grew up to be a money-earning, home-owning, relatively confident woman who uses the hammer and screwdriver much more than my husband. The princess tales may infultrate her well-being to a certain extent, but all I can do as a mother is make sure I counteract any of that stereotypical girl stuff with other role models, giving Maia a wide variety of options. She will hopefully learn lessons about friendship and hope just as much as she learns any other negative lesson from the princess tales, and she won’t only have Ariel and Cinderella to look up to. Enter Ashley, mentioned above in the doctor’s office conversation. Ashley is Ashley Albert of the kids’ band The Jimmies, and she is Maia’s hero. She may be playing with princess dolls, but she is often making Belle sing and dance to songs like “It’s Cool to be Uncool” or “Bedhead.” And beyond that, when she talks about what she wants to wear, or who she wants to be like when she grows up, her answer is not “Cinderella,” it’s “Ashley.” She doesn’t see the Princesses she loves as real people, but she imitates the dance moves and even the expressions that she sees and hears on The Jimmies’ “Trying Funny Stuff” DVD – the first DVD from the kindie rock band, which features music videos, a live concert and a behind the scenes documentary. I catch her in the living room singing along with the concert, watching Ashley intently, flipping her hair and wiping the sweat off of her lip just like Ashley. She knows all the words, the order of the concert’s songs, and all the right moves. We even had to buy a new copy of the DVD, because Maia scratched it when she tried to shove it into the DVD player without opening the player first, because she wanted it to watch it and nobody was immediately there to help her put it in. I have a feeling that if Maia were to watch Hannah Montana, she’d like it. But the nurse was right – mainstream, tabloid-followed, trying to be cool, popular rich and famous kids might not be the best influences on Maia. Kids’ singers like Ashley Albert fly below the tabloid radar (though word is she’s getting a photo shoot for Women’s Day magazine!) but are still glamorous and amazingly cool to Maia. Maia has always had a love for music, and a talent for it too, I think, and I am nothing but happy that she wants to follow in the footsteps of someone like Ashley, who has fantastic talent and lots of wit too. She’s beautiful, without overdoing it. She wears fun, poofy dresses without the diamonds and crowns. And she puts herself out there, laughing at herself, being silly and having a great time while performing. The behind-the-scenes documentary really displays what a passionate, hard worker Ashley is, creating many of the sets and props for her amazingly elaborate music videos. It’s not meant to do that – it’s both a hysterical and honestly educational piece of the DVD that I love to watch – but it is teaching Maia some lessons about what it takes to be like Ashley while it makes her (and me) laugh. We did get to meet Ashley in person, though I fear that Maia was too young to remember it, even now. When we did, Maia was shy and didn’t want to get the photo opp Matt and I wanted, but in the end I think she was just in awe. She didn’t know what to do with herself once she actually met her idol in person, the way any of us might react. But as role models go, I’ll take Ashley any day.

The conversation went something like this:

Nurse: Do you like Hannah Montana stickers?
Maia: No. Who’s she?
Me: She’s a girl on TV who sings and has concerts.
Maia: Like Ashley, Mama?
Me: Yes, like Ashley.
Nurse (to me): She doesn’t know Hannah Montana? Good. Keep it that way. That Miley Cyrus with her YouTube videos and risque clothes and makeup, she is headed for trouble. She’s no role model.
Nurse (to Maia): Do you want princess stickers instead?
Maia: YES!

At this doctor’s visit, the complicated issues surrounding providing good role models for our daughter presented themselves in full force. This concept of a role model is not something I think I fully prepared myself for when I first rejoiced over finding out I was having a baby girl, and it’s definitely something with which I’ll continue to wrestle. Maia has become infected with the Princess bug, despite our initial struggle to keep her immune to it. And I’m still not sure how I feel about it. Sure, there’s plenty of research out there about the negative effects of the Princess Phenomenon. From the focus on beauty to the notion of the damsel in distress, the messages aren’t so hot for a young girl in a modern world. After meeting their prince only once, the princesses fall head over heels in love and want only to get married. No education, no career goals, no desire to do charity work or travel the globe. Yuck.

But I am losing a battle, one which I’m not so sure I actually am even fighting very hard, or even want to call a battle at all. The smile that comes over my daughter’s face when she sees Princess toothpaste or a box of Princess raisins is one I’m not interested in squelching. I don’t know how or why this particular property thrills her in this way, but the bottom line is, it does, and I love seeing my daughter thrilled. Fairy tales, whether told by Disney or not, have been around since the beginning of time, and they’ve lasted through the ages for some valid reason. I heard them as a kid, and I still grew up to be a money-earning, home-owning, confident woman who uses the hammer and screwdriver arguably more than my husband. The princess tales may infultrate her well-being to a certain extent, but all I can do as a mother is make sure I counteract any of that stereotypical girl stuff with other role models, giving Maia a wide variety of options. She will hopefully learn lessons about friendship, hope and generosity just as much as she learns any other negative lesson from the princess tales, and she won’t only have Ariel and Cinderella to look up to.

Ashley Albert and Punxsutawney Phil
Ashley Albert and Punxsutawney Phil

Which brings me back to Ashley, mentioned above in the doctor’s office conversation. Ashley is Ashley Albert of the kids’ band The Jimmies, and she is Maia’s true idol. She may be playing with princess dolls, but she is often making Belle sing and dance to songs like “It’s Cool to be Uncool” or “Bedhead.” And beyond that, when she talks about what she wants to wear, or who she wants to be like when she grows up, her answer is not “Cinderella,” it’s “Ashley.” She doesn’t see the Princesses she loves as real people, but she imitates the dance moves and even the expressions that she sees and hears on The Jimmies’ “Trying Funny Stuff” DVD – the first DVD from the kindie rock band, which features music videos, a live concert and a behind-the-scenes documentary. I catch her in the living room singing along with the concert, watching Ashley intently, flipping her hair and wiping the sweat off of her lip just like Ashley. She knows all the words, the order of the concert’s songs, and all the right moves. We even had to buy a new copy of the DVD after Maia decided she didn’t want to wait for mom or dad and tried to shove the disc into the player,  essentially runing it.

I have a feeling that if Maia were to watch a Hannah Montana performance, she’d like it. But the nurse was right – mainstream, tabloid-ready, rich and famous kids might not be the best influences on Maia. Kids’ singers like Ashley Albert fly below the tabloid radar but are still glamorous and amazingly cool to Maia. Maia has always had a love for music, and a talent for it too, I think, and I am nothing but happy that she wants to follow in the footsteps of someone like Ashley, who has fantastic talent and lots of wit too. She’s beautiful, without overdoing it. She wears fun, poofy dresses without the diamonds and crowns. And she puts herself out there, laughing at herself, being silly and having a great time while performing. The behind-the-scenes documentary really displays what a passionate, hard worker Ashley is, creating many of the sets and props for her amazingly elaborate music videos. It’s not meant to do that – it’s both a hysterical and honestly educational piece of the DVD that I love to watch – but it is teaching Maia some lessons about what it takes to be like Ashley while it makes her (and me) laugh.

As far as role models go, I’ll take Ashley any day. Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora and company may inspire her love for pink and storytelling, but role models like this unselfconscious musician teach a young girl to forget poise and posture and celebrate her beautiful, quirky, unique self.

All attention on her idol
All attention on her idol at live Jimmies event
Ashley & the Band
Ashley & the band

We have two nightly, alternating bedtime traditions in our house.

1. Storytime

Life’s a party in The Jimmies’ videos. Life's a party in The Jimmies' videos.

2. “Watching Music”

While the first in pretty self-explanatory, the latter may need some clarification.

Maia is a music-junkie, and enjoys anything to which she can sing, dance or rock out. Once upon a time, after streaming an episode of Caillou, we showed her a music video on YouTube and a nightly tradition was born.

“Watching Music” now consists of firing up the laptop and watching kindie-centric music videos available online. Alternatively, we have also ripped some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs onto an iPod for her to enjoy on shuffle mode. We call it her own little MTV, minus the bad reality shows.

Believe it or not, there is an ample amount of resources online for finding kid-targeted music videos. Here are a few ways to get your own kiddie music video network going in your house.

Jitterbug.tv – This online destination strictly shows music videos for kids.  It is a great resource and one we have used often to find new artists and new videos.

GimmieJimmies.com (Video Page) - One can spend multiple nights just watching the videos on this site. The detail, artistry and sheer fun put into each video by this NYC-based band has to be seen to believe.  There should be a kids category at the VMAs based on their videos alone.

Zooglobble’s YouTube Channel - Stefan Shepherd’s Zooglobble website is well known by kindie music lovers worldwide. He has also set up a YouTube channel as well with links to hours of music videos and live performances of kids and family music.

“Jack’s Big Music Show” Music Videos – You are sure to chance upon one of the many  music videos from this show on JitterBug or Zooglobble. However, this is a one-stop source for the music videos pulled from this show.  (Maia’s favorite video, Lisa Loeb’s Jenny Jenkins, comes from this show.)

Xilisoft DVD Convertor Software – Taking some of Maia’s favorite music DVDs, we have used this software to rip individual files onto our iPod so we can also watch videos on the “big screen.”

Some of the ripped DVDs in our private iPod mix include:

PokeyPup – This is a great place to shop for music DVDs, as it concentrates on kids entertainment only.

Below are a few of our favorites videos for the sampling.

Lisa Loeb – Jenny Jenkins

Gwendolyn and the Good Time Gang – Farm Animal Friends

Justin Roberts – Pop Fly

Renee & Jeremy – It’s a Big World

The Jimmies – Cool To Be Uncool