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Fids & Kamily 2016 & Best of the Decade

For those of you new to family music, Fids & Kamily is a yearly poll that compiles the lists of the year’s favorite kids and family music. Music bloggers, radio hosts, etc. They keep letting me vote, so I keep voting. And a couple weeks ago they released the results.

Before we take a look at 2016, let’s take a look back at the last 10 years.


Here is how the committee vetted out.

Here’s a look at my “Best of the Decade” ballot:

1. Dan Zanes and Friends – Catch That Train!
2. Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band – A Potluck
3. Justin Roberts – Jungle Gym
4. The Pop Ups – Radio Jungle
5. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Can You Canoe?
6. Gustafer Yellowgold – Gustafer Yellowgold’s Infinity Sock
7. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – Underground Playground
8. Frances England – Mind of My Own
9. Caspar Babypants – Sing Along!
10. They Might Be Giants – Here Come the 123s
11. The Deedle Deedle Dees – Strange Dees, Indeed
12. Josh and the Jamtones – Rocksteady
13. Lori Henriques – The World Is a Curious Place To Live
14. Dan Zanes and Friends – Little Nut Tree
15. Justin Roberts – Lullaby
16. Recess Monkey – The Final Funktier
17. The Not-Its – Raise Your Hand
18. Various Artists – Science Fair
19. Medeski, Martin & Wood – Let’s Go Everywhere
20. Ozomatli – Ozomatli Presents OzoKidz

And now for 2016. Here’s how the panel of judges voted.

Here is my 2016 Fids & Family ballot:

1. Frances England – Explorer of the World
2. The Okee Dokee Brothers – Saddle Up: A Western Adventure Album
3. Secret Agent 23 Skidoo – Infinity Plus One
4. Sonia De Los Santos – Mi Viaje: De Nuevo León to the New York Island
5. Dean Jones – In My Dreams
6. The Not-Its! – Are You Listening?
7. Moona Luna – Panorama
8. Sugar Free Allstars – Sugar Free Allstars
9. The Deedle Deedle Dees – Sing-A-Long History Vol. 2: The Rocket Went Up!
10. Mista Cookie Jar – Music Is Everywhere

If you haven’t already, please take a listen to some of these wonderful records and support independent music for families. 

Behind the B3: On the Road Again

**CAPTAIN’S LOG: SATURDAY, JANUARY 18TH 2013, 2330 hours**

I found the simple life ain’t so simple, when I jumped out on the road – VH

No truer words have been spoken Mr. Roth, no truer words indeed. As a matter of fact I’m on the road with Sugar Free Allstars at this exact moment – heading east on I-40 toward Gallup, New Mexico where we will be playing the last show of a 10 day tour that also included Phoenix, Arizona and Los Angeles, California – so it’s only fitting that I should be thinking about the challenges of touring. Touring is hard physically, mentally and emotionally, but if you want to expand into new markets and build a fanbase outside of your home area you have to do it. It’s fun and exhausting all at the same time. It can be something of a paradox because when you’ve been at home for a long period of time you start itching to get back out on the road, but as soon as you’re on the road you just want to get it all over with and come home. You miss your family, your home, your friends, sleeping in your own bed, home cooked meals, but it’s really fun exploring new places, meeting new people, playing for new fans and old fans you haven’t gotten to see in a while.

Until I had to do it, I never realized just how much work goes into booking a tour. Months of preparation went into putting together this one and it only lasted 10 days. You have to find your venues, make contact with their talent buyers, work out dates that make sense with routing, negotiate a fee, confirm and/or contract the shows, promote the shows (through all social media, emails, reaching out to friends/family in each town, sending posters, etc, etc) and when that’s all done you have to find places to stay while on the road. It is a lot of work and there is never a guarantee that something won’t go wrong along the way, whether it’s issues with the touring vehicle (an all-too-common issue for most bands), shows falling through, band member illness, or any number of problems.

Sounds like more trouble than it’s worth right? Well maybe on paper, but the experiences and benefit gained from touring usually outweigh the amount of work that goes into putting them together. Because we have so many friends, family and fellow Kindie artists that are willing to help in any way they can, it makes all the work so much easier. Just a few examples are: on this tour we didn’t have to worry about having a place to stay in L.A. for our first several days there because our great friend and fellow Kindie musician Heidi Swedberg opened her home to us and even cooked several amazing meals! The venue we played in Santa Monica, McCabe’s, was recommended to us by another good friend and awesome Kindie musician Lucky Diaz – it was through his introduction and referral that we were able to build a relationship with the venue (I also got to catch part of a Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band show at The Grove while in town and man, they rock so hard!). Our new friend and family musician Birdie Mendoza organized a potluck get together with other musicians including David Tobocman where we all got to enjoy great food and make music together. We also met Mista Cookie Jar as well as Rodney Lee from Groove Kid Nation for the first time at our McCabe’s show, and ALL the family musicians mentioned thus far helped promote our appearances – the Kindie community really is like none I’ve experienced before and we thoroughly enjoy all of the personal and professional relationships we have developed on this journey!

So we’re closing in on home and about to finish up this westward run that we’ve been on for the last 10 days. As difficult as it can be to put together and be gone for so long it, was worth it on this trip. We had fantastic shows everywhere we played, moved some merchandise, made some new fans – basically what you hope all tours turn out to be like. That being said, we are so ready to be home and not in a moving vehicle for a good while. But before long we’ll be back out there again, maybe somewhere close to you! Until next time, that’s life on the road from Behind the B3…..


New Video: Mista Cookie Jar, ‘Happy Place’

Full disclosure: During Mista Cookie Jar’s Kindiefest showcase, I leaned over to Jeff Bogle and unleashed a flurry of expletives that ended with the words “I’m in hell.” Between his aggressively chintzy visual vibe (Cheap sunglasses!

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Roller skates! Vintage clothes!) and Gabba-esque retro sonic aesthetic, the whole thing felt like second-rate Deee-Lite to me.

So maybe it was just the (alarmingly poor) sound at the venue talking, I don’t know, but now that I’m watching the video for Mista’s new single “Happy Place”…

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well, I have to say I like it. There’s still a fair amount of visual shtick involved, but there are clearly plenty of hooks in the cookie jar, and the production is loaded with plenty of radio-ready brightness without sacrificing warmth.

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I’ll be checking out the new album, Ultramagnetic Universal Love Revolution, when it drops on May 8. Visit Mista Cookie Jar’s site for more information, and watch the video here: