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Beth Blenz-Clucas blogs about music for kids that grownups will love too

One of the most exciting new releases for kids this year so far is from Farmer Jason. Jason Ringerberg is an internationally touring artist who built a huge fan base in the 1980s as frontman for the cow punk band Jason and the Scorchers, for which he won a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Americana Music Association. These days, Jason spends most of his time as the kid-friendly host of an Emmy Award winning Nashville Public TV series and touring as Farmer Jason. He just released Nature Jams with the brand new Universal Music label myKaZoo Music. Jason’s new songs point to the fun and excitement of being in nature, enjoying active pursuits like hiking and canoeing, and appreciating animals. Jason corralled an amazing lineup of guest artists to record these energetic songs, including Mike Mills of REM, Iris Dement, Brandi Carlile, Hank Williams III and Todd Snider, just to name a few. The excitement continues with Farmer Jason’s music videos, which rotate regularly on the new music video channel for kids, myKaZootv.

One of my favorite songs is “Spelunker,” which features Tom Petersson of Cheap Trick fame (“Surrender,” “Dream Police”). Check out Tom’s crazy-good guitar riffs as he joins Farmer Jason and the kids for an underground adventure:

A cave is not the first place you might think of to bring the kids, but these deep, dark and damp places offer mystery and adventure. If you haven’t already, I recommend taking the whole family to see Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams. This is a film with resonance  – you’ll be thinking about it long after Herzog’s weird ruminations about albino crocodiles are done.

Indie music darling Laura Veirs recently plumbed the deep history of children’s and folk music when she collected and recorded several traditional songs for her first (and perhaps only) CD for kids, Tumble Bee. Veirs is primarily recognized for her haunting songwriting for adults, as witnessed in her lovely 2010 release July Flame. One of the songs on her 2005 album Year of Meteors, expresses a hesitance at allowing the beloved in to see the weird and dark elements at the depth of one’s soul. “Spelunking” is not exactly a kid-friendly little tune, but it is lovely, and expresses the sort of hesitancy we all feel in embarking on any close relationship:

“If I took you darling
To the caverns of my heart
Would you light the lamp dear?”

Beth Blenz-Clucas is a Portland-based mom and musical bystander. When she’s not trying to convince a journalist to listen to the latest indie kids’ music CD, she’s enjoying the fact that she no longer needs to find a babysitter to enjoy the vibrant Northwest music scene. Check out more of her writing at Sugar Mountain PR.

Photo by Andrea Searcy

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