The Fids & Kamily Awards: THE GIRLS’ FAVORITES

Last month, I talked about some of the winners of the Fids & Kamily poll ( that I helped put together, focusing on the artists that seem to resonate the most with my son Liam. This month, let’s take a look at the favorites of my daughter Ella. As with last month, they’re all great for girls or boys. Your mileage may vary. Here they are, with their rankings in the poll indicated:

2. Elizabeth Mitchell – You Are My Little Bird The latest kids’ album from Mitchell (of the grown-up band Ida) doesn’t break any huge new ground over her previous records, and that’s just fine. These are intimate, warm, and more or less perfect songs. The addition of her daughter singing just adds shivers (good shivers). Her cover of Lou Reed’s “What Goes On” is exactly right, and “Little Liza Jane” is, in its own small way, amazing.

3. Dan Zanes – Catch That Train! No big surprise to see Zanes up here on the list. The former Del Fuego released a satisfying CD in Catch That Train! with a collection of diverse styles that never feels forced. Listening, you might start feeling that you stumbled into an impromptu jam session among your friends… if your friends happened to be incredibly talented musicians and songwriters. Plus: Trains!

7. The Jellydots – Hey You Kids! No album this year had a better opening song than the Austin, Texas-based Jellydots’ “Bicycle,” evoking the joy of being on a bike whether you’re a kid or a grown-up. And who hasn’t wanted to ride a bicycle in the sky? The album is high-energy but not hyper, with lyrics that your kids can relate to and that will make you smile. As I noted, this and Frances England’s were my favorite albums of 2006.

8. Charity and the JAMband – Rock Your Socks Off Another Bay-area artist, Charity Kahn, a classically trained pianist, flautist, vocalist, and butter sculptor (okay, I made up the last one), formed the JAMband after her movement and music classes were hugely successful. And this record is all about movement – you and your kids will be clearing the furniture and dancing. The music is, as you might think, essentially a kid-friendly jam band (no 25-minute “Dark Stars” here) with terrific performances. It’s tough to get the vibe of a jam band in a studio, and even tougher to make jam bands fun for kids, but it happens here.

10. Terri Hendrix – Celebrate the Difference Based outside Austin, Texas, Hendrix’s Celebrate the Difference is her first formal foray into kids’ music, though she’s been playing music that most everyone can enjoy for over a decade. This record wanders genres, from fairly traditional folk to country to reggae to punk to, in “Get Your Goat On,” what the Asylum Street Spankers’ Wammo, another Texan, calls “hick-hop.” While that kind of variation in genres usually makes for a wide variety of mediocrity, Hendrix seems completely at home in each one. The lyrics are straightforward but not condescending, with a lot about farm life and goats. I never realized that goats could be such a source for lyrics, but I’m happy to be proven wrong.

Bill Childs is a law professor in western Massachusetts. He and his 7-year-old daughter produce a kids’ music radio show, “Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child,” weekly; check it out at Contact him at [email protected] and tell him other artists he should know about