Phil’s Picks’ 2021 Top New Family Music Albums Shows The Present, Future Of The Genre

Courtesy: Uniroo Records

The genre that is family music is one that has always stood out from the rest other genres that make up the musical universe.  That is because by and large the music that fills that space is constantly so diverse even as the lyrical themes in so many songs are largely the same.  Even being so much the same from one song to the next, the themes are important because they promote individuality, self-confidence, creativity, and so many other items that are key not only for personal growth and development in younger people, but for continued development in older audiences.  To that end, those themes are just as accessible for younger listeners as for their more seasoned counterparts.  In the same vein, the diversity in the genre’s musical content is just as enjoyable if not more so.  That is because honestly, more often than not, it is more diverse than in so much mainstream music for older audiences.  At the same time, it will again, more often than not, appeal to such a wide range of audiences.  Keeping all of this in mind, the world of family music really is just as deserving of having its own list of top new albums as any other genre, and that is why this critic has continued to present exactly that for so many years.

This year is no different from past years, either.  This year was another successful one in the family music world.  New albums from veterans, such as Laurie Berkner, Koo Koo Kanga Roo, and Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band joined new records from up-and-comers, such as Ben Tatar & The Tatar Tots, Twinkle, and Stacey Peasley among many other established acts.  All in all, this year’s field of new family music albums represented the present and future of the genre very nicely, as today’s list will show.

Keeping in mind everything noted about the importance of the content in every family music record, developing a list of the year’s top new albums in the genre is never easy.  This critic tried, though.  The result of those efforts is this critic’s view of the year’s top 10 best family music albums and five additional honorable mentions, for a total of 15 new offerings.  So without any further ado, here for your consideration is Phil’s Picks 2021 Top 10 New Family Music Albums.


  1. Koo Koo Kanga Roo – Slow Clap
  2. The Story Pirates – The Strawberry Band
  3. Sarah Watkins – Under The Pepper Tree
  4. The Bright Siders – A Mind of Your Own
  5. Lucky Diaz & The Family Jam Band—Crayon Kids
  6. Laurie Berkner – Let’s Go
  7. Twinkle – It’s OK To Be Me
  8. Gordie “Crazylegs” MacKeeman – Folk For Little Folk Vol. 1
  9. Tracy Bonham – Young Maestros Vol. 1
  10. Genevieve Goings – Great Indoors
  11. Tunes With Tim – We’re All Human
  12. Stacey Peasley – Make It Happen
  13. Jenn Cleary – All Together Now
  14. Kelli Welli – Let’s Go Pistachio
  15. Ben Tatar & The Tatar Tots – Seconds

That’s all for this year’s list of top new family music albums.  The new year is just around and the corner and no doubt, lots of new family music is coming with the new year, too.

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Tracy Bonham’s Debut Family Music Album Is A Great Tool For Elementary Level Music Educators

Grammy®-nominated rocker Tracy Bonham will make her first venture into the world of family music Friday when she releases her debut family music album, Young Maestros Vol. 1.  The 11-song record is short, clocking in at just 29 minutes, but still offers plenty for audiences of all ages to enjoy, not the least of which being its varied musical arrangements.  They will be discussed shortly.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s musical arrangements makes for its own share of enjoyment.  It will be discussed a little later.  The record’s sequencing rounds out its most important elements and will also be discussed later.  Each item noted here is important in its own way to the album’s presentation.  All things considered, they earn the album a spot on the list of 2021’s top new family music albums.

Tracy Bonham’s debut family music album, Young Maestros Vol. 1 is a work that leaves audiences looking forward to its follow-up in the best way possible.  That is proven in part through the record’s varied musical arrangements.  Throughout the course of the album’s nearly 30-minute run time, it presents listeners with arrangements whose stylistic approaches and sounds span the musical universe.  ‘Background Singers’ for instance takes listeners back to the golden age of Rhythm and Blues as it pays tribute to…well…background singers.   The subtle keyboard line, guitar, and bass join with the subtle vocals to present the noted stylistic approach and sound.  ‘Shake Like a Rattlesnake,’ which comes a little earlier in the album, uses its country music style sound and stylistic approach to conjure thoughts of country music legend Johnny Cash.  As a matter of fact, there is a moment in the song’s chorus and its refrains in which she will have listeners thinking of Cash’s timeless hit ‘Folsom Prison Blues.’  More specifically, her refrains sound like Cash’s as he sings in his chorus, “I hang my head and Cry.’  Cash isn’t the only country music legend to whom Bonham pays tribute in this record’s musical arrangements.  ‘Song Without an Ending’ immediately lends itself to thoughts of Hank Williams’ timeless song, ‘I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.’  As if that is not enough, Bonham even pays tribute to Julie Andrews with references to Andrews take on the big screen adaptation of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s The Sound of Music.  That is quite a wide spread of musical styles and arrangements, and it certainly does not end there.  When the varied arrangements and styles noted here are considered with the rest of the album’s musical content, the whole builds a solid foundation for the album.  Building on that foundation is the engagement and entertainment offered through the album’s equally diverse lyrical content.

The lyrical content featured alongside the album’s musical arrangements follows one central theme of music and music theory.  The matter is discussed through a variety of musical topics  ‘Big Beats,’ whose musical arrangement is a direct tribute to a certain well-known song from Sir Mix-a-Lot, and ‘Beats to a Measure’ are both songs that address basic counting in music.  ‘Feelin’ Pretty Major,’ with its throwback 1960s style pop rock style arrangement and sound, also notes beats.  It additionally approaches the topic of major and minor thirds, and other chord structures.  One of the most notable of the songs here, in terms of its music theory-related content comes early in the album in the form of ‘All The Blackbirds.’  The song is actually a unique pneumonic device meant to help young listeners who might be learning how to play piano.  Bonham does not immediately come out and make that clear.  Audiences have to listen close in order to catch the subtle connection, but it is there.  That Bonham could so creatively find a way to help young pianists develop their talent in this case is impressive.  Considering this, the other lyrical content noted here and the rest of the album’s lyrical content, the overall lyrical content featured in Young Maestros Vol. 1 does well in following the theme of the album’s title.  It and the album’s musical content collectively goes a long way toward making the album successful.  Even with this in mind, there is still at least one more item that makes the album work.  That last item is the record’s sequencing.

As already noted, the album’s musical arrangements are unique of one another throughout the course of its 29 minute run time.  The album’s lyrical content varies from on to the next, too, even as it centers on one central theme.  The record’s sequencing plays into that variety in both aspects.  It ensures that the content in both cases constantly changes, ensuring listeners’ engagement and entertainment.  At the same, the sequencing also ensures that the energy in the record’s songs stays stable from start to end.  That energy seems to stick within a specific range from one to the next, never getting too slow and soft or too fast and loud.  That the energy remains so stable throughout shows even more why the record’s sequencing is so important.  When that overall importance is considered with the importance of the record’s overall content, it makes the album’s overall presentation even more engaging and entertaining.  All things considered, the record more than proves it deserves a spot among this year’s top new family music albums.

Tracy Bonham’s debut family music album, Young Maestro’s Vol. 1 is an impressive first family outing for the Grammy®-nominated rocker.  Its positives start in its musical content.  That content proves diverse throughout, reaching across the musical universe.  It features some country and bluegrass alongside some kindie pop and even R&B and hip-hop.  This alone ensures a wide appeal among audiences.  The lyrical content that accompanies the album’s music arrangement is diverse in its own right.  That is even as it follows one central lyrical theme.  The diverse lyrical content featured here touches on basic music theory concepts, making it a great tool for any elementary level music educator.  The sequencing of all of the noted content puts the finishing touch to the recording, bringing everything full circle.  That is because it ensures the record’s content changes up constantly.  Each item noted is important in its own way to this album.  All things considered, the album proves itself an enjoyable new family music offering that will appeal to a wide range of listeners.  Young Maestros Vol. 1 is scheduled for release Friday through Melodeon Music.

Pre-orders for Bonham’s new album are open now.

More information on Tracy Bonham’s new single, video and album is available along with her latest news at:




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Tracy Bonham Debuts New Single, ‘Me Symphony,’ Companion Video

Courtesy: Melodeon Music

Tracy Bonham will release her debut children’s album this spring.

In anticipation of the release of the album, Young Maestros Vol. 1, — set for release April 16 — the Grammy-nominated rock star debuted the album’s lead single Friday in the form of ‘Me Symphony‘ along with its companion video.

The single debuted through BrooklynVegan. The song and album come through Bonham’s own label, Melodeon Music House.

The song features a musical arrangement that has a distinct New Orleans jazz style approach. That approach is especially evident in the song’s clarinet and horns. Bonham meanwhile sings alongside the instrumentation almost in the style of a stage performer.

The lyrical content that accompanies the song’s musical arrangement is a message of empowerment, according to comments that Bonham made during her interview with BrooklynVegan.

“I grew up with crippling insecurity as a child, especially when it came to expressing myself,” she said. “I would hide behind my mother’s legs if anyone approached me. The stage, on the other hand, was my place to express myself and not hide in the shadows, or behind instruments. If I can impart one thing to children it is that you do not have to hide or have the perfect instrument, or the perfect circumstance, to feel empowered and strong and use your voice”.

Pre-orders for Bonham’s new album are open now.

More information on Tracy Bonham’s new single, video and album is available along with her latest news at:




To keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at