Dad Music Video Has Fathers Singing “A Little Mermaid” Classic

This dad music video shows the transformative power of being a dad.  At, firefighters, Marines, cops, construction workers, scientists and other fathers belt out “Part of Your World” from the decidedly not-macho film A Little Mermaid. Technical difficulties left my multi-octave operatic part in this on the cutting-room floor, but these guys bring it home just fine.

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“Dad Jam” Marks Family Man’s Video-Writing Debut

In my ever-evolving partnership, I now present the dad video, “Dad Jam,” a tale of father ego gone wrong on the basketball court. Director/editor David Guest, producer Tom Riles, and photographer Louis De Barraicua worked with my script and a bunch of talented actors to produce this short video diversion for your entertainment. I even convinced my middle son to act the part of an alternatingly embarrassed-supportive son. It’s my video writing debut so please watch, comment, “Like” it, and share it with friends.

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Family Man Recommends: Children’s Music Reviews for September 2012

Reviewed by Gregory Keer

Everyone wants their information fast and to-the-point, so I’m going to file all my entertainment reviews under the FMR: Children’s Music Reviews heading for the fordseeable future. This month, I must begin with the release of The Magic School Bus: The Complete Series. While episodes still air on TV following its original 1990s run on PBS, this package of 8 DVDs is as worth owning as the Schoolhouse Rock series in the way that both are highly fun to watch while they educate. The Emmy-winning show is about an eccentric teacher (Ms. Frizzle, voiced by Lily Tomlin) who takes her students in the ever-morphing school bus on scientific field trips over land, in the sea, in space, and even inside the human body. My seven-year-old can’t stop watching and even my teenager had a viewing party with his buddies. An activity book and parent’s guide adds to the value of this edutainment powerhouse.

Toggling over to the music side, I’m particularly pumped about Ozomatli Presents Ozokids, the first child-oriented album from L.A.’s brilliant multicultural group, Ozomatli. Heavy on informative lyrics, liberal with the rhythm, and diverse in its musical styles, Ozokids offers everything from the hip-hop Latin sound of “Moose on the Loose” and the reggae-infused “Germs” to ’80s-style funk of “It’s Your Birthday” and the electonica “Sun and Moon.” The Emmy-winning ensemble, who are legendary for their live shows, manages to capture authentic musical richness on every track.

Multiculturalism is having a great month, as evidenced by Aaron Nigel Smith’s Welcome to the Village! This superb collection features not only great guest stars (such as Dan Zanes, Laurie Berkner, Lucky Diaz, and Secret Agent 23 Skidoo), but hundreds of child singers from cities around the U.S. and from a school near Nairobi, Kenya. This uplifting and mind-expanding album’s highlights include a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Man Gave Names,” a blues gem entitled “Copy Cat Scat,” and a gentle reggae version of Jewel’s “Hands.”

For the very young, I recommend a solo CD, Songs from the Sandbox, from Stephen Michael Schwartz, who made up one-third of children’s music hall-of-famers Parachute Express. Schwartz knows how to inspire imagination with nifty pop hooks, as shown on the lively “Statues Dance” and the swaying “Valentine Tree.”

Lastly, we have New York City-based Shira & Friends, who deliver a five-song EP called When You’re a Kid. Shira Kobren, a performer and music-and-movement teacher, makes a colorful splash on this high-energy recording. “Dance, Dance, Dance” stands out for its interactive theme of various kinds of dancing and “I Want a Monster” offers a rockin’ case for taking in a monstrous pet.

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Announcing Partnership Between Family Man & Life of Dad

Life of Dad-images (1)After a dozen years of writing for print and online, it’s time for Family Man to be set in motion with video! Announcing a partnership with, the Social Network for Dads. We’re going to collaborate on short films and other Web content. The work being done by Life of Dad’s Tom Riles, David Guest, and their talented crew is what results from being great human beings, dedicated parents, and really funny guys. I am excited at the possibilities of the partnership. See “The International Dadcathlon” and look for more in the months ahead. Please tell your friends via social networks!

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The International Dadcathlon Arrives with Olympics

Just in time for the Summer Olympics comes the debut of’s video The International Dadcathlon. Written and directed by father-teacher-filmmaker David Guest, this is an action-packed summary of a fake — but all too absurdly real for experienced fathers — multi-event competition. If you look carefully, you can see me making a fool of myself (nothing new there) as an Eastern European dad who gets a little overprotective of his daughter. Please watch, comment here and anywhere you can, and pass it along to friends.

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Family Man is Living the Life of Dad is a fatherhood site that not only creates community for dads online but also makes us laugh out loud with its take on modern parenting. The videos created by site founder and stand-up comedian Tom Riles and filmmaker-educator David Guest are seriously funny and true, especially the popular Dad-Chelor Party. This month, Tom is doing a “30 Dads, 30 Days” tour of male parenting types for the month of Father’s Day. I’m one of those dads, so check out my interview and let me know your own thoughts as a dad by posting your comments here.

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Family Man Recommends: Quick Picks for March 2012

Reviewed by Gregory Keer

Among the FMR: Quick Picks for this month is A Year in the Day, the new CD/DVD from the delightfully odd Gustafer Yellowgold. As with previous collections, these songs and videos are about a golden alien from the sun who comes to Minnesota, though this project’s theme involves holidays (both the usual and the unusual). Musicially, a little bit of The Beatles and Elliot Smith layers in with lyrics that could be from Dr. Seuss or William Joyce. If you haven’t gone Yellowgold before, this is a good one to try out.

Instrumental Dreamland is the latest release in the multicultural music series from Putumayo Kids. It’s an exquisite collection of bedtime tunes for kids (and relaxing music for adults, for that matter). Musicians from Brazil, Ireland, and Mali, among others, bring their skills (ranging from the guitar to the kora) to songs such as the familiar “What a Wonderful World” and “Brahm’s Lullaby” as well as the unique “O Filho Que Eu Quero Ter” and “Kouyate.”

For the very young, The Good Ms. Padgett Sings The Little Red Hen makes a fine choice for its combination of song and story. Anna Padgett tried out these tracks on her Brooklyn, NY, preschool students and the result is four stories — “The Little Red Hen,” “Goldilocks,” “Henny Penny,” and “The Billy Goats Gruff” — that are full of whimsy and intelligence. At just over 22 minutes, this is a great way to entertain little ones over and over again.

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Family Man Recommends: Quick Picks for February 2012

Reviewed by Gregory Keer

The month of Valentines would not be the same without sharing a few more albums I adore.

My first pick is from Katherine Dines, one of the very first family artists I had the chance to introduce to my children. WIth her gentle voice and developmentally focused songs, Dines is a perfect choice for babies and preschoolers, though a number of her tunes suit grade-schoolers as well. On her collection of best-loved songs, Hunk-ta-Bunk-ta…Music for Growing Families, some standouts include “All the Way Around the World,” “Dad on Diaper Duty,” and “Sweet Shakin’ Bed Quakin’ Belly Achin’ Wide Awake Blues.”

Farmer Jason, whose real name is Jason Ringenberg, has won a host of honors, including an Emmy award for the children’s program he did in Tennessee. It’s easy to see why this fella is so praised since his storytelling and bluegrass-based music is full of so much life. On Nature Jams, his ode to having a good ol’ time in the great outdoors, Farmer Jason is joined by special guests (including musicians from R.EM., The Black Crowes, and Cheap Trick) as he rollicks through “Can You Canoe,” “Dison the Bison,” and “Have You Ever” (with Brandi Carlile). A DVD accompanies the CD, making it twice the natural fun.

Stephen Simon has been making marvelous albums that blend stories with classicial music for the Maestro Classics series. Two recently released examples are The Soldiers Tale (featuring the music of Igor Stravinsky) and My Name is Handel (spotlighting the composer’s “Water Music”). Both of these productions will hold children (ages 5-12) spellbound as they listen, learn, and are moved by the music.

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Family Man Recommends: Quick Picks in Word, Image, and Sound

Celebrate Jewish Lullabies – Volume 1, featuring project producer Craig Taubman, fits any night of the year, but seems especially appropriate with the Jewish High Holy Days coming up this and next month. Check out soothing songs by the likes of Taubman, The Pop Ups, and David Broza.

More goodies come in the form of Sing Along, the new album from Caspar Babypants (the kid-music monicker for Chris Ballew, who had pop success with the Presidents of the United States of America). These are tunes for the baby to preschool set that are alternatingly funny, smart, and sweet. Guests include “Weird Al” Yankovic, Frances England, and Recess Monkey.

Family music legend Trout Fishing in America created a storybook and CD pairing for Chicken Joe Forgets Something Important. Musicians Keith Grimwood and Ezra Ildet are joined by illustrator Stephane Jorish for this witty and rousing project about a cat who sleeps in a henhouse but dreams of music rather than dinner.

Party Day! is The Laurie Berkner Band’s first DVD of new videos.The strumming and singing family music superstar (who is often featured on the Nick Jr. channel) delivers 12 videos and a five-song bonus CD, with the song “My Family” as a highlight.

My last recommendation for this FMR: Quick Picks edition is ScribbleMonster, a group I’m just catching up with as I just did with Look Both Ways, their tribute to Sesame Street. Sample such songs as “What Babies Are Called” and “Just Happy to Be Me.”

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