Music Box

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Out of the box…Music Box by Mary Kaye. The singer-songwriter’s rich voice and silly lyrics (she can make animal sounds like a pro) draw children in.
- Parenting Magazine

Children’s music performer Mary Kaye offers twelve original songs that capture children’s experience and imagination. In her slightly quirky style, her kid friendly voice has no pretension or affectations; her approach and her premise are child-like, not childish. Both her songs and her performance remind one of the nature based, early works of Buffy Sainte Marie, Donovan, and the Incredible String Band. Songs such as the playful “Bug,” the delicate “Red Cardinal” and the beautiful “Sea Water” embody a timeless quality and seem right in tune with the innocence and sense of wonder of childhood. Mary Kaye sings, plays guitar and wrote all the tracks; she is joined by Dave D’Aran on bass, keyboards and electric guitar, Andrew Beale on drums, and percussion, and the very tuneful kids of Mrs. Trite’s third grade class at Central Elementary School contributed backing vocals on three of the songs.
- Lahri Bond, Parents’ Choice (copyright 2009)

Children’s singer/songwriter Mary Kaye’s latest venture is filled with fantastic lyrics and vocals that balance between folk and alt rock stylings. Kaye infuses songs such as “Bug,” a tune about a bug that is captured in the house, taken outside, and set free, with a contagious melody that will have listeners singing along. Fun songs such as “Hot Chocolate Fairy” and “Tasting Tea” are among the 12 songs that frequently feature a children’s chorus that greatly enhances the pieces. Often the lyrics feel like poetry that is set to music as in “Sea Water,” which features delightful word play. Kaye’s powerful voice drives the beat on songs such as “Family,” but never overpowers the musicians or chorus. Sure to be a hit with parents and children, this collection would be a welcome addition to children’s music collections.
- School Library Journal

According to Maine singer and songwriter Mary Kaye, the world is a great big “music box of sound.” This CD, though just under 30 minutes in length, is full of sounds, short and poppy and long and wobbly. In “Tasting Tea,” “Turtley Turtleloo,” and “Hobbly Dobbly House,” for example, Kaye enthusiastically repeats syllables and tries out outlandish rhymes. Other tunes are equally fanciful, featuring characters in “Hot Chocolate Fairy” and “Robbie Robot” or sketching the attractions of “Sea Water” and “Sleepy Land.” … for those in the mood, this collection of a dozen sweet and charming songs goes down easy.
- Booklist

Music Box is a CD of charming tunes … delightfully upbeat album, highly recommended for children’ s library audio collections.
- The Midwest Book Review

Singer/songwriter Mary Kaye crept up on me, surprised me, and shook me hard with this treasure of a CD. Music Box is a 12-track gem that is a refreshing departure from anything else I have heard in the children’s music scene. I don’t know what is going on this month, but between this CD and Somersault Season (Laura Freeman), I feel like women are taking over the children’s music world. The unassuming cover of Music Box doesn’t exactly grab your attention, and the song titles, similarly unassuming, may not either. But once you listen to the songs, you get to the heart of Music Box, and that heart is Mary Kaye. Folksy and rootsy, Mary Kaye delivers songs that range from topics about a bug in the house (“Bug”) to what it’s like to be in a family (“Family”) to the beauty of a red cardinal in the snow (“Red Cardinal”). Like I said before, don’t let the simple, everyday song titles and subjects fool you. Mary Kaye is anything but predictable with her occasional, and sometimes unusual, departures from melody that add depth and character to her songs. With a voice unmistakable reminiscent of Joni Mitchell, Mary Kaye weaves stories around everyday happenings that children will relate to and enjoy completely. The musicality and imagination on Music Box is exceptional and definitely something you have never heard before. I certainly had not.
- Charlotte Bohn, Baltimore’s Child

A combination of cleverly-written lyrics, appealing melodies and captivating vocals all wrapped up in one pretty Music Box. If you want your child to listen to something refreshingly different, Mary Kaye’s latest CD might just be what you are looking for. Music Box is the latest CD of singer-songwriter, performer and children’s music recording artist; Mary Kaye. This CD is a collection of 12 songs that will appeal to listeners young and old… All the songs in this CD were written by Mary Kaye; 3 of the songs feature third grade students singing back-up vocals. The melodies are appealingly unpredictable, the lyrics are very imaginative and the vocals beautifully rendered. In each song, Mary Kaye successfully creates interesting characters and scenarios that will tickle a child’s imagination. For example, we hear about the “Hot Chocolate Fairy” who slides down cocoa mountain to bring hot cocoa (with marshmallows, of course) to eagerly awaiting children. In “Under the Moon,” we hear about various animals enjoying a nighttime walk. Clearly, Mary Kaye understands what her young listeners’ need. Her background in education and theatre, plus her role as a mom to her 2 children, evidently contributes to this. Music Box was certainly a joy to listen to. Parents and educators may also use this CD in the home or classroom to encourage music appreciation, movement and creative thinking.
- Espie Estrella, Music Education

There is no shortage of princess stuff around my two-daughter household, but that doesn’t mean their CD collection needs to full of sickly sweet commercial voices. In fact, I’m thrilled that they love listening to Mary Kaye’s Music Box, because her voice is so gorgeously rich, deep and unconventionally pretty that I’m totally jealous I can’t sing like her. I’m reminded of Natalie Merchant, but Maine’s Mary Kaye seems to be having a lot more fun singing about creatures of all types—bugs, turtles, robots, fairies—something we loved about her when we reviewed her previous kids’ music album Spin Your Web, a few years ago. My kids enjoy her folksy tales turned into lyrical tunes, from the story of a beloved plastic turtle toy, Turtley Turteloo, to the tongue twister Tasting Tea whose words we’re still trying to get right. I am enchanted by the title song, Music Box, and the personified Sea Water who “waves and she waves and she waves.” If I had to pick an age for this CD, I’d say it’s probably best for younger kids who can still find magic in the world. And for their parents who want to be there when they find it.
- Christina, Cool Mom Picks

Maine-based singer Mary Kaye’s fourth CD sticks with what has done well for her this far – friendly, engaging folk rock that highlights her story-focused lyrics and really interesting voice. Usually “interesting” might be a euphemism for something negative, but not here – there’s something about her delivery that is genuinely captivating; lots of reviewers compare her to Natalie Merchant of 10,000 Maniacs, and I don’t think that’s quite right, but it’s the right neighborhood anyway. Just listening to the opening track (“Under the Moon”) makes that clear – it’s pretty much a goofy song, with a ton of repeated syllables and noises that, on paper, seems like it would be a trifle at best. But put it on the stereo and it’ll be in your head for days.
- Bill Childs, Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child

Study the history of music, and you’ll find an abundance of singer/songwriters. So it’s really great to find one who’s talented and original, and it’s even better when she’s a children’s artist. Lyrically, Music Box is just right for the kids. But don’t think the music is too juvenile for you parents. The best example of this is “Family.” Mary Kaye’s voice on this track makes me think of a meld of Natalie Merchant and Nellie McKay. “Turtley Turtleroo” is a sweet song about a child’s favorite little toy. Also, don’t miss “Bug,” a mother’s plea to remove a bug from her house-and the bug’s side of the story, too. Music Box is another superb addition to Mary Kaye’s discography, and it will undoubtedly become a favorite in your home.
- Dave Loftin, The Saturday Morning Cereal Bowl, Chattanooga Parent

The Best New Music For Preschoolers- With a voice similar to Joan Baez, Maine’s Mary Kaye offers a range of different sounds and themes like “hot chocolate fairies” and “bugs” on the appropriately titled album Mary Kaye: Music Box. The music draws from straightforward pop-and-rock arrangements with upbeat tempos to match Kaye’s quirky lyrics… younger listeners will find them hilarious. Songs are short and mostly imaginative tales that should delight kids with a developing interest in the outside world, real or otherwise.

“More stimulating wordplay from Mary Kaye. Lots of fun for sing-a-long and dance-a-long toddler mosh pits. Catch me!”
- John Wood,

…The musicians play at the top of their game and Kaye is cool as a cucumber and then some.
- Anna Maria Stjarnell, Luna (copyright 2009)

…Kaye’s rich, folksy voice adds power to sweet songs about bugs, turtles and hot-chocolate fairies; she seems to delight in nonsensical word play. Especially infectious is the song “Family”: “You are the purple socks. I’m shorts with polka dots. And you’re the tie-dyed tee…and we are drying on the clothesline dancing in the breeze.”
- Kristen Russell Dobson, ParentMap Seattle

Folk artist Mary Kaye evokes the spirit of childhood in “Music Box.” From “Under the Moon” about a group of animals walk to the funny “Bug” about a kid getting a bug out of the house and the title track, “Music Box” each song makes good use of Kaye’s distinctive vocals. The grocery-shopping and laundry sweet ode “Family” is relatable and heart-warming. I wouldn’t mind a visit from the “Hot Chocolate Fairy” and the music and lyrics contribute to the dreamy feel. The tongue-twisting “Tasting Tea” is delightful. “Sea Water” instantly brings to mind the beach and the ocean and summer days. And “Sleepy Land” is a sweet getting-ready-for-bed song.
- Amy Mendenhall, Mid-Ohio Valley Parent Magazine

Mary Kaye’s Music Box is a very different type of children’s CD with unique and thoughtful lyrics that reflect a child’s world from their point of view. Recommended for toddler through Grade three, the 28-plus minute album may entertain well beyond the suggested parameters. Maine-based award winning singer/songwriter Mary Kaye’s warbly vocals have a bit of a bluesy-folksy feel, which is best described as a cross between an early Natalie Merchant and present day Sarah McLachlan. Standouts on this 12 selection CD include: Bug, a somewhat haunting melody about a little insect captured in a jar; Family, a song which celebrates a family’s love and the ordinary actions that fill the day such as grocery shopping and doing the laundry together, and Hobbly Dobbly House – even when you live in a fixer-upper it’s still a place where magic exists and it’s where you call home.
- Paula Slade,

Returning Favorites – Mary Kaye unveils her fourth collection of children’s songs in Music Box… The CD features more of Kaye’s folk-rock songs filled with story-like lyrics and distinctive characters for toddlers and younger tweens.
- C. Annicelli, Playthings

Here are a few of my favorite picks for this year—Mary Kaye is back with a collection of appealing tunes for the young set. From Under the Moon with kooky animal sounds, to the sweetly delicious Hot Chocolate Fairy, Mary Kaye’s folksy voice has warm overtones. She seems to sing directly to children who will be charmed by the clear and clever lyrics. A perfect choice for that long car ride or as joyful background in a pre-school setting.
- Barbara Bietz

You’ve got to love a children’s CD that starts with such a catchy song, you can have it in your head all day, and it isn’t annoying. Far from it! Just the first line or two of Under the Moon will have you humming or singing right along with your kids. When you figure out that the song is about a party of creatures, and that the sweet melody Mary Kaye is singing is actually the animal sounds, it is hard to not act like the animals themselves. That is what my two daughters and I did almost right away when we heard this song. Our own little interpretive dance of sorts, to Under the Moon. That is just the beginning to this lyrical, sweet and catchy CD by Mary Kaye…She has a deep and lovely voice and children can understand what she is saying (singing). Her lyrics are rich, magical and meaningful, tapping into what children know, love and imagine. I knew I was on to a good thing when my daughter listened to “Bug” and immediately we played “Bug”. My 4 year old acted out the song, right away, in full detail, after listening to it. And since the song takes multiple viewpoints, there are lessons there. Lessons in empathy, in perspective, and in life. All in a song about a Bug (who knew?). We are also big fans of the Hot Chocolate Fairy in our house, since we can imagine her visiting from the first snow in October, through the holidays and into April (our prolonged Vermont winter). My personal favorite is Family, where Mary uses charming metaphors to describe her family, including clothing drying on the line, “You are the purple socks, I’m the shorts with polka dots, and you’re the tie-dyed tee. And we get dirty and we get clean. And we are drying on the clothesline, dancing in the breeze.” This song makes me smile. Thanks to Mary Kaye for sending this wonderful CD to our family. On our recent long car ride the girls asked to listen to it, and I was happy to put it on. A moment of parenting Zen to be cherished (since much of the journey was far from it). Check out Mary Kaye’s Music Box, and I bet your kids will be acting out the magical scenes and lyrics in this CD just as soon as they listen to it!
- Non-Toxic

At the annual spring conference of the Children’s Librarians of NH, we have a showcase of performers on the rooster for Kids, Books and the Arts grants. This year Mary Kaye came over from Maine to join us, and out of everyone, I was most drawn to her performance. Her voice is enchanting…During a car ride, listening to Music Box, my spouse made an acute observation: “She likes to make sounds.” Under time-pressed circumstances, that could serve as a one-sentence review of the album, but it deserves much more than that. The lyrics are fun-lots of young child appeal-and excepting the tongue-twistingly alliterate “Tasting Tea,” they’re good for singalongs (most kids can handle the lyrics “I’m a bug, bug, bug, bug, bug”). Scoring big points with me, most of the songs are good for dancing, too. Highlights- “Under the Moon” – a cumulative song with the sounds of various animals and some kids who want to take a late walk. “Music Box” – This song is about different everyday sounds, like popcorn popping, clocks ticking, bees buzzing, and teeth being brushed. It seems like that must be a step in achieving music literacy, the way that print awareness is a stage of learning to read. “Turtley Turleloo” – This is my favorite from the album. It’s catchy, and isn’t this the perfect description of love? “It wasn’t what I planned/but he’s my favorite toy.”

Listening to Mary Kaye’s newest CD, Music Box, is an auditory experience. If a storybook filled with animals and all sorts of fantasy creatures could come alive in a musical way, the verses would most likely sound exactly like the songs on the album. Kaye sings with expression and animation and her words quickly spill out in a speak-sing fashion. Her deep, low voice works perfectly for singing her folk-rock sounding songs that appeal to both kids and adults…The lyrics to her songs creatively and abstractly describe all sorts of interesting creatures and situations and she often uses short, catchy, fragmented phrases. My kids really like the silly song “Bug” where a poor bug is trapped under a cup inside the house. In my favorite song “Music Box,” Kaye sings of all the sounds in the world like the tap tap tap of the woodpecker and squish squish squish of muddy boots. “Turtley Turleloo” sounds a bit like a yodel–Turtle-eeeee, Turtle-ooooo. If you try to sing along with any of her songs, I can guarantee your mouth is in for a fun work-out. Kids can settle down and relax with “Hot Chocolate Fairy” a cold-weather song and fall asleep dreaming of the quiet “Sleepy Land.”
- Brimful

Buttercup just got a new music box and she’s absolutely in love with it. But this isn’t just any ol’ music box…it’s a new CD from Maine musician Mary Kaye, and it’s been a non-stop request from my music loving toddler since the folksy collection arrived in our mail box. Mary Kaye’s vocals are surprisingly deep and rich, and hooked Buttercup right from the start. And with the lyrics to each song reading more like the pages of a much-loved and dog-eared book, it’s no surprise Buttercup keeps asking for me to play, “Bok, mamma!” (That’s “Buttercup” for “Box!”) The indie children’s recording artist has received rave reviews from Parenting Magazine, The Los Angeles Daily News, Booklist, and many more.

My kids love music of all kinds, from jump and dance music to mellow and sweet music. When we popped in our new CD Music Box from Maine based artist, educator & mom Mary Kaye, we were instantly grooving and chilling out. Mary Kaye’s voice is hypnotic and the lyrics are fun and fresh. Every time we hear “Hot Chocolate Fairy” the kid’s eyes light up with imagination. When the kids get wild and crazy in the car, I put in our Music Box CD and they instantly stop to listen. I like that the music instantly captures them and that the songs are easy to learn and sing a long with. The Music Box CD has now found a permanent home in my son’s CD player. He loves to listen to Mary Kaye’s sweet voice as he relaxes before supper and before he goes to sleep. With songs like “Sleepy Land” and “Under the Moon” soothing him, he quickly releases his tension and sings along to the music.
- Chelle, The Opinionated

Mary Kaye’s new music CD Music Box is a real hoo-oot-ooh-ooh…Mary Kaye is an award-winning musician played on many English-language radio shows worldwide. Her husky voice and folksy style are very easy on the ear. Her band features guitar, drums and many acoustical instruments that capture the interest of the listener young and old. Her song “Bug” immediately caught my attention. It placed me into the life of a bug and how children interact with them…Listener’s are likely to walk around singing Tur-tley-lee-hee-hee Turtl-hoo-ooh around the house, a fun song that describes a turtle seen at the library. Other songs like “Under the Moon” take a walk with an elephant and meet up with an owl and kangaroo or make kids feel weird in the “Hobbly Dobbly House” where everything is odd are fun to sing to also. Songs like Robbie Robot, Hot Chocolate Fairy and Sea Water capture children’s imagination by bringing objects to life. The Hot Chocolate Fairy is warm and chocolatey, Sea Water wants more water and she waves and waves…Music Box is a CD filled with child friendly creative songs that delight the ear. Full of fun sounds that animals make or that occur in nature, children will have fun listening and dancing to it.
- Sheri Harper,

We just had the opportunity to listen to Mary Kaye’s new CD, Music Box. Mary Kaye is an award-winning children’s musician from Maine who combines a very sophisticated vocal style with lovely children’s themes and sounds. Mary Kaye’s rich voice reminds me of Natalie Merchant or Sarah McLachlan, but her songs are written with children’s needs in mind. She utilizes a lot of repetition and silly sounds that keep young kids interested and entertained, like in the beep-boop song Robbie Robot, and she also plays with alliteration and funny word combinations that kids find irresistible, like in the funny rhyme song Tasting Tea. Definitely keep your eyes out for this one—it’s a perfect mix of beautiful vocals and kid’s music.

The songs are fun, silly and very melodic, all at the same time. We bounced around, got our respective grooves on, sang along (my kids especially love singing to the “Bug” song…go figure!) and enjoyed the Music Box CD immensely. Mary Kaye has a quality to her voice that is so mesmerizing that you enjoy listening to it many times over—which is a good thing for adults with kids like mine who want to hear the same thing over and over again!! The words are clear and easy to hear, which I appreciate very much, and the stories behind the songs are so cute and realistic.
- Happy Healthy

I realize how lucky I am to have the chance to review some incredible children’s products, Music Box, a newly released CD from song writer Mary Kaye, is one of those wonderful discoveries that took me by surprise. The first song on Music Box, Under the Moon, made me think, “This is what Sarah Mclachlan might sound like if she employed the use of onomatopoeiac animal sounds.” Which she totally should. Then I was again surprised by the 80′s-esque vibe in the song about Robbie Robot. If anything lends itself to 80′s digi beats, it would be a song about robots for sure! I’m a big 80′s music fan. I have the urge to do The Belinda to tunes like this. The songs on Music Box are fun to listen to…whimsical…
- Mom Most

If you haven’t ever heard of Mary Kaye and her previous 3 CDs (I Sang It Just For You, Mouse Jamboree, and Spin Your Web) then you might want to get to know her and her music. With a voice that Parenting Magazine says is reminiscent of Natalie Merchant, Mary Kaye’s 12 new imaginative songs are original, creative, and are simply delightful. I love listening to her melodic voice as I hear her tunes coming from Little Miss Techie’s room.
- Tech Savvy

Selected as one of Cool Mom Picks best kids albums of 2009; Winner 2009 Parents’ Choice Recommended Award; Winner 2009 Dr. Toy Best Play and Learn Vacation Products Award; Winner 2009 Creative Child Magazine’s Preferred Choice Award; Pick in Parenting New Hampshire magazine’s “I Want That…cool, new products for kids.”