Music Review: Dan Zanes Concert DVD and a Surprising New Find

Don’t you just love when something both free & fun arrives in your inbox?  Last week I was pleasantly surprised to see such a surprise in my own inbox and it made the perfect bonus content for this month’s review—read on to learn more!

Dan Zanes

But first, I’d like to introduce you to Dan Zanes. You may already know him as a very popular and successful children’s music artist, but he’s one our family had not tried out until recently.  On one of our last trips to the library Dan Zanes & Friends – All Around the Kitchen! Crazy Videos & Concert Songs! was out for display with a cover that just said fun.  Knowing that Mr. Zanes was someone we wanted to try out we decided to give this DVD a whirl.

We don’t watch a lot of TV in our house so my three-year-old was ecstatic about having a new “movie.”  At the same time I was ecstatic about being able to try out a new children’s music artist and put my swollen, pregnant feet up on the couch for 30 minutes.  We were both pleasantly surprised by our choice to give this band a try.


The entire running time of the DVD is 50 minutes, and it’s broken into two sections:  one is live concert footage and the second is a collection of videos; we broke up our viewing time this way and spread it over a couple of afternoons.

As a mom I was excited to expose my child to the live concert footage.  The live action lends its self to viewer participation with dancing and/or instruments.  It was a bit of a lazy afternoon in our house, so I can’t say we were dancing around on the day we tried this out but my son did want to get up and do the Hokey Pokey along with the kids in the crowd.

The concert footage is, however, simple and aside from hearing the music and seeing a crowd of other people enjoying it, there isn’t much more to grab your attention.  So, if your child needs something with more flash and excitement this may not be the video for you.  However, I liked the educational value of exposing my son to real people in a real life situation and he seemed to enjoy it as a new format for listening to music.

As for the videos, I think I may have liked them better only because I leaned toward liking the songs better.  The video portion, made up of six songs, is a combination of both live action (what you might consider traditional videos) and animated videos.  Both worked for us, the animation was cute and not scary in any way and the live action simply gave us another opportunity to see this band perform.

Photo by Dan Zanes

More Dan Zanes

Overall, I enjoyed Dan Zanes and his Grammy Award winning music.  He performs a combination of songs you’ll know like the previously mentioned Hokey Pokey as well as some you may not have heard before but can appreciate just the same. I’m particularly excited about his newest release of 76 Trombones where he performs Broadway songs with friends from the Broadway shows.  Samples of this CD and others, including videos and biographical information about Dan are available on his official website.

More for Little Ears

Now for the surprise! I learned about this new release through an e-mail that introduced me to the Nodcast Podcast. The Land of Nod (a children’s store by Crate and Barrel) recently announced in one of their promotional e-mails a new “nodcast” by Dan Zanes.  This came out the same week we tried the DVD so I knew it was a meaningfully terrific coincidence.

Not only will you find out more about 76 Trombones, you can also check out the nodcast archive which has a great selection of children’s music artists like Justin Roberts, Elizabeth Mitchell and Ella Jenkins as well as a story read a long by Amy Krouse Rosenthall.

You can listen directly from the Land of Nod or download and/or subscribe to this podcast via iTunes.  This is a fun way to check out some new tunes or hear new arrangements by some of your favorites!

Do your kids enjoy live concerts? Do they have a favorite musician? Podcast?

About Jennifer

Jennifer, is a stay at home mom to two energetic, fun loving boys ages 6 and 2. She found a new passion in exploring great children's music after becoming a mom, which she blogs about at Swing Whistle Zing. Jennifer fancies finding quality tunes the whole family can enjoy, and dancing with her boys (both big and little) to her favorite songs that connect her to the past & keep her grounded in the present.

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  1. Thanks for sharing–I’ll be looking up the “Nodcast.” We also recently discovered Dan Zanes, and my daughter cannot get enough of him. I think he’s great, and I really appreciate children’s music that adults can enjoy too. I have a hard time with some of the really cheesy stuff.
    .-= Jaimie´s last blog ..Six Reasons Roasting a Whole Chicken is Good for your Family =-.

  2. Oooh, we love 76 Trombones! It’s one of our in-the-car-at-all-times CD’s. 🙂 I haven’t seen the DVD — will have to see if our library has it! Thanks for the review!

    So far, my kids’ all time favorite band is They Might Be Giants. I would *love* to take the kids to see them live sometime, I think they’d have a ball. 🙂
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..Sunday Seedlings Update #6 =-.

  3. My children love Dan and his music. I’ll have to look out for this video. Thanks!!

    We’re also really enjoying a small, Canadian children’s singer, Tasha Platt.
    .-= Aimee´s last blog ..Using Containers to Organize Your Kitchen Simply & Aesthetically =-.

  4. Thanks for the tip about the Nodcast! We are huge Dan fans! If you have the chance to go see them in concert, do it! I think my husband and I had even more fun than our kids.

  5. Great review, Jennifer! I have heard of Dan Zanes before and everyone just raves about him, but we haven’t listened to much of him (beyond what we catch occasionally on tv). I’ll be on the lookout the next time we go to the library 🙂

    And, thank you for the podcast tip – that looks like a great one!

    Best Wishes!
    .-= Kara´s last blog ..Music Review: Dan Zanes Concert DVD and a Surprising New Find =-.

  6. My kids favorite is musician to watch in concert is Dave Matthews believe it or not! And our favorite podcasts are the new free ones from Barefoot Books, there’s a new classic story or song every week!

  7. Here’s a link for the Barefoot Books Podcasts.

  8. we *love* dan zanes in our house!!

    i actually got to interview him a few years back for our local paper when he came to town to perform. it was as much fun talking to him as it is to hear him sing!!

    .-= exhale. return to center.´s last blog ..sharing the journey =-.

  9. I think we’re missing out on Dan Zales and the nodcasts here at my house…I’m behind the eight ball. Looks like I’ve got some researching to do – thanks for the input!
    .-= Tina@RideOnToys´s last blog ..The Antique Pedal Car Brings Back Memories =-.

  10. My kids and I are really enjoying My Changing Planet – a CD about ways for kids to help the planet – it’s like the green version of Marlo Thomas’s Free To Be You and Me.
    Here’s a link:

  11. I LOVE Dan Zanes. We’ve even been to 2 concerts and my son is only 4. It is SO much fun!


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