ASTROGRASS 'THE COLORED PENCIL FACTORY'AUTHENTIC BLUEGRASS, DOWN-HOME HUMOR & ORIGINAL SONGS FOR KIDS AND FAMILIES
"While the tunes on Astrograss's album are intended for the pre-tweens in the audience, it's just as pleasing to any adult who hasn't killed off the child inside … Throughout, the acoustic musicianship is superb, which makes it all worthwhile for those sitting in the driver's seat and the passengers in back."
– John Patrick Gatta, jambands.com
"Unplugged charm … often very funny acoustic music with plenty of mandolin, violin, and rootsy harmonies …There's no arguing with the tremendous musicianship on display here." – Jeff Giles, popdose.comBROOKLYN, NY (August 2, 2012) – With a nine year track record of mixing authentic bluegrass, down-home humor, and original, progressive songwriting, NYC's premier bluegrass band for all ages, Astrograss, pulls out all the stops with the October 16 release of their third CD, The Colored Pencil Factory.
Two years in the making, The Colored Pencil Factory presents a living document in song, showing how a traditional art form like bluegrass can speak of the joys, dreams, and even the troubles of today's kids in a musical language saturated with cultural history. Notes Astrograss's Jordan Shapiro, "I believe that bluegrass music, and all American folk music, is essential listening for kids, and I also believe that the purity of the music is important. We made The Colored Pencil Factory without the use of any amplifiers, drums, pedals, or 'effects.' We recorded the album in our fiddle player's living room and played the songs just the way we'd play them at a park or in a kitchen. It's pure, organic, natural Americana."
Every song on The Colored Pencil Factory celebrates imagination and adventure with high energy and high enthusiasm in a blend of old-time Appalachian mountain music, traditional bluegrass, progressive bluegrass/newgrass, and even a bit of Eastern European folk music.
In addition to engaging settings of traditional tunes like "Shortenin' Bread," "Cluck Old Hen," and "Sail Away Ladies," the album showcases a collection of new songs by the team of Jordan Shapiro and Joe Grossman. Shapiro and Grossman have been writing together since 1995, and their musical collaboration over the past 17 years has received accolades at venues ranging from off-Broadway theaters to bluegrass music festivals.
The original, adult version of Astrograss was formed in 2003, but it only took the band two years to decide to expand its horizons to include kids. All five members of Astrograss are music educators, and when "Astrograss for Kids" was born in 2005 it was inspired by classroom experiences in Brooklyn public schools. By 2006, Astrograss had won the Time Out NY Kids "Battle of the Kids' Bands' contest at NYC's Knitting Factory and subsequently served as backup band for family music superstar Dan Zanes on the benefit album Bright Spaces 2.
CD Details: The Colored Pencil Factory
For all ages.
Label: Smoggy Borough Records
Run time: 49 minutes.
Make It Up
Sawing on the Strings
The Colored Pencil Factory
Cluck Old Hen
Happy, Sad and More Song
Hey Blue Dog
Brand New Nose
Sail Away Ladies
Minutes Into Flowers
Music Makes Me Feel
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