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.
About Astrograss for Kids
ASTROGRASS FOR KIDS gets kids and their parents dancing together, with a unique blend of bluegrass music and down-home humor. Astrograss concerts feature sing-a-longs, dance contests, and high-energy fiddle hoedowns. Their original songs cover topics like spelling, whether Pluto is a planet, bedtime and the many neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Working on the success of a brand new CD, "Let Me Stay Up All Night", Astrograss recently appeared at the world famous South By Southwest festival in Austin, TX in March 2009, performing in the Family Music showcase. The band sold out the prestigious Joe's Pub in New York City last year for the CD Release Party and has been touring the Northeast, from a home base in Brooklyn, New York.
In addition to a wide range of original songs, Astrograss for Kids plays traditional American folk numbers, like 'Oh, Susanna' and 'Hot Corn, Cold Corn' They also invite their young fans to submit poems, which the band then sets to music. One such song, 'Airplane', is on "Let Me Stay Up All Night". They also offer a special educational and entertaining program for school performances.
In 2006 they won the TimeOutNY Kids' Battle of the Bands contest at the Knitting Factory, and later recorded with Dan Zanes, as his backup band for the benefit album, Bright Spaces 2. Zanes produced their first album, Astrograss for Kids, a collection of Shel Silverstein poems set to music. Performance highlights from the past year include sold-out shows at both Brooklyn Academy of Music's Harvey Theatre and Symphony Space (NYC), as well as shows at the Brooklyn Children's Museum, Community Day at PS 1 Community Art Center, the Higher Ground (Burlington, VT), Riverbank State Park, The Brooklyn Botanical Garden, the World Cafe Live (Philadelphia), Madison Square Park, and the legendary Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival.
In their "for-grownups" format, Astrograss is one of the New York area's premier acoustic acts. Astrograss is one of New York's premier acoustic acts and has toured extensively throughout the Northeast, playing clubs, theaters, private parties, weddings and festivals. Check out the Astrograss website.