BROOKLYN, NY (August 1, 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.

Astrograss has played the kids’ stage at the world famous South by Southwest festival in Austin, TX, and, since 2007, the band has performed regularly on the family stage at the legendary Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival in upstate New York.  Other performance highlights include World Café Live (Philadelphia), Higher Ground (Burlington, VT), and such prestigious NYC venues as Lincoln Center, Symphony Space, and The Brooklyn Academy of Music, in addition to many family friendly venues in NYC, including Joe’s Pub, Washington Market Park, and Madison Square Park. In its “grown-up” format, Astrograss is one of New York’s hottest acoustic acts, touring extensively throughout the Northeast, playing clubs,festivals, theaters, private parties, and weddings.

Previous Astrograss recordings include Let Me Stay Up All Night (2008), Astrograss for Kids (2006 EP), and an album for adults, Astrograss (2005).

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CD Details: The Colored Pencil Factory

For all ages.
Label: Smoggy Borough Records
SRP: $15.00
Run time: 49 minutes.

Make It Up
Sawing on the Strings
The Colored Pencil Factory
Shortenin’ Bread
Freak Out
Cluck Old Hen
Happy, Sad and More Song
Hey Blue Dog
Brand New Nose
Sail Away Ladies
Minutes Into Flowers
Continental Geography
Grave Diagnosis
Music Makes Me Feel