ASTROGRASS, “The Colored Pencil Factory,” Smoggy Borough Records. 16 tracks.
Bluegrass grows in Brooklyn as Astrograss fans can attest.
The 9-year-old band mixes bluegrass, Appalachian mountain music, newgrass and some Eastern European folk music to reach out to children.
Jordan Shapiro, guitar and vocals, says in a news release, “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.”
The album features traditional tunes like “Shortenin’ Bread,” “Cluck Old Hen” and “Sail Away Ladies.”
But it’s primarily an album of original music designed for young listeners.
“Make It Up,” which mixes bluegrass with traditional Albanian dance music, tells children to use their imaginations.
“Sawing on the Strings” is about a mountain fiddler.
The title cut encourages children to seek adventure.
“Honeybells” features a capella three-part harmony.
“Playground” is a blazing tune that encourages children to visit the playground.
“Grave Diagnosis” is a comedy romp.
And “Music Makes Me Feel” is a musical adaptation of a poem written by 9-year-old Marcella Fellus Borgenicht.
The band’s school outreach program encourages children to write poems, which Astrograss then sets to music.
A good way to introduce children to bluegrass.
Can’t find it in stores? Try http://www.AstrograssForKids.com.