All strung out

If you’re finding your energy level running low this holiday season, just play Astrograss’s latest album “The Colored Pencil Factory” and watch as your whole family vainly attempts to repress happy smiles and tapping toes. This contemporary bluegrass CD, thrumming with the sounds of guitar, fiddles, banjo, and mandolin, is a delightful way to introduce American folk music to a new generation of listeners. The band, which proudly recorded its spirited, acoustic music in Brooklyn, is equally adept at writing clever, often humorous lyrics (They’ve rhymed “encyclopedia” with “Wikipedia”!). Mixed in with the original songs are new arrangements of childhood favorites like “Shortenin’ Bread.” One of our favorite Astrograss tunes, especially as it grows perilously close to deadline, is the lightning fast finger-picking fiesta that is “Freak Out.”

“The Colored Pencil Factory” CD by Astrograss, $15, CDBaby.com.

>