Banjos in orbit

Space shuttle Atlantis takes offAlison Brown is among several banjoists whose playing has been described as “out of this world” – but she may be among the very few who can prove it.

When space shuttle Atlantis took off last week to perform delicate repairs on the Hubble telescope, Alison’s new CD The Company You Keep was along for the ride. She counts at least two NASA astronauts among her fans. Marsha Ivins was responsible for turning Atlantis Mission Specialist John Grunsfeld on to her music, and it was he who brought the CD along for his down time in outer space.

This marks the fourth time that Brown’s music has been involved in a space shuttle mission, with three tracks from her previous releases having been used for wake up calls on earlier shuttle flights.

Alison Brown - The Company You KeepThe CD contains ten tracks, of which 9 are her compositions. Alison is featured on banjo along with her band – Garry West on bass, John R. Burr on piano, Larry Atamanuik on drums and Joe Craven on madolin and fiddle – plus guest artists John Doyle (guitar), Stuart Duncan (fiddle ), and Kenny Malone (drums).

Audio samples can be found online.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.