Alastair Moock in 2009. Photo by Mara Brod.
|Born||New York City, United States|
|Origin||Boston, Massachusetts, United States|
|Genres||Folk, Children's, independent|
|Instruments||Singing, acoustic guitar, banjo|
|1997 - present|
|Labels||Moockshake Music (ASCAP)|
Alastair Moock (born 1973, New York, New York, United States) is a GRAMMY-nominated American folk and family music performer from Boston, Massachusetts. He is known for his gruff voice, playful lyrics, and fingerpicking guitar style.
Moock's interest in traditional music started at a young age when his father took him to see Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie in concert. What he heard and saw that evening affected him strongly. While invigorated by the music, he noticed how the audience became part of the event by joining in the singing. A few years later he discovered Woody Guthrie's Library of Congress recordings. After graduating from Williams College in 1995, Moock moved to Boston and launched his performing career at open mikes and local coffeehouses. In 1997 he released his debut album, Walking Sounds, and followed it with the eight-song mini-album Bad Moock Rising in 1999.
By 2002, Moock had traveled extensively throughout the East and Midwest, performing at some of the top listening rooms and outdoor events in the country, including the Newport Folk Festival, the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, the Boston Folk Festival, the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, The Birchmere in Washington D.C., and the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville. In 2003 he made his first trip to Europe, where he performed at the Bergen Music Fest in Norway. Many more European tours would follow, with performances in Norway, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland, the Netherlands, and the UK. Back in the U.S., Moock won some prestigious songwriting competitions, including those at the Falcon Ridge Folk Festival, Sisters Folk Festival, and the Great Waters Music Festival.
Alastair says that he's always been moved by music "that connects me to progressive issues and social involvement. It's always been a big part of what I've wanted to do as a musician." That social involvement has resulted in Moock often organizing benefits to help those in need.
His last adult album, Fortune Street, produced by David "Goody" Goodrich, was released in the United States and Europe by Corazong Records in May 2007. In his review of the album for Sing Out!, Scott Sheldon wrote "There are no simple songs on Fortune Street; each grapples with hard times, deep feelings, or dramatic moments in history." The album includes two historical ballads: "Woody's Lament" exploring Woody Guthrie's internal conflict between his family and the pull of the road, and "Cloudsplitter," a modal mountain dirge based on Russell Banks' novel about the life of abolitionist John Brown.
In 2010, Moock began to turn his attention to performing for kids and families. That year, he joined the roster of Young Audiences of Massachusetts to teach programs on music and social change and language arts skills to students. He also released his first album for kids, "A Cow Says Moock." That album and the two he has released since have won critical praise and high honors from NAPPA (The National Parenting Publications Awards) and the Parents' Choice Foundation.
But Moock says that his newest album, "Singing Our Way Through: Songs for the World's Bravest Kids," is the one "nearest and dearest to his heart." In July 2012, one of Alastair's twin daughter's was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The Singing Our Way Through project began when Alastair started co-writing songs with her in the hospital. Over the next several months, Moock continued to write and collect songs that reflected his family's experiences.
Moock decided he wanted to record an album for other families traveling similar paths. With the help of a crowd funding campaign which raised nearly $28,000, he was able to raise the money he needed to make the album he wanted to record. In January 2013, Moock went into the studio with friends and collaborators from the world of Americana music, including Chris Smither, Mark Erelli, Aoife O'Donovan (vocalist for the 2013 Grammy-winning "Goat Rodeo Sessions," Best Folk Album), and family music artists Rani Arbo, The Okee Dokee Brothers (2013 Grammy-winners, Best Children's Album), Elizabeth Mitchell (2013 Grammy-nominee, Best Children's Album), and co-producer Anand Nayak.
Upon its release in July, 2013, "Singing Our Way Through" was called "a masterpiece" by Salon.com and was chosen as a "Best Kids Music" pick by People Magazine. Moock was also interviewed by Katie Couric and on GMA Live (the "Good Morning America" webcast). Eventually, "Singing Our Way Through" went on to garner a 2014 Grammy Award nomination. and gold medals from the Parents' Choice Foundation and the National Parenting Publications Awards. With the help of album sales and his crowd funding campaign, Moock has so far been able to send out more than 2,000 free physical and digital copies to patient families and hospitals around the country.
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