M Shanghai String Band

M Shanghai String Band


The M SHANGHAI STRING BAND is a massive, all-acoustic band performing beautiful and spunky ORGINAL tunes in the traditional old-timey/bluegrass/country style. Someone once called us the "Earth, Wind and Fire" of Americana music. That may or may not be true. But we are tons of fun.


In 2002, the M SHANGHAI STRING BAND got together in the basement of a Chinese bistro in Brooklyn to share good food and play some music. This acoustic-culinary combination was too special not to repeat, and the band (named after the restaurant) was born. Their debut album "Up From the Ground Below" was recorded in the restaurant's dining room. Its twenty songs were captured completely live in one day. At their CD release party, the MSSB played four live sets to a standing room only crowd. Brooklyn's best kept secret was out.

"The banjos spit fire, the acoustics soothe the soul, and the vocals tell honest tales. Every song from Up From the Ground Below is a perfect combo of old time American folk and the music as it stands today... a musical performance that is enduring." -Chris Lewis SHUT EYE

An adventurous take on Americana, the M SHANGHAI STRING BAND's songs are not easily classified. They are remeniscent of traditional roots music styles, yet innovative in their musical form and modern lyrical content. The dynamics range from barnstorming breakdowns to achingly beautiful ballads, expressing originality and simplicity in the same breath.

The MSSB have gained a reputation around the New York City area as a must-see live act. The band alternates from five to eleven players at any given show; a tight knit extended family that performs as a true ensemble. As machine-made, mistake-free music becomes the norm, the M SHANGHAI STRING BAND creates music the way it used to be: heartfelt performances on the human scale, recorded live with a sense of dangerous abandon. It's an old-fashioned idea rendered new, and the results are both vibrant and timeless.


Mapmakers Daughter

Written By: Austin Hughes

Mapmaker’s daughter measured time with her eyes
Roads you'll never pass she held in her smile
Simplified the world into points and lines
She left all who loved her confused and far behind

Mapmaker’s daughter / she connected the stars
Stole that luminance and saved it in a jar
Kissed her once all honey bee slow
I thought all our stardust would turn into gold

Lazy lines on a page
Mapmaker’s daughter what’s it mean?
No clear path to get through
Draw me a way back to you
A way back to you

Mapmaker’s daughter drew a line in the sand
Not where we start out / not where we end
Ink black eyes like the world had never seen
She said all that we live for happens in between

Lazy lines on a page
Mapmaker’s daughter what’s it mean?
No clear path to get through
Draw me a way back to you
A way back to you


1. Up From the Ground Below (self-released, Dec 2004)
2. From the Air (Red Parlor, spring 2006)

Set List

We do standard club-length sets (50 mins) of all orignals, and also 3 hour evening-length sets.

From the Air
Devil, You and Me
Count Ten
Vivian Girls
No Home In this World
Under the Riverbed
Second Hand
Bus Called Cemetery
Mule Skin Girl
Mapmaker’s Daughter
Manhattan Lover
Another Day On the Train
Gallow’s Bird
encore: Money Up - or Tic Tac Toe Chicken

LONG SETS often include covers such as Wabash Cannonball, I'll Fly away, Old Joe Clark, June Apple (trad), Cowboy Sweetheart (Patsy Montana), Angel of Montgomery (John Prine), Cancion Mixtec (Mexican folk tune by Jose Alaves)