Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Praise for Steve Martin at The Ryman

Steve Martin Dispels All Doubts About His Banjo Skills

Earl Scruggs, John McEuen and Steep Canyon Rangers Add to a Night of Great Music

Calvin Gilbert, CMT News, October 12, 2009

In case you were wondering, Steve Martin really is a hell of a banjo player. He more than proved that Sunday night (Oct. 11) during a concert at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Between songs, Martin delivered a generous helping of the humor he's famous for, but music is at the forefront of the current tour showcasing material from his album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo.

Judging by his self-deprecating comments onstage, Martin obviously understands that some people may be skeptical of his desire to play bluegrass music. And who could blame them? Not to name names, but there's a fairly lengthy list of movie stars who proclaim they would have been singers and musicians if only they hadn't been sidetracked by Hollywood's fame and fortune. They want to be taken seriously, but the unfortunate reality is that most of them record albums that leave you wondering if they ever had any serious musical chops to begin with. Martin's musical abilities were never really in question, though.

The rest is at


dsanford01 said...

Steve Martin put out his first banjo album in '81, although one side of the LP was '70's stand-up material typical of what he was famous for at the time. The other side, however, was fine bluegrass (many tunes written by Martin) with Steve pickin' away with Vassar Clemens and members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band.

Nice to see him go back to what is obviously a deep love of traditional music.

Susan Forbes Hansen said...

Are you lucky enough to have this LP?

dsanford01 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dsanford01 said...

I do!! One side of the record album "The Steve Martin Brothers" has Steve Martin dressed in his familiar white suit of the early '80's while Side 2 has Steve lookin' sorta hairy country with brown hair(!) and a beard, gussied up with lots of turquoise & silver accessories.

The album sleeve inside furthers the schism by splitting/combining the two Steves' pictures into one.

Despite this off-putting buildup, the musical half of the LP is quite enjoyable, being produced by William E. McEuen with musical accompaniment by John McEuen, brother Bill McEuen(I guess he takes the informal address when appearing on record), Vassar Clemens, Roy "Junior" Huskey, and others.

Mostly instrumentals written by Mr. Martin, with a couple of trad. folk songs including "Waterbound" with vocals by Steve.

Definitely a fine-soundin' banjo-pickin' alter-ego Steve Martin.

Youtube has his 1977 appearance on the Muppet Show where he plays Dueling Banjos!!