An Evening of Bluegrass and Banjo

In August, I bought tickets to see Steve Martin in Spokane, at the Fox. Silly me, I thought it was an evening of Steve Martin the comedian – wild and crazy – or some variation thereof. A few hours before we (Paula, Doug, and I) leave for the show, I check online and find out that it’s actually an evening of bluegrass and banjo, and joining Steve Martin on stage is The Steep Canyon Rangers. He’s on tour to promote the release of his first bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo (Rounder Records). The album was released in May 2009, and reached #1 on the Billboard Bluegrass Album chart where it stayed for 12 weeks. But it’s still banjo music.

I was a bit disappointed. I send my brother an IM to let him know just in case he was looking forward to a night of Funky Tut and Cruel Shoes. He already knew. And Paula heard Martin interviewed on NPR. And…we’re still going. ¬†Banjos. Seriously? Banjos? I’m not sure I can do it. I throw a bottle of aspirin in my purse.

It’s a lovely theater. Our seats are dead center stage and very, very high up. Paula leans over to me, motions to the ceiling and says, “Watch your head.” Austin and Laura Storm come walking up the aisle and end up sitting next to us. Laura knows it’s a night of banjos, too. How did I miss this important fact? I say to Paula, “Do you think all these people know it’s banjo music?” She laughed and reminded me about the NPR interview. I look around at the crowd and wonder if they are a sampling of an NPR audience.

Well…shut my mouth! It was a fantastic evening of great music. The Steep Canyon Rangers , from Asheville, North Carolina, are very, very talented musicians. In addition to Steve Martin on the banjo, the Rangers are: Woody Platt (guitar and lead vocals), Graham Sharp (banjo, harmony vocals), Mike Guggino (mandolin and harmony vocals), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass and harmony vocals) and Nicky Sanders (fiddle and harmony vocals).

I’ll admit it. I was totally surprised by how much I enjoyed the music. The instruments and vocals blended flawlessly. The performers wore beautiful suits – no overalls, and not a jug, saw, or washboard was played. Steve Martin managed to weave his comedy throughout the performance. We laughed and clapped for eighty minutes. And, after three curtain calls, Steve graced us with King Tut. Born in Arizona, moved to Babylonia, King Tut. He was buried in his jammies.

Unfortunately, the tour is over. If you didn’t get the chance to see Steve Martin in concert…you missed a great evening of entertainment. You can check out his website here. And thanks to lala, you can listen to the album on that little gadget below. The album is good, but the live performance was priceless. I’m happy to report I lived through a night of banjo and bluegrass music, and I’d do it again if Steve Martin or The Steep Canyon Rangers were on stage.

The Crow – New Songs for the F…

Comments

2 Responses to “An Evening of Bluegrass and Banjo”

  1. Wendy Sensing on November 5th, 2009

    Ok Lucy dear. You don’t like sweet tea and you thought an evening of bluegrass music was going to be like the tv show Hee-Haw…Hmmmm…One might begin to think that you don’t much care for the Southern portion of this country of ours. : )

  2. lucyzoe on November 5th, 2009

    Now Wendy, sugar in tea and clangy music does not describe all the lovely facets of the South. And it’s not that I don’t “like” sweet tea, I just prefer a lemony twist…like Arnold Palmer does. And he’s Southern.




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