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A New Side of Steve: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Pile on your bangles, haul out those colorful bandanas, and put on your dancing shoes.  It’s that time of year when bluegrass festivals hit the fairs, the back country arenas and the urban parks with their upbeat, heartland music.  There’s nothing like some fiddle playing and banjo strumming to get into the mood of summer festivities, and Steve Martin with the Steep Canyon Rangers are smoking the foot stompers and boogy down audiences all over the country side.

That’s right; Steve Martin, better known as comedian and actor, picks a mean banjo.  Playing alongside Nicky Sanders on the fiddle, the results are absolutely amazing.  It’s a wonder the strings aren’t popping and flying through the air, but when they break out in “Orange Blossom Special”, the railroad tracks, the long, lonely thrill of the approaching train, the heaped up shacks with smoke and grime, children playing kick the can and mothers hanging their clothes on a line come floating in like an Arlo Guthie memory.  Barn dances full of hay and studded cowboy shirts seem to float through the rhythm of mandolins and banjos, while the fiddle gets hotter, and faster and seething with a life of its own.  You’re shaking.  You’re moving.  You’re dancing!

Steve Martin is perhaps one of the most courteous Hollywood performers turned musician, kicking up the music waves these days.  He doesn’t hog the show.  He steps aside when the vocalists sing, the mandolin weeps and the fiddle, that awesome, incredible fiddle tacks down a bullet track chord.  Don’t expect any funny one-liners or a comic act.  When Steve Martin jams down on the banjo, he gets serious.  Recent performances include a guest spot on the David Letterman show, where the Steep Canyon Rangers treated the audience to Bluegrass at its best.

While the Steep Canyon Rangers are a young group, making their debut at the Allegany County Fairgrounds in 2009, their talent is taking the bluegrass world by storm.  Expect to see them around for a long time, as there’s nothing quite like the humble music that put America into motion, that plucked at the heartstrings as it rendered up the sounds of mountains and valleys, simple back country villages and long, lonely trains.  If you miss out on Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, you’ve missed out on an entire summer of the most festive occasion to roll through the concerts and fairgrounds today!


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