Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Instead of soundtracks today, I’m going to post about Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers.  I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post about the Sherlock Holmes soundtrack that the banjo is my instrument obsession at the moment.  I don’t know if I can even explain why except I love the way it sounds.  It’s used in a lot of music I love (Irish, bluegrass, folk).  I’m just amazed at the fast picking and the sound.

I got to see Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers perform the other night.  I wish I had brought binoculars (well; I wish I owned a pair), because I would have loved to see the fingering of Steve and the other banjo player, Graham Sharpe.

They played a couple songs off of Rare Bird Alert, including Jubilation Day and Atheists Don’t Have No Songs, which is amazing and hilarious at the same time.

Another one I really liked was the murder-ballad, Pretty Little One.  I had never heard of murder ballads before as a genre, but it’s pretty self-explanatory.  The first thing that came to mind as Steve Martin was explaining them was Delia’s Gone by Johnny Cash. (Well, according to Wikipedia, it was a cover, and the Delia in the song is based on a real person.  Who knew?)

Anyway, for some reason, I didn’t realize that Steve Martin wrote music as well as played.  He collaborated on this one with Edie Brickell, who also sings.  She wasn’t at the concert I attended, but she’s on the CD/DVD I bought of their live performance.

The highlight of the evening was Auden’s Train.  This song was truly amazing.  I swear, it was a transcendental experience listing to it.  This will be on my track list in Heaven.  It was the last song in their set, and I almost wish they hadn’t come back for an encore, because as good as it was, nothing could top this song.  Nothing.

It features Nicky Sanders on the violin and he is amazing.  The things he can do with that violin are incredible, and the song is so much fun.  And there’s so much in it.

The version on the CD/DVD set is shorter (about six minutes), and it has Steve Martin in it, but yeah.  That’s it.  I don’t know how you can even do an encore after that, much less go out into the lobby to sign CDs (which he did, and I didn’t realize until I was at the table; sadly, I didn’t get to buy from him), but, on the other hand, you’d be riding on pure adrenaline after it.  I know I was.



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