Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Rare Bird Alert
Steve Martin has always been known as a comedic genius. Now he’s completely changing his image… to a legit banjo player. It seems like a joke, but listening to Rare Bird Alert (which is essentially the bluegrass group Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Steve Martin on banjo and vocals) proves that Martin can hold his own in the bluegrass world, while still keeping his sense of humor.
Martin’s humor is especially prevalent in “Best Love” (“Thanks for solving Sunday’s crossword/ Who knew Ivan was a czar?”) and the fantastic “Jubilation Day” (“I’ll always remember the good times/ Like when you were out of town”). The Rangers and Martin kill the strings on “Jubilation Day” and “Women Like to Slow Dance.” The best songs on the album however are the a cappella “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs,” with the classic line “In their songs/ They have one rule/ The ‘he’ is always lowercase”) and Martin’s classic “King Tut.” Both are bursting at the seams with Martin’s wit and both are live. Not only does Martin command the audience and the songs (just like he does with his stand-up), but the songs are genuinely great. Not good. Great.
That’s the case with the entire album. Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers are a perfect blend of wry humor and top notch bluegrass. It’s no wonder that this album won the Album of the Year award at this year’s International Bluegrass Awards. Steve Martin is a world class banjo player, and the Steep Canyon Rangers are one of the best bluegrass groups around. Together, they play some of the best music you’ll hear — regardless of genre.
Steve Martin: www.stevemartin.com