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Nobody Knows You

Steep Canyon Rangers

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Album Review

The Steep Canyon Rangers have come a long way since their days as a favorite campus band at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They've been Steve Martin's backup band since 2009, which introduced them to a national, and non-bluegrass, audience and earned them a Grammy nomination for their collaboration with Martin on his Rare Bird Alert album, to which they also contributed three songs. On their Rounder debut, the band continue to challenge their fans with 11 new tunes that show off their growing playing and songwriting skills. They're still a bluegrass band, but most of the songs here have a feel that owes as much to pop, folk, and singer/songwriter impulses as they do to bluegrass. They break out of the usual melodic structures of bluegrass for something that's between newgrass and pop. The set opens with the title track, which sounds like a country/pop hit, albeit played acoustically with Graham Sharp's clattering banjo and Nicky Sanders' wailing fiddle supporting Woody Platt's expressive lead vocal. "Ungrateful One," a tale of childhood hardships, eschews the usual sentimental clichés for a more emotionally honest take on the toll a relationship with a difficult father takes on a young man. A father rages and a son plans his escape with the band leavening the drama with a bouncy, midtempo groove. The vaguely ominous "Between Midnight and the Dawn" could be called a secular gospel tune, with a message of hope that depends on earthly friendships for salvation. A banjo solo that sounds like it came out of the bog book of blues guitar riffs accents the band's bluesy rhythm. The Rangers show off their lighter side with "As I Go," a tongue in cheek celebration of a ne'er do well kissing his girlfriend goodbye; "Natural Disaster" likens love to a meteorological calamity, and "Rescue Me" is another love song with a strong pop melody. The band still has plenty of bluegrass chops too, which they show off on "Knob Creek," the album's one instrumental, but again they avoid the usual tendency to rely on flash over substance. Their measured solos stretch the boundaries again, with Sharp playing muted chiming overtones on his banjo before taking off in a more traditional flurry of notes and the jazz-meets-rockabilly slap bass of Charles R. Humphrey's rhythmic excursion. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Nobody Knows You

So, for years on end, even living in Asheville, NC for a little while, I avoided Bluegrass like the plague. I'm not sure why, I just did. Then, I saw these guys in Alexandria, VA where I reside now. I was a changed man. This album continues their awesome song writing and straight out hardcore playing. These guys can throw it down pretty much like nobody else I've seen lately. Seeing them live was a revelation, and since then, I've gotten my hands on almost everything they've done, and I've not been disappointed.

If you're like me, and had some concerns about Bluegrass, take a listen. If you're a fan of great musicianship, and honest to goodness talent, you will not be disappointed. And the fact that these guys are from Asheville, my former hometown, makes it all that much sweeter for me.

Transition from Good to Great

Steep Canyon Rangers are to bluegrass what Yo Yo Ma is to classical. They have the talent and creativity to appeal to a much broader audience than their base. "Nobody Knows You" is their crossover CD. "Rare Bird Alert" was fun ( with help from Steve Martin) with flashes of brilliance (Remembering Nancy). All the music on this CD, however, has great depth and appeal both in the music and lyrics...the execution of both which is flawless. They now occupy "rare air" and have proven what they probably always knew. They are at their best by themselves.

Nobody Know You

It (THEY) just gets better and better! Still another 5 Star effort from the most fan friendly group in Bluegrass music!
( a "must see in person!). As always, great lyrics, great instrumentation and original and fresh song writing, all of
which sets them a part and makes them unique. It is a real pleasure to watch them expand the boundaries of Bluegrass
music while continuing to open up and introduce this music (and theirs) to a newer and ever growing audience. This CD contains at
least 4-5 TOP SONGS: "Ungrateful One", "As I Go", "Nobody Knows You", "Knob Creek" (probably the most fan favorite
instrumental (ie.,Cathy)along with "Orange Blossom Special" ) and "Burning The Midnight Oil".

Biography

Formed: 1999 in Chapel Hill, NC

Genre: Country

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Although they received a boost in popularity when actor/banjo player Steve Martin joined their ranks in 2009, the Steep Canyon Rangers had already earned an audience with their progressive bluegrass sound. Graham Sharp (banjo, harmony vocals) met future bandmates Woody Platt (guitar, lead vocals) and Charles R. Humphrey III (bass, harmony vocals) in 1999, while all three were attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Drawn together by their love of acoustic music, they began playing...
Full Bio
Nobody Knows You, Steep Canyon Rangers
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