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Lovin' Pretty Women

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Album Review

Despite the Steep Canyon Rangers' almost eight years on the road, the International Bluegrass Music Association named the group Emerging Artist of the Year in 2006. The Rangers follow up the award with another sterling collection of ten originals and two covers, one from the Grateful Dead and the other from bluegrass/honky tonk singer Shawn Camp. It's no secret that the boys can pick with the best of them, but two things set them apart. They don't blow you away with long solos, although the solos they do drop into the mix are always impressive, and they write traditional-sounding songs that bridge the gaps between honky tonk country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel — case in point, "Be Still Moses," a retelling of the familiar Bible story, marked by a sanctified gospel chorus, a great lyric, and beautiful harmony singing. "A Ramblin' Man Is a Ramblin' Man" and "Lovin' Pretty Women" are equal parts folk, rock, and country, songs about charming ne'er-do-wells delivered with the sprightly energy and devil-may-care attitude that make them sound timeless. "Call the Captain" is a mournful ballad about the dangers faced by coal miners. Woody Platt's lead vocal is full of yearning for a better life; Nicky Sanders' ominous fiddling adds to the song's desperate feel. It's another timely song that sounds like it could have been written a hundred years ago. "Pick Up the Blues" is a honky tonk song about drinking away the pain of a broken relationship that sounds like it could be a mainstream country hit as well as a bluegrass standard. "Don't Ease Me In," the Grateful Dead cover, is given a ragtime arrangement and features Sanders' bluesy fiddling and the moaning Dobro of special guest Randy Kohrs. "Kuykendall," an instrumental by mandolin player Mike Guggino, pays homage to the Celtic roots of bluegrass and features fine solos by Graham Sharp on banjo and Guggino's mandolin. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Mountain song

Saw these guys at the Kent stage in Ohio. What a class act. Material is original and well performed. Wish they would come back!!


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
Lovin' Pretty Women, Steep Canyon Rangers
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