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Editors’ Notes

After proving that his banjo playing is no joke on 2009’s The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, comedian and actor Steve Martin joined forces with the Steep Canyon Rangers for a tour, which led to their collaboration on Rare Bird Alert. Martin’s name may be listed first and he is the main songwriter, but this is truly a group effort. No mere backing band, the celebrated Steep Canyon Rangers have been together for a decade and have six fine albums to their credit and they all sound spectacular together. Martin sings on the joke-filled “Jubilation Day,” “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs,” and the novelty hit “King Tut,” but it’s mostly his banjo we hear within the context of this excellent bluegrass band. Graham Sharp is the Ranger’s top-notch banjo player and he usually takes the second banjo breaks on this album. The warm tenor of Woody Platt is the other lead singer, and there are also lead vocal cameos by Paul McCartney (“Best Love”) and the Dixie Chicks (“You”). Rounding things out are some impressive instrumentals including the title track, “The Great Remember (for Nancy),” and “Hide Behind a Rock.”

Customer Reviews

Respect for the Steep Canyon Rangers

So much focus on Steve, the Dixie Chicks and McCartney. This album is fantastic and Steve sounds great but the Steep Canyon Rangers are not just a back up band. They are an internationally recognized Bluegrass band and are keeping the genre fresh. If you like this album check out their other stuff on iTunes. You will not be disappointed. I was lucky enough to be in Chapel Hill when they formed and would watch them pick in the UNC Quad as I walked between classes. It's great to see them have such success.
I have head Steve interviewed about SCR and he feels as lucky to be able to play with them as I am sure they feel about playing with him. Go see them live with or without Steve Martin.

God Bless the Chicks and Steve

If you like Steve Martin and don't support the Chicks and their patriotism, then you don't know much about Steve. "Atheists don't have no songs" is a mockery of how people who believe in a god view people who don't. I imagine Steve will lose a lot of fans, but gain many others. Thank god for sensible artists with brains and talent like the Chicks, Hounds, and Steve.

No Joke

My earliest memory of the banjo was the wild and crazy guy with the arrow through the head using a banjo as a prop for some musical comedy bits, but what we find here is no joke. What we do find is a very talented musician and song writer surrounded by other talented players and singers preforming some of the best bluegrass/string band music this side of the hills of Kentucky. The highlights are Best Love with Paul McCartney and You with The Dixie Chicks but the whole album from start to finish Appalachian roller coaster ride of front porch picking, foot stomping fun. Unless you just truly hate banjo music, you won't be disappointed.

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
Rare Bird Alert, Steep Canyon Rangers
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