Tag Archives: Banjo

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers “Rare Bird Alert” [NEW MUSIC]

It’s summer time and I’m completely obsessed with bluegrass music.  Two things that don’t really have anything to do with each other, but in my own little weirdly wired brain they go hand in hand perfectly.  This is outdoor music.  It’s acoustic.  It can happen anywhere and sound fantastic.  Add arguably the greatest comedian of all time turned banjo virtuoso Steve Martin into the mix and you have something very interesting on your hands.   High quality bluegrass licks with a hint of comedy.  Just like summer and bluegrass they seem to mix just fine.  Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers have recently released a full length record called “Rare Bird Alert.”  Get ready for a good ole’ fashion barnstormer.

Rare Bird Alert – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

Steve Martin plays banjo on all the tracks.  Although he limits himself to minimal singing the Steep Canyon Ranger’s more than make up for it.  After the instrumental opener in “Rare Bird Alert” this record moves into some great tracks featuring multi harmonies and a special featured guest.  See if you can recognize his voice.

Best Love – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers (Feat. ?)

This is not a comedy record at all as you can see.  This is good ole fashion blue grass ass kickin’.  Honestly I worked for like 13 hours straight today and went home and all I wanted was a drink.  As I started to listen to this record more to prep for the blog my brain kept saying “go to the bathtub, make moonshine… it’s not a dumb idea”.  Whiskey was a much better choice than making my own moonshine, but I guess great music makes you think of doing wierd stuff from time to time.  Anyway, I just finished Steve Martin’s biography “Born Standing Up” which in part inspired me to look into his music more.  The banjo has been a part of Steve’s vaudeville/ variety act since very early on in his career.

He’s an amazingly accomplished banjo player and he reaches out on this record and shreds… yes I said shreds on the banjo.

Northern Island – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Now don’t me wrong I don’t think Steve Martin would put out a comedyless product.  There are awesome little gems in here for comedy lovers as well.  Funny little lyrics and an ending that I’ll get to later.  One hilarious little song is called “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs”.  The song is a hymnal with Steve featured on vocals.  It’s pretty hilarious and has become one of my favorite tracks of many on this CD.

Atheists Don’t Have No Songs – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

We all know the man is multitalented, that’s never been a debate and this music isn’t that far of a reach for the comedic and now musical genius of Steve Martin, but there’s just a sense of professionalism that comes through even more on this record than in Steve’s larger body of work.  It’s a pleasure to hear him use bluegrass as a vehicle for comedy and music.  It’s an amazing record.  Well at least I thought it was an amazing record…

Then I go to the last track.  The last track on “Rare Bird Alert” is called “King Tut”.  For Steve Martin fans out there this tune is all too familiar.  Back in his SNL and arena (yes arena) standup tour days he performed this song as a sketch and it has gone down in history has one of the greatest SNL sketches ever.

King Tut” is a novelty song performed by Steve Martin and the Toot Uncommons (actually members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band). It was released as a single in 1978, sold over a million copies, and reached number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart.  Martin previewed the song in a live performance during the April 22, 1978 episode of Saturday Night Live. The song was also included on Martin’s album “A Wild and Crazy Guy.”

King Tut – Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

This record is awesome.  It’s available everywhere and Steve and the Steep Canyon Rangers are currently on tour HERE.  They are playing San Diego on 8/18.  No LA dates are announced yet, but he has been know to pop in down at the Largo from time to time and play some banjo and tell some jokes.  I’m so happy I got to write about Steve Martin.  He is one of my comedic idols and the guys pretty much dominates everything he sets his mind to.  Enjoy this CD and if you don’t like bluegrass I’m sorry, but you can go take a hike.  Oh and by the way.  The guy singing on that track earlier was Paul McCartney,  no big deal.

Jubilation Day – Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Dovekins Live at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

Dovekins is not just any folk band from Denver, CO.  They are a five piece folk band with unlimited creativity and talent on banjo, guitar, accordion, piano, upright bass, percussion, flute, trombone, trumpet, and mandolin to name a few.  With a solid rhythm section, dialed in harmonies, and great music all around, their live show is a must-see.  From experience, you will be captivated by the level of musicianship and creativity that this band brings to the stage.  I saw them just last week at The Basement (below the infamous Grimey’s new and pre-loved music store) in Nashville, TN.  I also recommend checking out the record store, if you ever step foot in Nashville.  Check out this live video of Dovekins performing “More Charlie More!”:

As you can see, this is no ordinary folk band.  Their websites boast of an elaborate sailing story that brought the band together, but Dovekins really did form following a sailing trip gone awry.  It all started three years ago in Colorado when different music scenes from Fort Collins and Denver got together.  The musicians were used to playing at their local venues, but were brought together when one shut down.  New friendships formed and they soon ended up in Hawaii.  They met a captain named Robin Lee Graham who needed a crew to help sail his boat called Dove from Honolulu to Seattle.  Despite the repairs made to Dove before its departure, they had to turn back during their trip because of it’s condition.  The band flew to Seattle, hitchhiked home, and started Dovekins with the songs they wrote in Honolulu.  Let’s be glad that this adventure worked out however it did because it’s truly inspiring to watch these guys (and girl) in their art.  From live set list changes, to jumping around on stage, you can tell that Dovekins is not only incredibly comfortable with their music, but they are also outstanding musicians and performers.  Sit back, relax, and enjoy “The Dalles,” from their debut album “Assemble the Aviary.”

Their influences range from friends and hometown bands to established acts like Fleet Foxes and Dirty Projectors.  They have released two albums, “Assemble the Aviary” and “(A)Live.”  Their second and latest album “(A)Live” was recorded at The Fort Collins Tour De Fat 2010.  There are some killer songs on both of these albums.  You’ll find upbeat dancing songs like “The Dalles” and relaxing folk beauties like “Raining Buttons.”  I definitely recommend that you buy them, if you haven’t already.

By: Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Often Not Found Playlist #11

Another mash-up this week…Electronic, Indian Drums, even Blues/Soul, with a little extra Hard Rock twist. Awesome indie artists from all over the world. Click to Listen! Enjoy!

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