Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers: Rare Bird Alert

Album review
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers: Rare Bird Alert

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Rare Bird Alert

Label: Rounder
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

Following up his 2009 Grammy-winning outing The Crow, Steve Martin, no dilettante he but rather a serious bluegrass picker in his own right, surpasses his previous achievement in teaming with North Carolina’s burgeoning bluegrass giants the Steep Canyon Rangers on Rare Bird Alert. The Rangers are simply fabulous in providing empathetic quintet support for Martin’s original songs-- especially the gifted fiddler Nicky Sanders and the sturdy vocalist/guitarist Woody Platt—and Martin interacts with them in a way that underscores the respect these musicians have for each other, and the fun they’re having with the new music. Sanders tears it up on fiddle on the sunny breakup tune “Jubilation Day,” and Platt delivers a warm backwoods tenor rendition of his and Martin’s ode to fly fishing, “Yellow-Backed Fly.” Better still are Sir Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks, the former with one of his best vocals in recent memory on the lilting, generous “Best Love,” the latter with their keening, mournful harmonies on Martin’s searing contemplation of lost love, “You.” Producer Tony Trischka maintains clear separation of the multiple acoustic instruments, giving no one preferential treatment—a stirring soundscape as egalitarian as Martin’s collaboration with the Rangers.

More Info

  • primary artist, Steve Martin and the Step Canyon Rangers
  • CD

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