On the fourth of July, comedian/banjo player Steve Martin quipped, “Ladies and gentlemen, it has been a life long dream of mine to play bluegrass on the Capitol lawn on the fourth of July. And today I feel I’m one step closer to that goal.” (Martin was standing on said Capitol lawn, in Washington D.C., for PBS’ annual presentation of A Capitol Fourth celebration.) “Our first song is a singalong but it has no lyrics, so good luck,” he said before launching into an instrumental with his touring band, Asheville-based The Steep Canyon Rangers.
“Performing for almost half a million people gathered on The Mall … Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers debuted their new MP3 single, ‘Me and Paul Revere,’” says a press release. “The original song, based on Martin’s historical research, sets the record straight amid all the recent confusion and controversy. Sung by Steep Canyon Ranger guitarist Woody Platt, ‘Me and Paul Revere’ tells the story of that famous ride from the point of view of Revere’s horse, Brown Beauty. The song has become the official show closer of Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers’ 50-plus date national tour in support of their recent celebrated CD, Rare Bird Alert (Rounder), featuring guest appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks.”
Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers recently performed at the White House. Later this summer, they’ll be back in WNC for the annual Mountain Song Festival at the Brevard Music Center. “With previous headliners like Doc Watson, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, David Holt, David Grisman Quintet and Steve Martin, the festival has raised over $190,000 for the Transylvania County Boys & Girls Club,” says press for the event. It runs Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 and 10.
Watch Martin and the Rangers’ performance on A Capitol Fourth here: