How’s this for a double bill? The risen-from-Asheville-to-bluegrass-stardom Steep Canyon Rangers and Steve Martin. They shared the stage over the weekend at L.A.‘s Club Nokia at a benefit for the city’s public libraries. And they’ll be playing again at three sold-out shows later this month at the Rubin Museum of Art in New York City. Another guest at the L.A. show: John McEuen (string wizard from the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), who produced Martin’s new album.
“It’s pretty cool,” Woody Platt, the Rangers’ lead vocalist and guitarist, tells Xpress from his Brevard home.
Martin’s been vacationing in Brevard and Platt’s brother got to know Martin’s wife. Turns out Martin’s a banjo enthusiast. “He’s been writing banjo tunes for 40 years,” Platt says. “He’s got a really unique style, part clawhammer, part three-finger Earl Scruggs-style.”
The partnership started a few years ago when Martin invited Platt and Mike Guggino, the band’s mandolin player, to jam at a dinner party. Last year, Martin played with the guys at the Rangers’ Mountain Song Festival. And in February, the Rangers called up Martin to play a few songs at Joe’s Pub in Manhattan.
The upcoming shows are in support of Martin’s new record, The Crow, soon to be out on Rounder Records. If the shows go well, there could be more, Platt says. “The Steep Canyon Rangers bring both innovation and tradition to their music at the highest level,” Martin says in a release. “Playing with them has been a high point in my musical life.” Thanks to Brian Landrum for the call about this one.
In other music news, Laura Reed and Deep Pocket play a last Asheville show before a hiatus. Reed will be having a baby, according to her publicist, and the band will be taking a break. Catch the vibrant songstress at Nashwa on Friday, May 15. Groovy soulsters Secret B-Sides and Nigel One open. Info at www.laurareed.com.
And if you missed electronica music sensation Eliot Lipp at the packed-out, dance-almost-till-dawn Tron-A-Thon last month, you’ve got another chance. Coma Gun Music and the Music Builds Foundation are presenting a graduation celebration at the Orange Peel on Saturday, May 16. Lipp will play, along with Sci Fi and others. Advance tix are $8; $10 at the door, with proceeds going to a community-outreach documentary project. Congrats grads! Time to dance your booties off.