Catching up with the Steep Canyon Rangers

FORWARD MOMENTUM: After another successful record with collaborator Steve Martin (and singer-songwriter Edie Brickell, this time around) The Steep Canyon Rangers are back in the studio with Jerry Douglas at the helm. Photo courtesy of the band

The Steep Canyon Rangers must never sleep because, in addition to touring extensively and making albums with famous friends (their most recent is 2014’s Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell LIVE; the track “Pretty Little One” from that album is Grammy-nominated), they also make time to do good deeds. And drink tasty beer. But mostly the good deeds.

The band just announced a partnership with Oskar Blues Brewery and Dale’s Pale Ale for 2015. Since Oskar Blues now has a brewery in Brevard — hometown of some of the Rangers — it’s a logical pairing. “We plan to use our music and touring to help raise money and awareness for their CAN’d Aid foundation and to help introduce their brand to our fans along the way,” said Woody Platt in a press release. A meet-and-greet event held at Pulp, in advance of the band’s sold-out Saturday, Jan. 10, Orange Peel performance, will showcase Oskar Blues’ newest beer release, Pinner Throwback IPA.

The Rangers are currently at work on their next album that, like past projects, is being recorded at Echo Mountain Studios. The band tapped Dobro legend Jerry Douglas to helm the record (“@JerryDouglas is producing our new CD but insists on an extra fee before he starts following @SteepCanyon on Twitter,” they joked via social media in November); Douglas has also signed on as a special guest for the group’s Friday, Jan. 9, show at The Orange Peel. In fact, the two-night stand — which is becoming about as much of a tradition as picking up Grammys — promises to be a teaser of the Steep Canyon Rangers’ next album.

That’s a look ahead, but the past year is worth remembering, too, if the Rangers’ Twitter feed is anything to go by: “Just enough time to hit the slopes before we hit the stage in Aspen; stay tuned for interview live from ski gondola!” (Feb. 26); “Rangers psyched to feature special guest Jeff Sipe (@SipeDrums) tonight in OH & tomorrow night in Hopkinsville, KY!” (June 12); “Paul Simon sat in with Steve Martin, Edie Brickell and the @SteepCanyon Rangers in Texas” (July 31); “Sam [Bush] will be sittin’ in with @steepcanyon this Saturday night at their Mountain Song Festival in Brevard” (Sept. 8); “Nicky sitting in with widespread panic!” (Oct. 28) and “Tune in now: Garrison Keillor discussed fly-fishing w/ Woody Platt just moments ago [on A Prairie Home Companion]” (Nov. 15).

WHO: Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Jerry Douglas
WHERE: The Orange Peel, theorangepeel.net
WHEN: Friday, Jan. 9, 9 p.m. $22 advance/$25 day of show (the band’s Saturday, Jan. 10, seated show was sold out at press time)

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About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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