And how about Martin's banjo playing? Dude can definitely play. His right hand is quite good, crisp and precise, and while he's not going to win any picking contests with fifth-gear speed, he's got a distinctive style that's fittingly playful and smart. In a way, he has to be good. If he weren't, the whole thing could backfire terribly, and Martin knows it.

"I have to have confidence in my own music, or I wouldn't put it out there," he says. "I look at every song on the record and ask, 'Is this valid?' And I believe that every song is valid." He notes that his first record was nominated for six International Bluegrass Music Association awards and he's clearly proud of that accomplishment, but you can tell he really, at heart, just loves the music and wants to be considered a high-level musician: "I've been lucky to sort of transform myself," he says, "and I have met the best players in the world, and they've been very kind and nice to me."

Sam Pfeifle can be reached at sam_pfeifle@yahoo.com.

STEVE MARTIN AND THE STEEP CANYON RANGERS | with Tony Trischka | at Merrill Auditorium, in Portland | May 18 @ 7:30 pm | portlandovations.org

< prev  1  |  2  | 
  Topics: Music Features , Bluegrass, Paul McCartney, Steve Martin,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY SAM PFEIFLE
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   LIVING WITH SNAEX  |  November 03, 2014
    Snaex's new record The 10,000 Things is all a big fuck you to what? Us? Lingering dreams of making music for others to consume? Society at large?  
  •   THE BIG MUDDY  |  October 24, 2014
    Some people just want it more.
  •   TALL HORSE, SHORT ALBUM  |  October 16, 2014
    If Slainte did nothing more than allow Nick Poulin the time and space to get Tall Horse together, its legacy may be pretty well secure. Who knows what will eventually come of the band, but Glue, as a six-song introduction to the world, is a damn fine work filled with highly listenable, ’90s-style indie rock.
  •   REVIVING VIVA NUEVA  |  October 11, 2014
    15 years ago last week, Rustic Overtones appeared on the cover of the third-ever issue of the Portland Phoenix .
  •   RODGERS, OVER AND OUT  |  October 11, 2014
    It’s been a long time since standing up and pounding on a piano and belting out lyrics has been much of a thing.

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE