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
  •   WHAT YOU SAY, RYAN?  |  July 16, 2014
    Ryan’s calling card is his sincerity. While the production and presentation are of a genre, you won’t find him talking about puffing the chron or dissing women or dropping a million f-bombs or using a bunch of contemporary rap jargon. He’s got a plan and he executes it, with more variety and modes of attack than he’s had on display to this point.
  •   BETTY CODY, 1921-2014  |  July 11, 2014
    The Maine music community lost a hidden giant last week with the death of Betty Cody, at 92.
  •   ADVENTURES IN LO-FI  |  July 11, 2014
    One obvious reason for heavy music is catharsis, a healthy release for all the built-up bullshit modern life entails. Like kickboxing class for suburban women, but with lots of black clothing and long hair.
  •   FULL HORNS AHEAD  |  July 03, 2014
    An arrangement of alto and baritone sax, trombone, and trumpet combining to front a band like Mama’s Boomshack grabs your attention so completely. There just aren’t many bands doing that.
  •   TOUGH AND TUMBLE  |  June 25, 2014
    A new album of rough ones from the Toughcats

 See all articles by: SAM PFEIFLE