Steep Canyon Rangers on Prairie Home Companion

Steep Canyon Rangers will be musical guests on this weekend’s edition of A Prairie Home Companion, broadcasting live from the Fox Theater in Atlanta at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday (5/22).

The Rangers have gotten a huge visibility boost this past year serving as both the opening act and backing band for Steve Martin while he is touring in support of his popular banjo album, The Crow. This weekend, though, the boys get a shot on national radio on their own, where they can feature songs from their current CD, Deep In The Shade.

Rangers banjo picker Graham Sharp shared a few words about how this guest spot came their way, and what they are leaning towards performing on the show.

“We played A Prairie Home Companion last fall near the outset of our tour with Steve Martin. It’s a pretty amazing show to see it all come together and somehow click just right. Before we left, Garrison invited us to come back on our own sometime, so that’s what we’ll be doing this Saturday in Atlanta.

I suspect we’ll be playing all tunes off Deep In The Shade; probably Turn Up The Bottle, and maybe I Thought That She Loved Me.  It’s hard to say because the producers might have an opinion on the songs we do.”

Graham also expressed how much of a benefit the band has received from their affiliation with Martin.

Steep Canyon Rangers - Deep In The Shade“The tour with Steve this spring was fantastic. Once we were totally comfortable with the material from The Crow, during last years tour, we started working up some new tunes that Steve has written. As you know, he comes up with these melodic, very distinctive songs. Most of these new ones are vocal numbers, even an a capella song that Steve joins in on. We’re close to having enough for the record we’ll be making together here in Asheville this August.

Being on stage, backstage, and on the road with Steve has been a huge learning experience for us. The  attention to detail, the willingness to try new stuff, and the ability to honestly judge what’s working and what’s not, and the overall commitment is obviously a big reason he’s as successful as he is; so that is special for us to be a part of.

Another benefit is the merch sales. Simply the ability to play for large crowds on ‘off-nights’ – Mondays, Tuesdays,etc – gives us a boost. Deep In The Shade has popped back up on the Billboard Bluegrass Top 10 for the last couple weeks.

We’ll be doing some festivals through the rest of May ourselves, then start back with Steve on Bonaroo weekend, including a few shows with the Punch Brothers. Should be fun.”

Though the show airs live in many radio markets, others hold it for broadcast on Sunday afternoon. You can check the official station list to double check when it airs in your area – or tune in online where the show will stream live at Saturday at 6:00 p.m. (EDT).

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.