Steve Martin and SCR in LA

Steve Martin with Steep Canyon Rangers in Los Angeles - photo from the Los Angeles TimesJacket Copy, the Los Angeles Times books blog, carried a review today on Steve Martin’s show last night (5/11) with Steep Canyon Rangers in L.A.

Why the books blog, you may ask? Well, the show was a benefit for the L.A. Library, and part of their ALOUD series of lectures and arts presentations. The event included an interview with fellow humorist, Dave Barry, and a reception with the artists.

Blog author Carolyn Kellogg nicely conveys the good will and the interest in Martin’s music from a home town crowd.

“I’m very sorry for the late start,” Steve Martin said as he took a seat on stage Monday night. “If I were you, I’d hate me by now.”

Judging by the burst of laughter, I’d say all was forgiven. It was the first time the L.A. Public Library held a fundraiser at downtown’s LA Live entertainment district, and the proceedings were a bit bumpy: VIPs stuck on the sidewalk, all but missing the pre-party; crowds bottlenecked at entryways; that 30-minute show delay. But people had come to see Martin talk and then play banjo, and they weren’t going to let a few snafus ruin the evening.

She concludes with a sentiment that bodes well for Martin’s hope to be seriously considered as a musical artist.

Joining Martin on stage for two songs was his record producer and longtime friend John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, who played banjo. Barry, who plays guitar in the rock-band-of-authors the Rock Bottom Remainders, came on stage for the encore, the classic bluegrass tune “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.” The performers received two standing ovations.

There isn’t really anybody with Martin’s talents: He can write for page and screen, kill at comedy, play the banjo well enough to accompany Earl Scruggs. If at times some in the audience were slow to shift gears, well, that’s only to be expected. They were clearly all fans, but it’s hard to keep up with Martin. In fact, he set the bar pretty high for the L.A. Public Library ALOUD series at LA Live ‚Äî he’ll be a hard act to follow.

Read the full review online.

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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.