Steve Martin reviews from the Ryman show

Steve Martin and Steep canyon Rangers at The Ryman Auditorium - photo by Casey HenrySteve Martin performed this past Sunday (10/11) at The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, the first stop in his Fall tour with Steep Canyon Rangers to promote his banjo CD, The Crow. John McEuen opened the show, which also included cameo appearances from Dan Tyminski, Rhonda Vincent and Earl Scruggs.

Martin had a good week at IBMA earlier this month, being warmly embraced by the membership, and the audience at the IBMA Awards show.

There are two reviews of the show that may be of interest, starting with one from Casey Henry, who posted on The Murphy Method blog.

The whole show, from start to finish, was top-notch. Steve demonstrated his love and respect for the banjo and for bluegrass, while simultaneously managing to convey his excitement at actually getting to go on tour playing banjo. He also displayed a canny understanding of the bluegrass touring business: “If all goes according to plan, I’ll only lose $12,000.”

All the songs they performed were Steve’s originals, with the exception of the two that the Steep Canyon Rangers got to do solo: “Turn Up The Bottle” (from their new CD Deep In The Shade) and the a cappella “I Can’t Sit Down”, which the crowd absolutely loved.

Read Casey’s full review online. also has one by Calvin Gilbert.

Between songs, Martin delivered a generous helping of the humor he’s famous for, but music is at the forefront of the current tour showcasing material from his album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo.

Judging by his self-deprecating comments onstage, Martin obviously understands that some people may be skeptical of his desire to play bluegrass music. And who could blame them? Not to name names, but there’s a fairly lengthy list of movie stars who proclaim they would have been singers and musicians if only they hadn’t been sidetracked by Hollywood’s fame and fortune. They want to be taken seriously, but the unfortunate reality is that most of them record albums that leave you wondering if they ever had any serious musical chops to begin with.

It can also be read in full 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.

  • sbonds53

    I don’t care very much for the review written by Casey Henry. He writes like anyone who dares to enter the entertainment industry is a no-count so-and-so. I’m sorry, but he needs to understand that this is how entertainers make a living and they have to do what they can to survive. Steve Martin has been playing his banjo for at least 50 years. He didn’t just wake up last week and decide, “hey! I think I’ll play the banjo!” He is a Professional and a very very serious man in real life. It takes a lot of guts to stand up in front of a bunch of banjo pickers and let them critique his picking ability or his heart for the banjo. I think he deserves some respect for trying. And Henry Casey should do his homework before he writes about people. Steve Martin was playing banjo FIRST when he started out in the business. I remember going to see him at Knott’s Berry Farm when I was just a youngin’ in California and I’m only 8 years younger than he (is). I hope the other reviews Mr. Martin gets are more educated and concentrate on his ability and love for Bluegrass music and his new CD and less on ignorant diatribes about nothing.