Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Friday, October 09, 2009
Steve has revamped his official website
Steve's official website is still http://stevemartin.com. However, it has been completely revamped with a blog, news, and a store for buying genuine Steve stuff.
Long-time users of his site will find that there is no longer a message board. Addicts are wandering the web even as we speak wondering where everybody else is.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Another review of Steve at the Rubin
Vanity Fair Online
Steve Martin, Bodhisattva on Banjo
by David Friend
May 29, 2009, 12:42 PM
Steve-Martin_88025699.jpgActor and musician Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers perform at Rubin Museum of Art on May 27, 2009 in New York City. By Neilson Barnard/Getty Images
The redoubtable Steve Martin, comedian-actor-playwright-novelist-essayist-vocalist and balloon-sculpture model, is also a first-rate bluegrass artist, as evidenced this week in his series of banjo jamborees with the Steep Canyon Rangers at New York’s Rubin Museum of Art.
His concert last night, “A Tentative Evening of Bluegrass,” was that giddy amalgam we’ve come to expect from the inimitable Martin: equal parts deadpan, Tin Pan, and pandemonium, with gusts of “A Mighty Wind,” Victor Borge, and P.D.Q. Bach. The setting set the tone. Manhattan’s premiere showcase for Himalayan Art, the Rubin (known for its unrivaled and always eclectic Buddhist-chic slate of performances, lectures, and screenings) has literally zero thematic overlap with bluegrass. But that didn’t stop the Rubin’s inventive producer, Tim McHenry (a former Vanity Fair staffer), from booking Martin and justifying it thusly: “In 2003, musicologists from the University of North Carolina went to Tibet to explain the connection between bluegrass and Tibetan culture. And they found they had something in common: Plucking.” (Music, McHenry posited, is sometimes a reliable path to enlightenment. And rare is the venue in which entertainers can make reference to both a mountaintop bodhisattva and the Foggy Mountain Boys.)
The sextet of Martin and the hirsute, lightning-fingered Steep Canyon Rangers (whose “Lovin’ Pretty Woman” was nominated in 2008 for Bluegrass Album of the Year) went through a boisterous, rollicking, frolicking set that was transcendent in its own whacked-out way. Fiddler Nicky Sanders’s stroking stoked the crowd. Mike Guggino lovingly attacked his mandolin. Guitarist-vocalist Woody Platt, resembling a young Andy Griffith, delivered Glen Campbellished, Del McCoury-ian vocals. And Martin, throughout, was polished, poised, and hilarious.
The four highlights of the night: the Johnny Cash-Goes-To-Kashmir “Song of the Old West” (rechristened “Song of the Old East,” with some subtle raga inflections); the homey, way-Wobegon “Late For School”; the exquisitely heart-warming and electric “Orange Blossom Special” (with Sanders effecting a fiddle-fueled freight train); and Martin’s “The Crow,” performed as a banjo menage-a-trois, thanks to a cameo by Tony Trischka. (Earlier this year, Martin’s song “The Crow,” as the comedian explained, “actually became a minor hit on the bluegrass charts [which means] it’s a big hit on the bluegrass charts, selling, oh, 700 copies.”)
By the end of the night, every cell in this listener’s frame was delightfully athrob.
Steve at the Rubin Museum of Art with good pics
Posted in music | pictures on May 29, 2009
Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers in NYC - a review
Below is a proper review of Thursday night's show to go along with Ryan Muir's pictures....
Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers
The Rubin Museum Of Art
Thursday 28th May, 9.30pm set
by Martin Longley
Steve Martin elected to dub his show A Tentative Evening Of Bluegrass, perhaps guarding in advance against the obvious tendency of his audience asking the question of whether a comedian is also allowed to play the banjo. Woody Allen has faced the same grilling over his clarinet abilities. This is always the way when an artist shifts disciplines, whether from acting to rock'n'roll, from rock'n'roll to photography, from movies to fashion design, from boxing to perfumery or from pop to porn. Martin recorded The Crow: New Songs For The Five-String Banjo in New Jersey, but you'd never guess. It's now riding high in the bluegrass charts.
Three not surprisingly sold-out shows over two nights at The Rubin Museum Of Art demonstrate his picking skills in a decisive fashion. This is a venue that insists on a regime of completely acoustic performance, and that stipulation is ideal for bringing the music right back to its absolute roots. Martin's fronting The Steep Canyon Rangers from Asheville, North Carolina, a youngish quintet that adopt the classic bluegrass formation of guitar (Woody Platt), fiddle (Nicky Sanders), upright bass (Charles R. Humphrey III), banjo (Graham Sharp), mandolin (Mike Guggino) and compulsory vocalising for all. The only element that isn't traditional is the presence of Martin himself, making up a two-banjo attack. But Sharp isn't here to shadow Martin, to support his untried skills. No. Often, the two are alternating phrases in call-and-response, or Sharp is sitting out whilst Martin plays lead. It's more like a twin-pronged soloist set-up. Martin is frequently right out front, spotlighting his fleet skills. He's not a hammerer, but more of a silvery skater.
Some of Martin's songs began their evolution over four decades ago, and have only been completed recently. He's been playing the banjo since he was a kid, and is a genuine enthusiast rather than a casual dilettante. Martin playing some intricate lead phrases, and offering the occasional vocal. His non-amplified projection skills are impressive, as he quips in-between songs. Martin might mock himself, the band, the audience and, indeed, the whole of existence itself, but once the music commences, a serious focus sharpens.
He considered the lyrics for "Daddy Played The Banjo" as bad poetry, but also the makings of a good country song. Martin's odd-tune-out is "Late For School", a racing comedy number where his vocals take centre-stage. There's also a tribute to bluegrass king Bill Monroe, with readings of "Orange Blossom Special" and "Sitting On Top Of The World" (not the old blues chestnut). The Himalayan-obsessed Rubin usually asks its visiting artists to pen a piece that's inspired by an exhibit in the museum, but Martin merely elects to switch "Saga Of The Old West" to "Saga Of The Old East". He's fighting the onstage heat, with persistent banjo tuning problems, which is all good fodder for wisecracks (the changing room temperature is generated by the audience's rapidly-shifting hot-then-cold attention-span!). The rapport between Martin and his Rangers is startling, even they've only been working together for a short spell. When Martin vacates the stage, leaving them to play a pair of tunes from their accustomed repertoire, it's a chance to hear how different their band personality can be when operating independently. These are more song-based pieces. Martin returns, and in the trusty way, everyone gets to step forward, delivering their solo flashes, all of them highly expressive. And then, out comes Tony Trischka for a three-banjo tussle, reprising his 2007 collaboration with Martin. This is prime entertainment, as parodic comedy chaos is grafted onto sheer musical substance. The compulsive charisma of Martin is witnessed at close range, his banjoman reputation is solidified, bluegrass music continues its re-revival and The Steep Canyon Rangers increase their profile immeasurably.
More about this show, with full picture set, HERE.
Journalist covering China, environment, architecture and culture
Posted: May 29, 2009 02:49 PM
Steve Martin on Banjo at the Rubin: "My Hit Single 'King Tut' Was Not a Fluke"
He may have lost to Kris Allen on American Idol, but Steve Martin and his banjo album "The Crow" landed on the pop charts this week, his first time back there since 1981's EP "The Steve Martin Brothers." Yet if we were guessing that his new Billboard status might have had something to do with his brand name or the bluegrass firepower he brings with him on his new record - Mary Black, Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Dolly Parton along with banjo masters Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick and Tony Trischka - the joke is, well, on us.
That was the verdict last night at the Rubin Museum of Art, after the award winning comedian-actor-playwright-novelist-memoirist rounded out an intimate two-night residency with a mesmerizing display of banjo pickin', songwritin', a bit of singing (his voice doesn't quite warrant the apostrophe) and, yes, jokes. "This is a song," he began with a folkly lilt, "well -- that pretty much says it." Even tuning his instrument between songs drew hair-trigger giggles and hollers.
But it was the songs themselves that drew the biggest reaction. How did it feel to be on the pop charts again after 27 years, I asked him later. "This proves that my hit single, "King Tut," was not a fluke."
The comedian known for his wacky banjo playing seemed a little determined to be something more like the banjo player with the wacky sense of humor. Why else had he traded his trademark white suit for near-black pinstripes? "Beats me," shrugged his wife Anne Stringfield when we asked. "The gravitas?"
On the nostalgic "Daddy Played the Banjo," Martin showed off not only some deft and swift fingering but revealed a lyrical imagination refreshingly heart-felt (the lyrics came from an intentionally bad poem he wrote, but "they made for a good country song"). Even the funny song he sings, "Late for School," had a down-home sweetness to it, and wouldn't be out of place on a children's album, which isn't a bad thing at all.
If, for a moment, the city slicker audience managed to pull its eyes away from Martin, they might have thought they were in the hands of a some progressive Carolinian master. (And they were in the hands of a few: halfway through, Martin left the stage to let his backup band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, take over for a rollicking virtuosic performance.)
But the audience was stuck on the wild and crazy Renaissance guy, hanging on every pluck and quip, and probably at times thinking something like, he's not funny or awe-inspiring - he is a little scary. Agnes Gund, a pal through Martin's art collecting, sat glued down in front. "I've known him for years but never seen this before," she said afterward. "He's really great."
There was modesty and fake pompousness ("I'm in front here, because, you know, I'm the guy," he explained. Later: "I made a deal with Graham [Sharp, the other banjo player] - every time I make a mistake he has to make one too.")
But he also crushed any doubts about his chops with "Clawhammer Melody," a mash-up of standards on which he showed off the unusual style of clawhammering, or frailing. Instead of being pulled by three fingers, like the way Earl Scruggs does it, Martin depresses the banjos's strings with five fingers - a particularly challenging technique, but one at which he's considered a master.
He's also a master at some other things, and he took plenty of opportunities to hit comedic notes. He did it effortlessly too, without anything like a routine. "This song is so great that I wish I wrote it," he said of "Orange Blossom Special," an old train standard. "And I was thinking about it recently, and I realized, 'Hey, I did write it!'"
He didn't, but he did change one line, intoning the chorus that first made him famous: "King Tut!"
Before he played his new album's title track, an eye-opening duo with banjo master Trischka, Martin said it had became a minor hit in the bluegrass world.
"And in the bluegrass world," he quipped, "a minor hit is a major hit."
Steve will perform two shows tomorrow night at the Grand Ole Opry, accompanied by Vince Gill, Amy Grant, John McEuen and Tim O'Brien. And he'll be on the Jimmy Fallon Show on Tuesday.
Keep updated on Steve's Banjo Tour Dates
I haven't found anywhere that documents the changing tour dates from Steve's end. But the Steep Canyon Rangers have a constantly updated tour section that I recommend. You can tell which dates are with Steve since they have his pic at the side. Go to: http://www.steepcanyon.com/tour/.
Besides you can hear the Steep Canyon Rangers' music while you browse. They're very good.
No Steve at the New Yorker Festival This Year
The headline says it all -- Steve has other things to do, like pursue his new career as a musician.
Steve and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Wild 'n' crazy bluegrass: Steep Canyon Rangers, Steve Martin start tour in Brevard
Tony Kiss • published September 6, 2009 12:15 am
BREVARD [N.Carolina] – Asheville's Steep Canyon Rangers have traveled a long road since the old days, when they were playing bluegrass at Jack of the Wood, the Town Pump and the Harvest Festival in Fairview.
This fall, they're on the road with an upcoming CD, “Deep in the Shade,” shows at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center and other famed venues — and a new partner: Steve Martin. Yes, THAT Steve Martin, the film star who's also an accomplished banjo picker.
The Martin-Rangers tour opens at the sold-out Mountain Song Festival on Saturday on the grounds of Brevard Music Center. Then the gang hits the road for a national tour with the Rangers serving as Martin's band.
“He's a great banjo picker,” said Rangers guitarist and singer Woody Platt. “People know him as a comedian and actor and writer, but he's always played banjo. He has a unique style that fits right into bluegrass music.”
The players are taking this opportunity seriously, Platt said.
“It's not a comedy show,” he said. “Naturally, he's the emcee and does almost all the talking, and that somehow turns into jokes. But the main thing is about the music.”
Martin is happily sharing the spotlight with the Rangers: Platt, Graham Sharp on banjo, Mike Guggino on mandolin, Charles R. Humphrey III on bass and Nicky Sanders on fiddle. The actor and the band met through a Platt family connection.
Hooking up with Martin “is the biggest thing that has happened to us,” Platt said. “It's generated the biggest press that we've had. But we are pretty focused. We have come a long way, and it hasn't been easy or for lack of effort.”
Taking the road with Martin would have been sweet enough, but the band's new CD drops Oct. 6, the same night they're playing New York's legendary Carnegie Hall. “That's one of the top venues that I always wanted to play,” along with the Grand Ole Opry, he said. “The Opry happened, and now Carnegie is about to happen.”
Since forming a decade ago at UNC Chapel Hill, the Rangers have always kept North Carolina in their hearts. One of the band's earliest breaks came in 2002, when they won the bluegrass competition at the Mountain State Fair and opened for Earl Scruggs. Four years ago, Platt and musician John Felty, of the band Jupiter Coyote, launched the Mountain Song Festival, which has grown into a major local event.
The same year, the band took the Emerging Artists of the Year honors at the International Bluegrass Music Awards, giving them a national launching pad. And in 2007, their CD “Lovin' Pretty Women” was nominated for the IBMA's Album of the Year.
The 15-city tour with Martin is sure to be a whirlwind, but halfway through “we have to jump off and do a couple shows that were (previously) booked,” Platt said. “Then we go back at it. That's the way it is with bluegrass.”
Steve and Banjo in London (England)
Steve Martin @ Southbank Centre
"Steve Martin - how come you're not funny anymore," inquired Dennis Pennis in a notorious red carpet moment over a decade ago. Well, Martin has many more strings to his bow than his all-but-forgotten interlocutor. On 9 November, the white-haired entertainer comes to the Southbank Centre with his bluegrass band The Steep Canyon Rangers for his first UK appearance behind a banjo. Tickets are on sale from today for Southbank members, and from Thursday for non-members. Prices start from £25. Here's a preview of the great man twanging his banjo, and you can listen to his infectious new album 'The Crow' on Spotify.
By M@ in Arts & Events on September 15, 2009 10:18 AM
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Good article on Steve and the banjo
Steve Martin in the banjo underground
Aug 16, 2009 04:30 AM
It's no surprise to his more devoted fans to see comedian/actor and playwright/novelist Steve Martin hitting the road at long last with his banjo.
A master of the three-finger picking style for which his mentor, banjo legend Earl Scruggs, is known, Martin began featuring the traditional folk instrument, albeit in a coy, self-deprecating way, in his comic routines 30 years ago.
But to anyone who was familiar with the five-string banjo, it was clear, even then, that the wild and crazy guy with the fake arrow through his head was a serious picker, just lacking confidence.
The banjo has never been far from his side throughout his long performing career. In dressing rooms, hotel suites, and on movie sets, one of his instruments — he owns three rare and valuable Gibson Florentine banjos — is always close at hand.
And banjo music has been a consuming passion for Martin since the folk boom years of the 1960s, he said in a phone interview this week from his home in Los Angeles. While others flocked to music stores to buy guitars, he was checking out the far more demanding — and not nearly as cool — banjo, and hunting down recordings of old-time Appalachian bluegrass bands.
"I just loved the sound of it from the first time I heard it," Martin said amid preparations for a tour that brings him — and sidekicks, the Steep Canyon Band, from North Carolina — to Roy Thomson Hall Oct. 15.
"Nothing else sounds like the banjo. It's the show-off instrument in bluegrass, both percussive and melodic, and capable of such an incredible range of emotions, from joy to melancholy."
Following up on the critical praise heaped on his recently released Rounder Records album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, comprising banjo-dominated bluegrass instrumentals and folksy ballads — most of them written by Martin — and encouraged by enthusiastic responses this summer to a couple of guest appearances at high-profile festivals and a handful of sold-out small-venue shows in New York and L.A., the famed comedian and movie star is reinventing himself as a banjo virtuoso, with concerts booked in coming weeks at Carnegie Hall, Nashville's Ryman Auditorium and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival in San Francisco.
"I'm playing live venues again for the first time in 30 years, now that the pressure is off," Martin said.
Though he has played continually for his own amusement, and occasionally picked up bluegrass recordings in record stores, Martin credits satellite radio for increasing his appetite for banjo music. "It was fantastic. I could just tune into the bluegrass channel and listen to music I'd never have been able to find any other place," he said.
But it was Scruggs' invitation six years ago to do a little picking on his Earl Scruggs and Friends album — featuring bluegrass, country music, pop and rock stars — and the success of his Grammy-winning version of the bluegrass staple "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," a duet with Martin, that got his strings really vibrating.
"A couple of years later (famed banjo master) Tony Trischka asked me to play on one of his sessions, and I figured there must be 500 pickers better than me," Martin continued. "I said I'd do it if I could bring something original to the table, a piece I'd written called 'The Crow.' That's really how this whole thing began."
"The Crow" actually became something of a cult hit — Martin's second, after his 1978 novelty breakout, "King Tut" — and since he had several other original songs lying around, some dating back to the 1960s, he decided to record them, with the help of long-time friend, banjo instructor and producer, John McEuen. Country, folk and bluegrass greats such as Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Jerry Douglas, Mary Black, David Amram, Stuart Duncan, Russ Barenberg, Trischka and Scruggs, also contributed.
Though The Crow was, he said, "motivated by idleness — just sitting around with nothing to do," he's more than pleased with the result.
"I'm very happy with the record. But I've been writing and playing so much since it was finished, and my chops are so much better. I wish I could do it all over again. And I've written five new songs that I wish we could have recorded as well."
Billed in the liner notes as "the most expensive banjo album in the history of the universe, and that includes possible alternative universes, too," The Crow is hard to dismiss as a movie star's vanity sideline project. The focus of the entire effort is on Martin's own compositions and smart finger work, and both stand up to the intense scrutiny of a really picky audience.
"The banjo culture might be underground, but it's vast," Martin said. "It extends to England, Ireland, Scotland, Czechoslovakia, even Switzerland – I'm just beginning to learn how deep and wide the banjo world is. In North America, banjo playing is like a contact sport, with contests all over the place."
Not that he interesting in competing. "I just want to stick with it," he added. "There are better pickers than me, and there always will be, and certainly better singers. But my audience seems to understand I'm serious about this — and I make it clear to them what they're in for — and I've had no difficulty getting them to come along for the ride."
Where the ride will take him, Martin doesn't care.
"It seems to be keeping Alzheimer's at bay," he said. "And that's a good thing."
Saturday, August 15, 2009
3 Articles about Steve Paying Tribute to John Hughes
movie news | Thu. 08 06. 2009 8:20 PM EDT
Steve Martin, Matthew Broderick, More Pay Tribute To John Hughes
'The man who spoke for geeks way before anyone else did,' writer/director Kevin Smith tweeted.
by Eric Ditzian
John Hughes in 1984 ( AP )
In the hours since legendary comedy writer and director John Hughes passed away at the age of 59 from a heart attack, tributes from actors who worked with him over his decades-long career have poured in.
"I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes," Matthew Broderick, who starred in Hughes' "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," said in a statement. "He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family."
Macaulay Culkin rose to fame in the Hughes-scripted blockbuster "Home Alone" and went on to appear in "Home Alone 2: Lost in New York" two years later. "I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person," Culkin said in a statement. "The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."
In 1987, Steve Martin starred alongside John Candy in another of Hughes' writer/director projects, "Planes, Trains and Automobiles." "He was such a great writer who created so many enduring characters for film, both as a director and a writer," Martin told CNN. "His real gift was in creating these identifiable characters."
"The script for 'Planes, Trains and Automobiles' was the best script I had ever read," he added. "I asked John how long it took to write it, he said, 'I wrote it over the weekend.' The weekend. That shows you what he was able to do."
Jon Cryer, who played the memorable role of Duckie in 1986's "Pretty in Pink," said in a statement, "This is a horrible tragedy. He was an amazing man to work for and with. He respected young actors in a way that made you realize you had to step up your game because you were playing in the big leagues now. That's why he got such great performances out of his actors. My heart goes out to his wife Nancy and their children."
Tributes have come as well from directors and actors who never worked with Hughes but nonetheless were influenced by his work. "The flag's at half-mast," wrote Kevin Smith on his Twitter. "John Hughes, the man who spoke for geeks way before anyone else did."
"R.I.P. John Hughes," Rainn Wilson tweeted. " 'The Breakfast Club' was a revelation to my late teen-age years. You're my hero."
This report is from MTV News.
has nice gallery of photos
07 August 2009 08:11
STEVE MARTIN - STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO HUGHES
STARS PAY TRIBUTE TO HUGHES
STEVE MARTIN, MACAULAY CULKIN and MATTHEW BRODERICK are leading the tributes to director JOHN HUGHES, who died on Thursday (06Aug09).
Hughes passed away after suffering a heart attack while out walking in Manhattan, New York.
The father of two stepped away from the limelight in the 1990s but stars from the big screen have offered their fond memories of the director, whose career spanned back to the 1980s.
Broderick, who was directed by Hughes in the 1986 comedy Ferris Bueller's Day Off, was devastated to hear of his death and has sent his condolences to the moviemaker's grief-stricken relatives.
He says, "I am truly shocked and saddened by the news about my old friend John Hughes. He was a wonderful, very talented guy and my heart goes out to his family."
Actress Molly Ringwald, who starred in three of Hughes' hit movies - Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink - was equally shocked to hear of his sudden passing.
She adds, "I was stunned and incredibly sad to hear about the death of John Hughes. He was and will always be such an important part of my life. He will be missed - by me and by everyone that he has touched. My heart and all my thoughts are with his family now."
Veteran star Steve Martin, who worked with Hughes on 1987's Planes, Trains And Automobiles, remembers the director with affection: "John Hughes was a great director, but his gift was in screenwriting. He created deep and complex characters, rich in humanity and humour."
And former child star MACaulay Culkin, directed by Hughes in Uncle Buck and the Home Alone movies in the early 1990s, is adamant that the late film-maker's work will live on for decades to come.
He says, "I was a fan of both his work and a fan of him as a person. The world has lost not only a quintessential filmmaker whose influence will be felt for generations, but a great and decent man."
07 August 2009 08:11
The Marquee Blog Watch Showbiz Tonight on HLN at 11pm ET/PT « Back to Blog Main
August 6, 2009
Martin: Hughes’ script “best I ever read”
Posted: 07:35 PM ET
Here’s what we do in entertainment news when we get word someone famous dies:
1) Put out calls and e-mails to confirm what we are hearing
2) Gather all the related video and information about how they died and their body of work
3) Put out calls and e-mails to the publicists of those also-famous folks who may have known or have worked with the person who has died, to sort of put the reporting in larger perspective.
Usually, the publicist will return our official request with a short “statement” from the celebrity they represent. We get the star’s words as filtered through the media handler.
About an hour ago, the publicist for Steve Martin wanted to know if it would be alright if Steve called me personally to reply to my inquiry and share his recollections and thoughts. Now, I realize he wasn’t calling ME — Rachel — he was calling CNN, but suddenly don’t I feel special? “Steve Martin will be calling me himself!”, I bragged to my colleagues. “See if he’ll play the banjo for you,” someone said.
Then, came the call (number was blocked from caller ID of course), and I realized I was talking to a guy, who was rather shocked and saddened to hear that someone he really personally respected had passed on. At CNN we’re not only often the first to break the news on air, but sometimes we’re breaking news to those you wish you didn’t have to tell — famous and not.
I think Steve called personally because he wanted to know what I knew, or what CNN knew, about John Hughes’ death.
Here’s what he shared with me and what we’re reporting:
“He was such a great writer who created so many enduring characters for film, both as a director and a writer. His real gift was in creating these identifiable characters.”
“The script for ‘Planes, Trains, and Automobiles’ was the best script I had ever read. When I asked John how long it took to write it, he said, ‘I wrote it over the weekend’. The weekend. That shows you what he was able to do.” (Martin says the script for “Planes, Trains and Automobiles” still holds as the best script he has ever read and only film on which they worked together)
“He was funny from the start. You know he began his career writing for ‘National Lampoon’…. A piece called ‘My Vagina’. Very funny. Right from the beginning. If you haven’t read it, you should find it.”
Thanks, Steve. I just read it. He’s brilliant. Thanks for taking the time.
Posted by: CNN Entertainment Supervising Producer, Rachel Wells
Trailer review for Steve's new movie, It's Complicated
this site reviews trailers, not movies
By Eric Hughes
August 12, 2009
It's Complicated – Opens December 25th
If there's one thing that Nancy Meyers movies have in common, it's that they make a heck of a lot of money. The last three films she directed (The Holiday, Something's Gotta Give, What Women Want) earned more than $200 million in worldwide sales, including What Women Wants' monstrous $372 million.
For It's Complicated, slated for release on Christmas Day, the writer-director aligned some serious star power (Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin) to continue her stretch of successes into the next decade. Even John Krasinski, Hunter Parrish, Lake Bell and Rita Wilson scored smaller roles.
The trailer to It's Complicated doesn't impress me much. I actually didn't laugh much – if at all. Odd, I know, since this one's got peeps like Emmy winner Alec Baldwin. But I trust Meyers in delivering something worth seeing, since I generally take a liking to her finished products.
You can see the trailer here
This movie is going to be mainly streep and baldwin, with steve playing the nice guy who probably doesn't get the girl.
Article about Steve's love of the banjo
Globe and Mail/Arts
Steve Martin's love affair with the banjo
Steve Martin performs at Club Nokia on May 11, 2009 in Los Angeles.
Steve Martin performs at Club Nokia on May 11, 2009 in Los Angeles. Noel Vasquez/Getty Images
‘The banjo is the most undemanding thing in my life. It's always there for you'
From Thursday's Globe and Mail Last updated on Thursday, Aug. 13, 2009 10:10AM EDT
“The banjo generated nostalgia for experiences I never had, joy I was yet to experience and melancholy that was yet to come.” – Steve Martin, on discovering the instrument as a teenager
But seriously folks, Steve Martin plays the banjo – seriously. The man who would go on to stick arrows in his head, star in The Jerk , write novels and plays and collect art was once a frustrated novice banjo player. Although the plinky five-string mountain-music thing confounded him – “it shouldn't even be playable, but it is” – he had the notion that if he just kept at it, the day would eventually come when he'd have been playing the banjo for 45 years.
Now, with this week's release of The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, a bluegrass album featuring his songs and his playing, Martin's earnestness pays off. The album's subtitle is deceiving – many of the songs are not new, but rerecorded versions of tunes from his 1981 comedy album The Steve Martin Brothers, which featured a complete side of banjo tracks recorded in the seventies.
The new CD, which reached the top of Billboard's bluegrass chart upon its January release on Amazon.com, is as much about Martin's relationship with the instrument as it is about the delightful and spry music. “The banjo is the most undemanding thing in my life,” says Martin from his Los Angeles home, which he shares with his dog and his second wife. “It's always there for you.”
Martin's rapport with the banjo is wryly explained in the generous liner notes that come with the CD. Song-by-song comments tell us that the title track, helped in its development by contemporary players Bela Fleck and Tony Trischka, instigated the new album. It was originally recorded for Trischka's Double Banjo Bluegrass Spectacular and it became a hit single (his first since the nutty King Tut 30 years earlier) on the bluegrass charts.
The booklet's introduction – which begins with “I have loved the banjo my whole life” – is heartfelt, and the song notes are illuminating. Because bluegrass banjo is not mainstream music, you wonder if the background material is included to give needed context to the songs. Not at all, explains Martin, 63. “I'm a writer, and I grew up with the tradition of liner notes. In the sixties, every album had them, especially the music I was listening to, folk and bluegrass music. Every song had a tradition.”
It was in the sixties that Martin, at 18, taught himself the banjo. Motivated by Earl Scruggs's rendition of Foggy Mountain Breakdown, he would slow down banjo records on his turntable and pick out songs note-by-note, with the help of high-school chum and banjo player John McEuen. (A friend to this day, McEuen produced The Crow.) So as to not annoy his family or anyone else, Martin would practise in his car, parked on the street, with the windows rolled up even in the heat of the California summer.
People can hear Martin now, and although his celebrity will undoubtedly draw new fans to the bluegrass genre, he doesn't see himself as any sort of ambassador. “It's not my job to promote the banjo,” says Martin, the owner of a collection of vintage instruments, including two Depression-era Gibson Florentines and a Gibson Granada. “I'm just playing my music.”
Still, Martin knows that the project can only help create exposure for bluegrass – if not through the album itself, then through his talk-show appearances. “You don't really see five-string banjo on Letterman or Leno or Saturday Night Live,” he says. “I know, by the numbers, [the music is] reaching a lot more people this way.”
More people will be reached when Martin hits the road on a tour that stops in Toronto in October. The former standup comedian, who once padded routines by juggling kitties, twisting balloons and playing the banjo, will now feature his banjo music exclusively. “I'm just feeling my way around to get it to where it's easy and fun to do,” Martin says. “I'm trying to make this as fun as possible.”
Steve Martin plays Roy Thomson Hall on Oct. 15; tickets on sale Aug. 21.
Steve's Banjo Tour Itinerary for 2009
Steve Martin and his banjo map fall tour
Published August 4, 2009 02:08 PM
By Tjames Madison / LiveDaily Contributor
Actor/comedian Steve Martin [ tickets ] will pack up his banjo for a rare concert tour this fall as he hits the road to support his chart-topping bluegrass album, which surfaced earlier this year.
Following a Sept. 9 appearance at the Grammy Salute to Country Music event in Nashville, Martin and his banjo will tackle a mix of headlining dates and festival appearances through early November, including an Oct. 6 concert at New York's Carnegie Hall and an Oct. 3 slot at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Dates are below.
Originally released exclusively through Amazon.com in late January, "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo" entered wider retail release via Rounder Records in May. The album currently sits atop Billboard's Top Bluegrass Albums chart.
Martin, a self-taught banjo player who has been performing with the instrument for decades, wrote all of the songs on the set, which features a mix of instrumentals and songs with traditional bluegrass vocals . A variety of guest performers make appearances on the album, including Mary Blak, Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Dolly Parton, Early Scruggs, McEuen, Stuart Duncan, Jerry Douglas, Pete Wernick and Tony Trischka.
Martin, who has released four comedy albums, previously showcased his banjo skills on the 1981 half-comedy, half-music release "The Steve Martin Brothers."
[Note: The following tour dates have been provided by artist and/or tour sources, who verify its accuracy as of the publication time of this story. Changes may occur before tickets go on sale. Check with official artist websites, ticketing sources and venues for late updates.]
tour dates and tickets
9 - Nashville, TN - Grammy Salute to Country Music
12 - Brevard, NC - Mountain Song Festival
29, 30 - Los Angeles, CA - Cafe Largo-Coronet Theater
1 - Nashville, TN - World of Bluegrass
3 - San Francisco, CA - Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival
6 - New York, NY - Carnegie Hall
7 - Boston, MA - Wang Center
9 - Atlanta, GA - Chastain Park Amphitheater
10 - Charlotte, NC - Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
11 - Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
12 - Washington, DC - Kennedy Center
14 - Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre
15 - Toronto, Ontario - Roy Thomson Hall
19 - Philadelphia, PA - Verizon Theater
22 - Chicago, IL - Cadillac Palace Theatre
24 - Denver, CO - Paramount Theatre
27 - Dallas, TX - Meyerson Symphony Center
28 - Los Angeles, CA - Disney Hall
2 - Spokane, WA - Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox
3 - Seattle, WA - Benaroya Hall
Steve to appear in Charlotte NC
with excellent picture
Hottest Ticket: Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Comic legend Steve Martin will perform with the Steep Canyon Rangers in October in Charlotte, N.C.
From staff reports
Published: Thursday, August 13, 2009 at 3:15 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 12, 2009 at 10:24 p.m.
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers
Knight Theater in the N.C. Blumenthal Performing Arts Center
430 S. Tryon St. Charlotte, N.C.
704-372-1000 or www.blumenthalcenter.org,
Show date: 8 p.m. Oct. 10
Tickets: $54; on sale at 10 a.m. Friday
Steve has 6 nominations for the International Bluegrass Awards
Dan Tyminski Band leads bluegrass awards nominations with 9, Steve Martin gets 6
By JOHN GEROME , Associated Press
Last update: August 13, 2009 - 11:52 AM
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Dan Tyminski Band leads all nominees for the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards with nine nods.
Tyminski, a member of Alison Krauss' band Union Station, is nominated in categories including Entertainer of the Year, Male Vocalist and Song of the Year, the last for "Wheels."
The duo Dailey & Vincent has seven nominations and comedian-actor Steve Martin got six.
Martin burst onto the bluegrass scene this year with his first album.
The 20th annual awards will be presented Oct. 1 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville.
The hosts will be Kathy Mattea and the band Hot Rize.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Steve has Emmy nomination for acting
Steve has been nominated for an Emmy as the Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series for his episode of 30 Rock. These are for the 61st annual Primetime Emmy Awards for 2008. The awards will be presented in September, 2009.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
John McEuen on Steve's Crow Album
Uploaded: Monday, June 29, 2009, 2:31 PM
Music: Nitty Gritty, wild and crazy...
Dirt Band founder teams with banjo-humorist for unlikely career resurgence...
by Greg Cahill
When Steve Martin decided to stop using his banjo as a prop in his comedy act--usually accompanied by an arrow through his head--he called his old friend John McEuen, the leader of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, for assistance. The two had met as teens working at Disneyland and shared a love for the sometimes disparaged instrument. Martin went on to become a comedy writer (for the Smothers Brothers and other TV acts) before turning to stand-up comedy and the big screen. McEuen--whose brother William served as Martin's manager for many years--became an influential pop and country musician.
Last spring, Martin contacted McEuen to say he'd written and recorded a few original tunes for the five-string banjo. McEuen listened to the results, which Martin had recorded crudely on a PC, and added a few professional touches.
"Steve was amazed at the results," McEuen recalls. "He called me three times in a single day to discuss the project--I waited to respond because I was savoring his messages that he never knew anyone could make his music sound so good."
McEuen signed on as the album's producer.
"If I had any influence," he says, "it was that I suggested that he record his own music instead of the bluegrass standards he was considering."
He also brought in Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and other country music stars.
The result is Martin's new CD, The Crow: New Songs for Five-String Banjo (Rounder), which is selling, well, if not like hotcakes, then better than your average banjo album.
"How often do you get to make a banjo album with a big movie budget?" he says with a laugh.
Thanks to Martin's star power, McEuen and his banjo-pickin' pal even landed last month on the coveted American Idol finale.
For Martin, The Crow marks his first foray into the legitimate world of bluegrass. McEuen is an old hand at this sort of thing.
In 1966, he formed the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with the intention of fusing traditional acoustical instrumentation with songs that could air on Top 40 radio.
"I got to do it a few times," he says.
The band scored crossover hits with "Mr. Bojangles" and later "House at Pooh Corner." In 1972, the band recorded the classic album Will the Circle Be Unbroken, featuring such bluegrass and country legends as Doc Watson, Maybelle Carter, Roy Acuff and Earl Scruggs. The album introduced a new generation to roots Americana.
McEuen left the band in 1987, for undisclosed reasons. He built a successful solo career and returned to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band in 2001 to re-master the 30th anniversary edition of Will the Circle Be Unbroken, which has remained on the country charts for decades. "Some people call it the Dark Side of the Moon of country albums," says McEuen, referring to Pink Floyd's long-charting 1972 rock album. "It's the album that won't go away--just like the group."
Indeed, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has gone on to score 18 Top 10 country hits.
"The Dirt Band continues because the guys in the group appreciate having a chance to play the legacy of the band," McEuen says. "That's partly because nobody in the band wanted another job. Maybe it's persistence.
"Ultimately, our success is the result of the audience wanting us to be successful."
A new album, The Speed of Life, is due later this summer.
"I think it's the best thing we've done," McEuen concludes. "We're not the best band in the world, but we are the best version of what we do."
Steve filming in NY
(New York's Lower Hudson Valley)
Streep, Baldwin, Martin movie shoot will close Hastings' Main Street
June 26, 2009
HASTINGS-ON-HUDSON - Part of Main Street will be closed later today and overnight for filming of a movie starring Meryl Streep, Steve Martin and Alec Baldwin.
The movie is untitled.
The closing affect Warburton Avenue to Broadway and the Boulanger Plaza parking lot. They will be closed from 4 p.m. today until 7 a.m. tomorrow Stores and restaurants will remain open. Parking is available at the Steinschneider Plaza lot, the post office lot and along Warburton Avenue.
On a totally personal note, I loathe Alec Baldwin and have made it a practice to see absolutely nothing he is in, even if I think I would otherwise like it. The only exceptions I have made to this rule in years is where he appears with Steve. And now a movie -- what to do, what to do.
Steve jokes a bit about Michael Jackson
Rush & Molloy
Much ado about Michael Jackson at the park
Sunday, June 28th 2009, 10:20 PM
Even Shakespeare was upstaged by Michael Jackson at the Public Theater’s opening-night performance of “Twelfth Night.”
Nora Ephron, Liev Schreiber, Chelsea Clinton, Jane Krakowski and Amanda Peet had come to Central Park’s Delacorte Theater to see Anne Hathaway do her cross-dressing turn as Viola. But all conversation turned to the King of Pop when ABC News’ Diane Sawyer arrived with fresh news of Jacko’s passing.
“I was a writer on ‘The Smothers Brothers Show’ when he sang ‘Ben,’ ” Steve Martin recalled. “He sang so beautifully. I remember saying, ‘Who is this guy?’ ”
Still, Martin couldn’t resist whispering to tittering tablemates that Jackson’s death was untimely because “he had just one more round of plastic surgery to go!”
Martin Short told us solemnly that Jackson was a “huge talent.”
“That’s not what you said to me!” interjected Martin.
“Well, it’s what I thought!” snapped Short.
Director Mike Nichols recalled once trooping to Jackson’s Helmsley Palace suite with studio head David Geffen and “SNL” producer Lorne Michaels.
“We had an idea for him,” said Nichols, who was honored by the Public along with entertainment exec Susan Lyne. “David suggested I tell Michael the idea, but I couldn’t remember. So I asked Lorne and he couldn’t remember it. Michael said to us, ‘Am I on ‘Candid Camera’?”
Monday, June 29, 2009
Steve on his Michael Jackson parody
I was living in alaska when this came out. It cracked me up then; it still does.
The New Yorker
June 26, 2009
Steve Martin: My Attempt at Moonwalking
As a dancer, Michael Jackson was great. He was like Fred Astaire. This video, a parody of the “Billie Jean” video, was done for “The New Show,” which was a prime-time NBC program that Lorne Michaels did in 1983-1984, when he wasn’t producing “Saturday Night Live.” This was the opening—it was the first piece on the first episode of the show. Michael Jackson had recently done what I consider to be his life-changing performance on the Grammy Awards, where he did the Moonwalk and threw his hat offstage. He was just brilliant. Then the “Billie Jean” video came out. And this was a parody of that.
I’m not sure whose idea it was; it might have been Lorne’s. Pat Birch choreographed it. The hard move was that little leg twist that he did. You really have to throw your leg. I did it a thousand times in about three days. And a couple of weeks later I noticed—er, I have a pain here. The pain lasted about two years, then it went away on its own.