Sharing Steve :: New Stuff
Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Steve at the Grand Ole Opry

-- and not as a member of the audience!
The Malaysian Insider
Thursday April 23 2009
Steve Martin to make Grand Ole Opry debut

NASHVILLE, April 2 — Comedian Steve Martin next month will make his debut on a new type of stage for the well-known television and movie star, plucking his banjo at country music’s Grand Ole Opry.

Martin, a veteran of TV shows like “Saturday Night Live” and films such as the recent “Pink Panther 2,” has long been a banjo player. He even incorporated the instrument into his stand-up comedy act as he rose to stardom in the 1970s.

But only last month Martin released his first music CD, a bluegrass album called “The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo,” which he will perform at country music’s premiere venue on May 30, in Nashville.

Martin began playing banjo at age 17, and recently joked with reporters in New York that early in his career he opened a Manhattan night club picking away at the instrument but nobody turned out. On the second night he agreed to play for free, and when the club was empty again, the owner fired him.

“I thought if I don’t do it now, my fingers might slow down or I might forget the songs,” the 63-year-old Martin said about making “The Crow” with 15 original songs.

His friend Jon McEuen, a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and producer of “The Crow,” had a different take on Martin’s abilities.

“The Opry audience will find out when Steve picks, that he’s a musician disguised as an actor,” said McEuen, who met Martin as a teenager when both worked at Disneyland in California.

McEuen also will perform songs from Martin’s album at the Opry, alongside country stars including Vince Gill and Amy Grant.

Opry manager Pete Fisher said the venue was excited about the upcoming show. “Of course we’ve all been fans of (Martin’s) work on stage, television and in film for years, but we’ve also been very impressed with his musicianship,” Fisher said. — Reuters

Steve on Tour with his banjo
Steve Martin Unleashes His Inner Banjo Man
Posted on Wednesday April 22, 2009 at 11:01 AM 1 |

One of the more unusual lineups to benefit a charity this year has to be the night billed as “Steve Martin’s Big Bad Banjo and a conversation with Dave Barry.” It’s happening May 11 at L.A. Live’s Club Nokia, and it benefits the Los Angeles Public Library.

Steve Martin fans already know the comedian/actor/author’s history with the banjo. Any one who caught one of Martin’s early appearances on TV during the ‘70s is sure to remember the image of the comedian wearing bunny ears or an arrow-through-the-head novelty gag while playing the instrument.

Martin’s banjo playing kind of took a backseat during years of movies, books and more movies. That is, until he played second banjo on Earl Scruggs’ Grammy-winning recording of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” in 2001, holding his own against country stars like Vince Gill and Marty Stuart.

Martin will perform songs from his hit bluegrass album, The Crow: New Songs For The Five-String Banjo. Playing with Martin will be the Steep Canyon Rangers as well as the CD’s producer, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder John McEuen.

“I am very excited to raise money for the Los Angeles Public Library and plan to try to keep it all,” Martin said.

But that’s only half of the show. Humor author Dave Barry, the inspiration for‘90s CBS sitcom “Dave’s World,” also appears. Barry is a musician in his own right and plays bass for the literary music group known as the Rock Bottom Remainders.

“In today’s economy, we need to support our public libraries. And when you say ‘public library,’ the phrase that immediately comes to mind is ‘banjo music,’” Barry said. “So I’m really looking forward to asking Steve Martin probing questions about his new album, such as: ‘WHY?’”

The evening will be presented by The Library Foundation of Los Angeles and it launches the organization’s “ALOUD at L.A. Live” series. Tickets go on sale April 24 and range from $25 to $250.

Steve Martin Sets Album Release
(Rounder) After a successful run with a limited release of The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, multi-talented Grammy and Emmy winning actor/comedian/musician and bestselling author Steve Martin will release the album on Rounder Records on May 19, 2009.

Originally released exclusively through on January 27, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo reached #1 on Billboard’s Top Bluegrass Albums chart, #7 on Billboard’s Top Internet Albums chart, #38 on Billboard’s Top Independent Albums chart and reached #2 on Amazon’s Top Music Sellers. All of the songs on The Crow were written by Martin.

The Rounder release will feature an instrumental version of “Calico Train” as a bonus track that was not on the Amazon version. Rounder will also release a deluxe version of The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, with several additional tracks and special pop-up artwork, the details of which will be announced shortly.

Martin will make his Grand Ole Opry debut on May 30. Lifelong friend John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) who produced the album and assembled an all-star cast to record with Martin, will appear on the show along with Vince Gill, Amy Grant, Stuart Duncan, Tim O’Brien and more. The artists will be performing select songs from The Crow album, and Martin will sing his composition “Late for School.” The only other time Steve performed this song live was when he hosted Saturday Night Live for the 15th record-breaking time on January 31, 2009.

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