STEEP CANYON RANGERS (Sat)
The Steep Canyon Rangers are world-class musicians who are just as at home on stage at Carnegie Hall as they are knee-deep in a mountain brook, fly rod in hand.
With their smart, original lyrics, and serious picking, the Steep Canyon Rangers continue to draw legions of new fans to bluegrass. Of course, most bluegrass enthusiasts already know The Steeps: Woody Platt on guitar and lead vocals; Graham Sharp on banjo; Mike Guggino on mandolin; Charles R. Humphrey III on bass; Nicky Sanders on fiddle; and Mike Ashworth on the box kit. They are seasoned entertainers, never failing to thrill their audiences with instrumental dexterity, tight harmonies, and the fun they obviously have on stage. They’re as danceable as the most progressive, party-oriented band around, and equally comfortable translating their songs for accompaniment by a full symphony.
It’s that mix of serious chops and good-natured fun that compelled comedian and banjoist Steve Martin to ask them to embark on a world bluegrass tour with him in 2009. After touring for two years, that celebrated configuration won the 2011 Entertainer of the Year award from the International Bluegrass Music Association. Nominated for a Grammy, their CD, Rare Bird Alert, highlighted collaborations with the likes of Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, Sir Paul McCartney, and the Dixie Chicks. Having won the IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year award in 2006, the Steeps went on to earn a 2012 Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album for Nobody Knows You. They began touring and recording with Edie Brickell in 2013.
The band’s ninth album, Radio, produced by Jerry Douglas for Rounder Records, tunes the dial to the rock channel for a little while, then ranges on to the blues, country, pop and, of course, back home to the bluegrass frequencies.
Their latest release, OUT IN THE OPEN, is an undeniable milestone on Steep Canyon Rangers’ ongoing creative journey, its spirited, eclectic approach recasting the myriad sounds of string-based American music in their own unique image. As they fast approach their second decade, Steep Canyon Rangers are still moving forward, as ever searching for new horizons and musical vistas. With OUT IN THE OPEN, Steep Canyon Rangers affirm their place as one of the most versatile and idiosyncratic bands in all of contemporary American music. The GRAMMY® Award-winning, North Carolina-based sextet has spent nearly two decades bending and shaping the bluegrass aesthetic, wedding it to elements of pop, country, folk rock, and more to create something original and all their own. OUT IN THE OPEN is perhaps Steep Canyon Rangers’ bravest excursion thus far, transcending bluegrass while in many ways getting closest to the genre’s true form thanks to producer Joe Henry’s very traditional approach towards recording.
The Steeps have, since their first appearance, been one of the all-time favorites of music fans at Grey Fox. We SOOO welcome them back this year!