Steep Canyon Rangers (Friday)

Balsam Range © Copyright David J. Simchock

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; Barrett Smith 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.

In 2020 Steep Canyon Rangers released two albums, both on Yep Roc Records. The North Carolina Songbook which is is a recording of their live performance of all North Carolina Songwriters performed in 2019 at Merlefest in Wilkesboro, NC. They also released Be Still Moses. Perhaps their most singular musical partnership to date – teaming with Philadelphia soul legends Boyz II Men and their hometown Asheville Symphony to completely overhaul the Rangers’ original “Be Still Moses,” which was first recorded on their 2007 breakout album Lovin’ Pretty Women. The album includes re-imagined versions of Steep Canyon’s previously released original songs performed with an orchestra.

The Steeps have, since their first appearance, been one of the all-time favorites of music fans at Grey Fox. We can’t wait to have them back this year!

A Steep Canyon jam with Billy Strings and the Travelin’ McCourys