The best recommendation I’ll give all year – Steep Canyon Rangers w/ Steve Martin & featuring Edie Brickell

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Credit: Eric Frommer, via Flickr. (Creative Commons, CC BY-SA 2.0)

If you live in or near a city where the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers is playing, buy your tickets now and thank me later.  As you can see from that tour link, most of their performances this summer include the addendum, “w/Steve Martin & featuring Edie Brickell.”

Last night, my wife and I attended one of those “w/Steve Martin & featuring Edie Brickell” performances at Nashville’s spectacular Schemerhorn Symphony Center. As much as I hate to admit it, bluegrass sounds almost as good in the Schermerhorn as it does in the joint a block away where the genre was made famous (and some can convincingly argue, where it was invented), or the other joint down the street that’s one of the best bluegrass and roots music venues anywhere.

The “w/Steve Martin” guy tells jokes like Earl Scruggs and plays the banjo like Jerry Seinfield. Or maybe it’s the other way around. Either way, he’s multi-talented and is the best evangelist for bluegrass since The Darlings sang Salty Dog on the Andy Griffith Show.

There’s no questioning w/Steve’s picking skills. But I’m serious: The guy is funny also. He could maybe even be a comedian one day.

As for the “featuring Edie Brickell” part of the show, I must admit that I had previously thought of her as being the Yoko Ono who broke up Simon and Garfunkle, as she’s married to the Simon part of that former duo. But much to my surprise, it turns out she was only four years old when Simon and Garfunkle broke up. (Or at least that’s what Wikipedia alleges.) So, free from that burden, I’ll go on record as saying Edie Brickell sings like an angel, which coincidentally, is also nothing like Yoko Ono.

Did I mention the Steep Canyon Rangers? If you happen to live in a town where they are performing w/o Steve Martin and not featuring Edi Brickell, still go. The comedian banjo player and the angelic singer are icing on the cake.