Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Below is additional press from Steve Martin's recent shows in Texas.

College Station, TX: Martin’s harmony of comedy, bluegrass to visit A&M
The Battalion
by Jennifer DuBose, August 30, 2011
- read article -

San Antonio, TX: Concert notes: Steve Martin, a mild and funny guy
San Antonio Express-News
by Robert Johnson, August 27, 2011
- read review -

San Antonio, TX: Review: Steve Martin
San Antonio Express-News
The Music Beat, August 26, 2011
- read review -

Dallas, TX: Steve Martin, Steep Canyon Rangers score with bluegrass and comedy
The Dallas Morning News
By Michael Granberry, August 26, 2011
Article below:

Steve Martin is a master of versatility. He's an author, an art collector, a serious actor and, of course, a comedian whose pedigree includes The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. On top of all that, he's a banjo player extraordinaire.

So, when you hear that Martin is playing a sold-out concert at the Meyerson Symphony Center, as he did Thursday night, you're not really sure if you're going to hear music or comedic one-liners. It turns out you get both; woven together, they're a knockout combination.

Now 66, the white-haired Martin took the stage with his terrific bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers. He says he met them at a party in North Carolina, but of course, what most people would prefer to hear "is that we met in rehab. And we probably will one day."

Looking like a college professor in blue suit and tie, Martin and the band started off with a rush of bluegrass instrumentals, buoyed by Martin's three-finger-picking banjo and the Rangers' quintuple threat of banjo, guitar, bass, fiddle and mandolin. Sure, there's a downside to not having a drummer, Martin said: "No drummer, no pot."

He lampooned the appeal of a comedian embarking on a banjo tour by describing the look on his agent's face, when he informed him of such, as one of abject sorrow. As for the audience, well, as he admitted, it's a bit like hearing that Jerry Seinfeld is doing a national tour, playing original music composed for the bassoon.

Leaving the band alone in front of the footlights for a pair of numbers, Martin took a break backstage and returned with an observation. He was taken aback by a sign in the men's room that read: "Employees must wash hands ... Glad I'm not an employee," he said.

As funny as he was, the man makes amazing music, helped in no small part by his killer band. Nicky Sanders is, Martin says, an "astounding fiddler," which in Sanders' case is understated praise. His solo on the finale, "Orange Blossom Special," was, by itself, worth the ticket price.

Woody Platt played guitar and sang like a rock star. Charles Humphrey manned the bass, and Mike Guggino played a mean mandolin. Graham Sharp added five-string banjo, and the Rangers as a whole performed flawlessly the other role that Martin, the consummate comedian, needed them to deliver. They were perfect comic straight men for a truly gifted funnyman, who just happens to play the banjo really, really well.

-- By Michael Granberry, The Dallas Morning News (August 26, 2011)