In this 1978 excerpt from Saturday Night Live seen in this video herewith….legendary comedian Steve Martin plays Ramblin’ On The Banjo and Happy Banjo Songs…..which goes a long way in showing how gifted Martin was on the banjo….in addition to his comedic genius and acting prowess.
Evidence of his banjo mastery came in May 2009….when the popular bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers were asked by banjoist/comedian Steve Martin to perform with him (as a sextet) in a benefit concert for the Los Angeles Public Library….while featuring banjo and comedy. This first collaborative performance took place at Club Nokia in Los Angeles, CA….and was met with much acclaim. Martin subsequently asked the Rangers to accompany him on a “world bluegrass tour”….which took the group to venues such as Carnegie Hall in New York City….the Royal Festival Hall in London….and the Wang Center in Boston. While in England, the group also performed on the critically acclaimed music TV show, Later with Jools Holland….when on June 27, 2009, Steve Martin and SCR were featured on a broadcast of A Prairie Home Companion…..and soon after, Martin played with the band at the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco…..and Benaroya Hall in Seattle. Martin appeared with the Steep Canyon Rangers at the 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival….and then on Austin City Limits on November 6, 2010. On July 4, 2011 Martin and SCR performed A Capitol Fourth celebration on the West Lawn of the US Capitol Building.
In the summer of 2010, Steve Martin and SCR recorded their first collaborative album, Rare Bird Alert at Echo Mountain Recording in Asheville, NC. The album contained tracks primarily composed by Martin…. while featuring guest vocal appearances by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks. The CD was released the following March….and then on September 29, 2011, Martin and the Rangers were jointly named Entertainers of the Year at the IBMA Awards ceremony in Nashville, TN. In May 2012, Martin and the Rangers played at the 5th annual DelFest as a headlining act.