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STEVE MARTIN at Ravinia: This one did not have the warning signs you should look out for, but it was easy to take it for granted. Martin has been playing banjo since a few days after Jesus lost his sandals and it was actually his entrée into show biz. He's long been pals with the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band extended family. So, when he finally came out with an original banjo record, why was it looked at with a little circumspect? He brought on a great bunch of ringers, financed the set himself and put it out on Rounder. So you played it to satisfy your curiosity about the current state of vanity records but you were dumbfounded because it really wasn't a vanity record. Then it won a Grammy. Then Martin took it on the road with the hard charging Steep Canyon Rangers in tow. This is the next step in new grass and you know everyone from Gus Cannon forward is smiling down. A wonderfully killer evening of adult alternative entertainment, you know Martin is way too much of a pro to let you down and this trip with him into ‘uncharted' waters is no exception. With everyone holding their own and raising each other's game, old stigmas about banjo get washed away and you can't help but falling into the happy music this instrument can create, especially in the right hands. Not even the crummy Chicago area weather could put a damper on this deservedly sold out, out door concert. Here's the rundown:
1. Even though this isn't a comedy show, Martin's stand up chops are as sharp as they were 33 years ago.
2. Steep Canyon Rangers are heir apparent to New Grass Revival.
3. SCR's fiddle player is channeling John Hartford in a big way.
4. They play like a unit and not like a road show attraction.
5. This is a show that would make a great PBS fund raiser.
6. A good time was had by all.
7. The encore? Bluegrass "King Tut".
Be sure to catch this show when it comes your way.

Volume 33/Number 225
June 14 2010
830 W. Route 22 #144
Lake Zurich, IL., 60047
CHRIS SPECTOR, Editor and Publisher
Copyright 2010 Midwest Record

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