The headliner for the final night of the IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass was none other than Steve Martin & The Steep Canyon Rangers (featuring Edie Brickell). Believe it or not my expectations weren’t overwhelming – I had heard and seen a couple of songs by the group and they were good and I knew that Steep Canyon Rangers could hold their own but a full show felt like it might be a good gimmick that went on too long. So let me clear that up first. There is no gimmick – yes the show is humorous at times but the talent is front and center and while the jokes are funny they don’t dominate the show. And yes in case you were wondering – Steve Martin can play the banjo.
Highlights of the show included the Atheist Song live, Bela Fleck coming on stage, Edie Brickell’s vocals (where has she been?), and Nicky Sanders (fiddle player from Steep Canyon Rangers) who did things I am fairly certain are illegal in some places with his violin.