Bluegrass ambassadors, The Steep Canyon Rangers (SCR), have just signed with Rounder Records. SCR’s lead singer Woody Platt says the Rangers “are honored to join Rounder Records and be a part of such a rich musical history. We plan to record our new project in October of this year and hope to have an early 2012 release.” They recently joined iconic comedian, Steve Martin, on his sophomore album entitled Rare Bird Alert, released in March. Bringing bluegrass music to new audiences, SCR continue their meteoric rise as passionate ambassadors for the music they love. “We’re thrilled to be working with one of the most exciting young bands in bluegrass, and look forward to recording some great new music with them. It’s been a pleasure to watch them grow and evolve music with their own vision” said Rounder Founder, Marian Leighton Levy. With Martin, The Steep Canyon Rangers played for more people than any other bluegrass band in 2010, and this year has been even bigger, as the group toured nationwide with Martin and joined him for TV appearances on The Late Show with David Letterman, Colbert, Ellen, Conan and The View.
When Martin, an accomplished banjo player and songwriter, handpicked SCR to tour and record with him last year, they jumped at the chance. “Serendipity has made a better match than any bluegrass computer dating service,” jokes Martin. With Rare Bird Alert, Martin and Steep Canyon have created an album filled with the traditional bluegrass sound, bursting at the seams with banjo, fiddle and lyrics that are both fun and reflective.
The title track “Rare Bird Alert” perfectly scores the lonely ache and melancholy of bird watching. Paul McCartney guests on “Best Love” about the little things when it comes to love. On “Go Away, Stop, Turn Around, Come Back” SCR’s Platt, tells the story of love, breakup and reunion while “Jubilation Day” bounces with the delight and renewed vigor that can come from a breakup. The Dixie Chicks lend their considerable talent to “You” the saddest un-sad song about a past love with no regret. The closing tracks on the record showcase Martin’s comedy roots. On “Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” Martin and SCR create a gospel song for those without one while “King Tut” allows Steep Canyon to put their bluegrass-spin on an old Martin favorite.
The past two years have been jam-packed with tour dates, including venues like Carnegie Hall and the Royal Festival Hall (in London). Martin and SCR have also headlined festivals such as Bonnaroo, Merlefest, The New Orleans Jazzfest and The Newport Folk Festival. Martin helped SCR introduce bluegrass to millions of who may have been hearing it for the first time and SCR show no sign of stopping.
SCR culminates a stellar year by signing with premier bluegrass record label Rounder Records, which just celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. This new partnership further establishes The Steep Canyon Rangers as an extraordinary presence on the bluegrass and roots music scene, joining the likes of other Rounder artists such as Alison Krauss, Gregg Allman, Béla Fleck, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Robert Plant.
About The Steep Canyon Rangers: Brothers in music – Mike Guggino (mandolin), Charles Humphrey III (bass), Woody Platt (guitar), Nicky Sanders (fiddle), and Graham Sharp (banjo) – met and began playing bluegrass during their college days in Chapel Hill, NC. Ten years later, the band has only deepened their commitment to roots music, performing with fierce instrumental prowess but also providing deeply moving songwriting and harmonies, infusing traditional bluegrass with contemporary themes and arrangements.