The grammy-award winning, bluegrass-banjo-player and composer, Steve Martin performed three shows this week at Joe's Pub with the Steep Canyon Rangers in honor of their newly released album, Rare Bird Alert.
I could write here about the fine musical chops of the collaboration, how Mr. Martin brings all of his comedy training to bear in his role as the evening's host, mixing charming self-deprecation with a comically inflated ego, channeling the spirit of Jack Benny and his violin but twisting it to fit an imaginary version of Steve Martin, a rich, comfortable dilettante with talent.
I could go on about how the band serves as both gifted accompanists and comic foils serving Mr. Martin's music with the respect and joy it deserves while, with tongue-in-cheek winks, performing the roles of annoyed hired hands.
I could do all of that, yes. For he is a great man and his show is a great show.
Instead--and this is both deeply personal and perhaps inappropriate--I take the opportunity here to point out that Steve Martin is the pen and ink artist's nightmare, a pasty white man with white hair in an off white suit holding a banjo (the only instrument that combines a perfect circle, a white drum skin and a long straight neck--a trifecta of freehand challenges).
Mr. Martin is a master of many skills, several of which come to bear in his current act, including his restless inability to be pinned down.