The Steep Canyon Rangers brought America's music to America's Day, teaming with entertainment icon Steve Martin to bring serious bluegrass with a comedic twist to the Fourth of July Celebration at The National Mall in Washington DC. Their high-energy performance, part of a star-studded Independence Day event, marks the year's highest profile and most-watched bluegrass concert, the latest milestone for The Steep Canyon Rangers in a year that has included two Presidential concerts!
Performing for almost half a million people gathered on The Mall, as well as millions more at home tuned onto PBS' annual presentation of A Capitol Fourth, Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers debuted their new MP3 single, "Me and Paul Revere." The original song, based on Martin's historical research, sets the record straight amid all the recent confusion and controversy. Sung by Steep Canyon Ranger guitarist Woody Platt, "Me and Paul Revere" tells the story of that famous ride from the point of view of Revere's horse, Brown Beauty. The song has become the official show closer of Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers' 50-plus date national tour in support of their recent celebrated CD, Rare Bird Alert (Rounder), featuring guest appearances by Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chicks.
Part of a patriotic evening that ranged from first-generation rock 'n' roll legend Little Richard to Glee star Matthew Morrison, Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers turned Independence Day into Jubilation Day. Their hard-driving set had folks dancing all over mall, all captured by PBS' cameras. Along with his trademark comical emcee work, Martin displayed his versatility on the banjo, performing both Scruggs style and clawhammer pieces. The Steep Canyon Rangers took the spotlight for the finale, showcasing Nicky Sanders' explosive improvisations on the fiddlers' national anthem, "The Orange Blossom Special."
The Steep Canyon Rangers' appearance on A Capitol Fourth is the latest episode in a remarkable year of working with Martin to bring bluegrass to new audiences at such high-profile, non-traditional venues as Carnegie Hall and headlining Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazzfest, The Newport Folk Festival and Merlefest. SCR also just signed with Rounder Records, the premier bluegrass record label. Their partnership further establishes 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, Bela Fleck, Mary Chapin Carpenter and Robert Plant. SCR will release a new album with Rounder in 2012.
Sept. 9-10, The Steep Canyon Rangers will present their annual Mountain Song Festival at the world-renowned Brevard Music Center in Brevard, NC. With previous headliners like Doc Watson, Sam Bush, Del McCoury, David Holt, David Grisman Quintet and Steve Martin, the festival has raised over $190,000 for the Transylvania County Boys & Girls Club.
"Me and Paul Revere" is available at www.steepcanyon.com, where you can also find Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers' "Jubilation Day" video and a complete SCR tour schedule. For Mountain Song Festival tickets and information: www.mountainsongfestival.com. The archive of the PBS broadcast is located here: http://video.pbs.org/video/2042635078.