Steve Martin Announces ‘Rare Bird Alert’

Steve Martin is still serious about the banjo. The funnyman gathers up the Steep Canyon Rangers for new tour beginning next month.

Photo: AP Photo
International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, Nashville, Tenn.

Martin and his Steep Canyon buds are embarking on a winter journey in support of their latest release, Rare Bird Alert. With special guest vocals by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks, the Tony Trischka-produced album is up for a best bluegrass album Grammy.

To the casual observer, Martin’s banjo playing may seem like a new development for one of the true giants of comedy. But longtime fans know Martin always loved the instrument. He included it in his wild & crazy stand-up days in the ’70s and his playing on Earl Scruggs’ Grammy-winning 2001 remake of “Foggy Mountain Breakdown” revealed a serious musician who is passionate about his craft.

Of course, he’s still Steve Martin. While serious about the music, he’s still making people laugh. On previous tours he’s included a bluegrass version of his novelty hit “King Tut” that was well received by audiences and is included on Rare Bird Alert. Expect plenty of music along with some laughs on this upcoming road trip.

While individual dates were announced over the past few weeks, Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers have nailed down their tour plans. Launching in Reno at the Grand Sierra Resort & Casino’s Grand Theatre Feb. 10; stops include Porterville, Calif., at Eagle Mountain Casino Feb. 11; Indio, Calif., at the Stagecoach Festival April 28; Santa Barbara at The Granada April 29; Boston’s Symphony Hall with the Boston Symphony Orchestra May 29-30 and Kansas City at Midland Theatre June 21.

Photo: Larry Hulst /
Denver Botanic Gardens, York St., Denver, Colo.

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