Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers — ‘Rare Bird Alert’: A Review

March 15, 2011

Steve Martin - Rare Bird AlertStand-up comic, actor, and bluegrass banjo musician Steve Martin returns with his second bluegrass recording, working with North Carolina’s Steep Canyon Rangers. Steve has been using a banjo in his act for years. This recording is a fine example of how good he can play. Starting out with the title track “Rare Bird Alert” the snappy instrumental gets this release off to a fast start. “Yellow-Backed Fly” is a song about the pleasures of fishing early in the morning.

“Best Love” finds Paul McCartney singing on a bluegrass love song. This is quite a unique song, and winds up being quite credible. “Northern Island” is another fast paced instrumental with the fine banjo playing found throughout this recording. “Go Away, Stop, Turn Around, Come Back” is good but there is not much interesting about it. The hilarious break-up song “Jubilation Day” is delivered as only Steve could do it. This is my favorite tune on the recording. Steve speaking the lyrics makes it sound even funnier. 

“More Bad Weather On The Way” is a really good song considering the title is the only lyrics in the song. ”You” features vocals by the Dixie Chicks which works pretty good here, but they’ve had some experience with this type of song. “The Great Remember (For Nancy)” is a very lovely instrumental, with a slow and touching banjo. “Woman Like To Slow Dance” has vocal harmonizing that works well here. “Hide Behind A Rock” is another instrumental that moves along pretty quickly. ”Atheists Don’t Have No Songs” is a live song that is acappella with an amusing message. The final song is a live version of “King Tut” done bluegrass style. It sounds pretty good this way. This performance is four star listening. I would really like to hear Charley Sheen try this.

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