Wild and crazy guy plucks to a different tune

Comedian Steve Martin is in town Oct. 15


Published:

The banjo has been there for Steve Martin since he took up the instrument, when he was 17, as a small part of his stand-up comedy routine back in the ’70s, but more importantly as a coping mechanism, especially when he “got fried” doing stand-up before launching his movie and TV career that made him a household name around the world.

Now, with a new album entitled The Crow and a North American tour underway, his music is taking centre stage. The album features 15 original songs with guest appearances by the likes of Dolly Parton, Vince Gill and Earl Scruggs. Martin appears with the Steep Canyon Rangers in Toronto on Oct. 15 at Roy Thomson Hall.

When did you first start playing the banjo, publicly? When I started doing comedy, I didn’t really have enough time, so I just put in everything I know. I did magic tricks. I juggled and I played a few songs on the banjo. And that’s how it all got started. And basically the act never changed. It just got bigger.

There has been a number of actor turned rock ’n’ roller stories, recently. Did any bad precedents from other actors make you second guess yourself? I think I know the kind of thing you’re talking about: that the actor — we’ll call them the actor or actress, or whatever … what they really want to be is a rock star rather than a rock musician.… I think that the difference here is I really just want to play my songs, you know.

How different was it to go from playing these songs in your living room to recording them with the likes of Dolly Parton? It’s a major difference when you write a tune and then you have the absolute best possible people for that song recording it. It almost seems unfair, you know, that they’re making it into magic.

What is the attraction to banjo and bluegrass music? Well, it’s interesting because, you know, when I was younger … I didn’t quite go for the, you know, tenor, high-voiced, deep Monroe bluegrass. But now I do. Now I really understand it because I’ve had a long time to listen to it. And I love listening to the banjo … and I love when the fiddle and banjo are talking to each other. And I feel it’s, with bluegrass, it’s, you know, it has a lot of drive, and I love that.… It has a lot of drama in the music.

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Thornhill retirement home seeks expansion

Thornhill retirement home seeks expansion

Construction noise and dust concerns for assisted-living residence and neighbours
Posted 4 days ago
Egg waffles are this summer's biggest hit

Egg waffles are this summer's biggest hit

This Hong Kong export has gone from a simple childhood treat into an international Instagram trend. Here's where to get it in T.O.
Posted 4 days ago
Long-time North York councillor steps down

Long-time North York councillor steps down

Posted 6 days ago
Bombardier committed to help keep Downsview an aerospace hub

Bombardier committed to help keep Downsview an aerospace hub

Posted 1 week ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module