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Steep Canyon Rangers


Steep Canyon Rangers

Steep Canyon Rangers

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Description of the Steep Canyon Rangers' Music:

Contemporary bluegrass


Steep Canyon Rangers are one of the rare contemporary bluegrass bands who manages to appeal all at once to old timers, traditionalists, genre benders and contemporary envelope-pushers. Fans of everyone from the Louvin Brothers, Ralph Stanley, and the Foggy Mountain Boys, to Alison Krauss & Union Station, the Grascals, the Infamous Stringdusters, and Mountain Heart will enjoy the contemporary old school sound (if there is such a thing) of the Steep Canyon Rangers. Though the band has played extensively with Steve Martin, they're not mostly a comical band, but have been known to drop a punchline or two between songs. Fans of Martin's movies may be surprised by his proficiency on the banjo, but his musicianship fits in snugly with the artistry of these five pickers.

Steep Canyon Rangers Lineup:

Woody Platt - guitar, vocals
Nicky Saunders - fiddle, harmony
Mike Guggino - mandolin, harmony
Graham Sharp - banjo, harmony
Charles R. Humphrey III - bass, harmony

Recommended Steep Canyon Rangers Albums:

Nobody Knows You (Rounder, 2012) compare prices

Rare Bird Alert with Steve Martin (Rounder Records, 2011) compare prices

Lovin' Pretty Women (Rebel Records, 2007) compare prices

Purchase/Download Steep Canyon Rangers MP3s:

"Between Midnight and the Dawn" (from Nobody Knows You)
"A Ramblin' Man Is a Ramblin' Man" (from Lovin' Pretty Women)
"Atheists Don't Have No Songs" (with Steve Martin, from Rare Bird Alert)

Steep Canyon Rangers Biography:

It all started at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where Woody Platt, Mike Guggino, Graham Sharp, and Charles R. Humphrey III met and became friends. Though none of them were music majors - they were all pursuing professional degrees - the boys discovered fairly quickly that they had a love for music in common. They started getting together for weekly jams at Guggino's cabin in the hills outside of Chapel Hill.

As their jam sessions progressed and became more frequent, they also became more musically astute, learning each other's grooves and finding they could predict each other's next move. Because they all played acoustic music, they started gravitating toward bluegrass tradition - an area which was fairly new to most of them, but which they found to be a perfect fit for their energy and musicality. They began to learn some of the old bluegrass standards, just to try them on for size, then started playing those songs in gigs around town. Mostly, though, the Steep Canyon Rangers' gigs were always full of original songs written by various members of the band (they all contribute originals). Occasionally, they'd throw in a bluegrass cover or a Grateful Dead tune, depending on the time and the place, and the audience.

As graduation neared, they brought in fiddler Nicky Saunders to round out the sound, and started realizing there was a possibility they could make a real mark in a career as musicians. Even though each of them had gone into college choosing a path which would send them in the direction of a "real job," their musical pursuits were proving more fruitful and fun than they'd ever expected. After graduation, they started touring and eventually left their "real jobs" altogether to pursue music full time. They made their first album independently and then slowly, surely, climbed the ladder of indie labels and distribution deals until they managed to score a deal with Rebel Records and then with Rounder Records for their collaborative backing band projects with Steve Martin.

The first recording with Martin earned the group a Grammy nomination, which was followed in 2012 by a nomination for their own album, Nobody Knows You. They also started their own music festival in their hometown of Brevard, NC, called the Mountain Song Festival which, in 2012, got its own cruise. The Mountain Song Cruise features folks like David Grisman, Punch Brothers, the Travelin' McCourys, Steep Canyon Rangers (of course), and more. Learn more about Steep Canyon Rangers, the Mountain Song Cruise, and upcoming tour dates via their website at SteepCanyon.com.

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