Aplscruf's Music Blog

Steve Martin and Emmylou Harris at Chateau Ste. Michelle

Emmylou Harris with Steve Martin

Steve Martin was up to his old tricks again and played to a sold out crowd at Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville.  We hustled to get tickets last minute when we found our week opened up and had the time to go.  We didn’t want to pass up this one because we saw Steve in 2010 and loved him.  Also, I’d never seen Emmylou Harris.  She’s now a part of my growing musical family tree and has played with Marshall Chapman and Will Kimbrough.  Will was  in her band this night, so it was a no-brainer.

I didn’t take many notes; I just wanted to enjoy the evening.  I’m taking this month off from serious writing due to our crazy family summer schedule.

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers

Steve’s set consisted of many songs from their 2010 album, The Crow.  He recycled a few jokes from last time, but we still laughed heartily.  In fact, a guy in front of us laughed in falsetto at every joke,  and the surrounding audience members couldn’t help but join in on the infectious laughter.  An example of this night’s quips from Steve:

“I am wearing white pants tonight. I will wear them the rest of the evening unless something goes horribly, horribly wrong.” 

“I am using an iPad on stage tonight to keep up on my Twitter posts.  Oh, look.  One is coming in now.  It says, ‘Stop talking and start playing, you diKWAD!’ DiKWAD…hmm…DiKWAD…I wonder what that means…”

“This is our last song of the evening, but not to worry, there are 17 encores.”

He also had fun belittling the band, similar to the last time we saw him.

Another wonderful show, and the music was spectacular.   The Steep Canyon Rangers have beautiful harmonies and work so well with Steve.  A very talented bunch.

Will Kimbrough (guitar) with Emmylou Harris

Before Emmylou came on, we had a chance to talk to Will Kimbrough briefly.  I hadn’t seen him since we went to Nashville last year, and Pat saw him in January with his home inspector buddies when they were in Nashville at their convention.  Will never played at the winery, and I don’t think he’s been in the Seattle area since about 2005.  He was in a rush to get to the stage, since they had such a limited time to get their gear set up.  He was gracious enough to have a little chat with us though.

Emmylou has a new album out and kicked it up with a full band, The Red Dirt Boys.  She also played covers, including a Buck Owens song; Will scorched the guitar solo on that one.  Many of her songs are slower ballads or leaned toward gospel.  Her voice is so ethereal and has a sadness in it.  She also gave a nod to Kitty Wells, The Queen of Country, who recently passed.  She felt honored to be in Kitty’s footsteps as the only girl leading an all-male band.

In the finale, Emmylou invited Steve and the Rangers onstage to have an appropriate bluegrass jam.  Her two rescued doggies also joined in on the fun.  Check out her website for her nonprofit dog rescue/foster program.

Emmylou and dogs

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July 25, 2012 Posted by | Americana, Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2012, Emmylou Harris, Steve Martin, Will Kimbrough | , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

SXSW – A Few Worthy Bands

Someday, we’ll get to SXSW, the Austin mega-music festival.  There are a quite a few Seattle bands attending, as well as some lesser known bands from all over.  Literally hundreds of bands descend on that city, along with their faithful fans and music lovers.   Here are just a handful of bands I’d like to see:

The David Wax Museum
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9zhaqp4l7k

Boston’s David Wax Museum continues to win awards and praises, including Boston’s Americana Artist of the Year.  The Mexo-Americana band can do no wrong at SXSW.

Brent Amaker and the Rodeo

Brent and the Boys are packing up the van in Seattle and driving to SXSW.  The cowboys will be sure to entertain the Texas crowd.  Their show is a full-on, bad boy country experience, and might include a baptismal ceremony–with whiskey.

Brent’s “Man in Charge”
http://www.brentamaker.com/audio/manincharge.mp3

Abigail Washburn
http://abigailwashburn.bandcamp.com/album/city-of-refuge?permalink

I saw Abigail and her bluegrass band when she opened for Steve Martin.  Sweet and sultry voice, beautiful claw hammer banjo picking and excellent backing band.

North Mississippi Allstars, made up of the Dickinson brothers will be a crowd pleaser.  Luther plays guitar like no other.  He could pick up a stick with a rubber band and make it sing.

North Mississippi Allstars 2011
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-bCERmxWGY

North Mississippi Allstars Stompin’ My Foot 2005
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlPGyVmFGvw

Unnatural Helpers
http://schedule.sxsw.com/events/event_MS10720

This Seattle punk band will be a fun one to watch.  Short, energetic songs will get the crowd bouncing.

The Gourds
http://thegourds.com/radio.html

UPDATE! SEE GOURDS SCHEDULE IN COMMENTS BELOW! Those who have never seen them are in for a rollicking, old-timey revival of a show, complete with banjo, violin, mandolin and accordion.

Old 97’s

Texas sweet (and…sweat) hearts.

March 16, 2011 Posted by | Americana, Brent Amaker and the Rodeo, Concert Season 2011, Old 97's, Steve Martin, The David Wax Museum, The Gourds | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Steve Martin’s Opening Band at Chateau Ste. Michelle

In a previous blog, I failed to mention that Steve had an opening act: http://www.abigailwashburn.com/

http://www.genestout.com/index.php/concert-review-steve-martin-and-band-show-their-pluck-at-chateau/

The above links will direct the reader to Abigail Washburn’s site and Gene Stout’s concert review of Steve and his opening act, Abigail Washburn.  She had us glued to our lawn chairs.  She had a beautiful, soulfully smooth voice, and was great on the banjo.  Her backup band, including fiddle and bass, added perfect accompaniment to her minimalist style.

July 12, 2010 Posted by | Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2010, Music, Steve Martin | , , , | Leave a comment

Steve Martin at Chateau Ste. Michelle 6.19.10

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

Sat June 19, 2010

Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery

Unlike our Gorge trip which was full of mishaps and long lines, this night was a very pleasurable experience.

Since the winery is only about 15 minutes from our house, we decided to take a taxi and beat the parking traffic. It was a smart move. We arrived about 6:00 and headed first to Redhook Brewery for a nice ale. We walked across the street to the winery and made our way quickly through the ticketing area to the amphitheatre. It was a cloudy, muggy day. We came prepared with rain jackets, a blanket and poncho in case it rained.  We purchased lawn seating, so we carted in some low lawn chairs for comfort.  We also brought some snack food and purchased some Indian food and bottle of sauvignon blanc to enjoy while settling into the show.

Steve Martin, a Wild and Crazy Guy, showed us what he can do with a banjo Saturday. The man can pick. He is so talented. I think he’s out to get Tracy Morgan’s EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Tony, Oscar) collection. For those who watch 30 Rock, you’ll get the joke. Steve not only plays a mean banjo, but has a terrific backing band named The Steep Canyon Rangers, whom he “blames” his wife for discovering while visiting family back in North Carolina. Their band consists of another banjo, fiddle, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and stand-up bass. Most of the songs were instrumental arrangements, but others showed off the beautiful harmonizing voices of his band. They were so good together, and played off Steve’s great picking and sense of humor. Steve left most of the singing to them, unless he was interjecting some spoken words or participating in a couple of the more humorous songs.

He showed us a variety of picking styles. One was called claw hammer, and he even wrote and performed an arrangement for a traditional claw hammer song for his new Bluegrass album, The Crow.  [I have since purchased the CD and it was well worth it.  Steve wrote and arranged most of the songs.  I really enjoyed how closely the live performance matches this album. They are just as great live as they are on the album, except there are no jokes and sarcastic remarks in between songs!]

Oh, and it wouldn’t be Steve without the humor! He made several remarks between songs or while tuning the banjos (he had 4 banjos onstage, he said, so he could look behind him and remember what instrument he was playing). He wasn’t Wild and Crazy like his old stand-up comic days, but he would spend some time telling funny anecdotes or add some very dry humor to song intros.  Steve mentioned it must seem strange to see him playing banjo in a band instead of doing standup.  He said something like how weird it would be to go to a show and see Jerry Seinfeld playing the bassoon.  He bragged about being nominated for Bluegrass awards and a Grammy.  “That’s got to sting,” he told the other banjo player, who was feigning a hurt look.

Steve performed a song about Wally, his dog. The violinist made a “barking” noise and then a “whining” sound as Steve narrated that Wally wanted to play ball, but Steve didn’t have time for him. Finally, he gave in, and the chase began. It was a short number, but you could just imagine Wally running after that ball in a big, open field, banjo music blazing.

He said the band is traveling around in a bus for this tour. He recalled being on the road, and the instruments would come out, and they would tell tales of laughter and have a few tears…and then Steve said he knows this because he has called them from his private plane…and the banjo player said yes, that is all true, except he never calls!

He finished show with a Bluegrass version of King Tut! The audience roared and sang along. We moved up to the side of the stage and viewed him from the black screen. We were about 20 feet away. Steve fell into his old stand-up comic character once, and did his King Tut arms, much to the joy of the audience. His dog, Wally, joined them on stage during Tut and wandered around the perimeter and wagged his tail!

We had such a pleasant time. It was so relaxing to lean back in our chairs and soak in the beautiful music. The audience was quiet and respectful, yet very responsive and appreciative after each song. The sky was grey, but only let go of a few sprinkles toward the end of the evening. I have a new respect for Steve and his mastery of the banjo. Wow. Who knew??

www.stevemartin.com

Check out this blog from his Bonnaroo show in Tennessee for quotes of some of Steve’s humorous lines:

http://blogs.tennessean.com/tunein/2010/06/12/steve-martin-brandishes-wit-banjo-skills-at-bonnaroo/ 

 

 

 

June 20, 2010 Posted by | Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2010, Music, Steve Martin | , , , | 1 Comment

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers

We’re in!  I purchased two tickets to Steve Martin, playing at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery Saturday, June 19.  Lawn seating, but that’s ok with me.  We’ll bring our cooler with snacks, lawn chairs and a nice blanket.  We’ll purchase some great wine and enjoy ourselves!  BTW, Steve’s blog is hilarious.  http://www.stevemartin.com

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Chateau Ste Michelle, Concert Season 2010, Music, Steve Martin | , , | Leave a comment