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Country - Released March 6, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released January 26, 2018 | Ramseur Records

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Masters of neo bluegrass since the dawn of the 2000s, the Steep Canyon Rangers take a genre far away from the museum where some probably think it resides… These virtuosos of the banjo/fiddle/guitar combination, and friends of the renowned comedian and banjoist Steve Martin, don’t try to modernize this music vainly and for no reason. No, Woody Platt and his accomplices simply make it lively and beautiful by instilling into it country, pop, folk and rock. Produced by the esthete Joe Henry, Out In The Open possesses the class of the classics, carried by fine writing and technically impressive sequences, without ever sounding like smoke and mirrors, just like the impeccable cover of Bob Dylan’s Let Me Die In My Footsteps. © MD/Qobuz
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Country - Released January 9, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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The Steep Canyon Rangers have spent much of their career walking a fine line between traditional bluegrass and acoustic music with a strong contemporary pop and country influence, and they've blurred the lines between the two sides of their musical personality more than ever before on 2015's Radio. One of the key differences on Radio is the addition of a sixth Ranger, percussionist Mike Ashworth, and even though his kit primarily consists of just a box played with brushes, his steady pulse subtly but clearly points to the melodic hooks in numbers like "Simple Is Me," "Blow Me Away," "Long Summer," and the title tune, and without having to plug into an amp, the Rangers set themselves apart from bluegrass acts who prefer to pretend it's still the early '50s. At the same time, these musicians are remarkably skilled, both as individuals and as an ensemble, and when they do dig into their bluegrass roots, they do so with a clear love and respect for the form, and with "Blue Velvet Rain," "Looking Glass," and "When the Well Runs Dry" they show just how fresh they can sound while working within a tried-and-true framework. It's a thrill to hear a band this good playing together, and Ashworth, Mike Guggino (mandolin), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Woody Platt (guitar), Nicky Sanders (fiddle), and Graham Sharp (banjo) are as gifted as any young band in bluegrass, with each member earning his stripes when stepping up for a solo, and coming together with outstanding ensemble work and spot-on harmonies. Produced by Jerry Douglas, who captures the group's musical interplay beautifully and contributes some fine Dobro work as well, Radio is an outstanding album from one of the most exciting new bands in bluegrass, and if you know them best for their work with a certain talented banjo-playing comedian and actor, you owe it to yourself to find out how much they can do on their own. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2012 | New Rounder

The Steep Canyon Rangers have come a long way since their days as a favorite campus band at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They've been Steve Martin's backup band since 2009, which introduced them to a national, and non-bluegrass, audience and earned them a Grammy nomination for their collaboration with Martin on his Rare Bird Alert album, to which they also contributed three songs. On their Rounder debut, the band continue to challenge their fans with 11 new tunes that show off their growing playing and songwriting skills. They're still a bluegrass band, but most of the songs here have a feel that owes as much to pop, folk, and singer/songwriter impulses as they do to bluegrass. They break out of the usual melodic structures of bluegrass for something that's between newgrass and pop. The set opens with the title track, which sounds like a country/pop hit, albeit played acoustically with Graham Sharp's clattering banjo and Nicky Sanders' wailing fiddle supporting Woody Platt's expressive lead vocal. "Ungrateful One," a tale of childhood hardships, eschews the usual sentimental clichés for a more emotionally honest take on the toll a relationship with a difficult father takes on a young man. A father rages and a son plans his escape with the band leavening the drama with a bouncy, midtempo groove. The vaguely ominous "Between Midnight and the Dawn" could be called a secular gospel tune, with a message of hope that depends on earthly friendships for salvation. A banjo solo that sounds like it came out of the bog book of blues guitar riffs accents the band's bluesy rhythm. The Rangers show off their lighter side with "As I Go," a tongue in cheek celebration of a ne'er do well kissing his girlfriend goodbye; "Natural Disaster" likens love to a meteorological calamity, and "Rescue Me" is another love song with a strong pop melody. The band still has plenty of bluegrass chops too, which they show off on "Knob Creek," the album's one instrumental, but again they avoid the usual tendency to rely on flash over substance. Their measured solos stretch the boundaries again, with Sharp playing muted chiming overtones on his banjo before taking off in a more traditional flurry of notes and the jazz-meets-rockabilly slap bass of Charles R. Humphrey's rhythmic excursion. © j. poet /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released August 14, 2007 | Rebel Records Llc

Despite the Steep Canyon Rangers' almost eight years on the road, the International Bluegrass Music Association named the group Emerging Artist of the Year in 2006. The Rangers follow up the award with another sterling collection of ten originals and two covers, one from the Grateful Dead and the other from bluegrass/honky tonk singer Shawn Camp. It's no secret that the boys can pick with the best of them, but two things set them apart. They don't blow you away with long solos, although the solos they do drop into the mix are always impressive, and they write traditional-sounding songs that bridge the gaps between honky tonk country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel -- case in point, "Be Still Moses," a retelling of the familiar Bible story, marked by a sanctified gospel chorus, a great lyric, and beautiful harmony singing. "A Ramblin' Man Is a Ramblin' Man" and "Lovin' Pretty Women" are equal parts folk, rock, and country, songs about charming ne'er-do-wells delivered with the sprightly energy and devil-may-care attitude that make them sound timeless. "Call the Captain" is a mournful ballad about the dangers faced by coal miners. Woody Platt's lead vocal is full of yearning for a better life; Nicky Sanders' ominous fiddling adds to the song's desperate feel. It's another timely song that sounds like it could have been written a hundred years ago. "Pick Up the Blues" is a honky tonk song about drinking away the pain of a broken relationship that sounds like it could be a mainstream country hit as well as a bluegrass standard. "Don't Ease Me In," the Grateful Dead cover, is given a ragtime arrangement and features Sanders' bluesy fiddling and the moaning Dobro of special guest Randy Kohrs. "Kuykendall," an instrumental by mandolin player Mike Guggino, pays homage to the Celtic roots of bluegrass and features fine solos by Graham Sharp on banjo and Guggino's mandolin. © j. poet /TiVo
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Folk/Americana - Released June 10, 2009 | Rebel Records Llc

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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Folk/Americana - Released April 19, 2005 | Rebel Records Llc

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Folk/Americana - Released September 13, 2005 | Rebel Records Llc

The Steep Canyon Rangers are one of a number of contemporary bluegrass bands that have worked hard to expand tradition by writing lots of new material. They continue this undertaking on One Dime at a Time, a new collection of 11 songs with one being an instrumental. While all of the band's members -- guitarist Woody Platt, mandolinist Mike Guggino, banjoist Graham Sharp, fiddler Nicky Sanders, and bassist Charles Humphrey -- are fine musicians; this band specializes in performing as a unit. The Steep Canyon Rangers, then, concentrate on the song, delivering fun numbers like the title cut and the mysterious "Green-Eyed Lady" in a brief three minutes. The band also like to perform songs that tell a story. One standout, Charles Humphrey's "The Ghost of Norma Jean," first gains attention by telling a good story, and next, by slowing down the tempo on the choruses for some nice, bluesy harmony. The song is also unique in following up another story-song, "Norma Jean," from the band's last album, The Steep Canyon Rangers. On songs like this, synchronicity is essential, and it shows that the band has been together long enough (five years) to play well as a unit. The band also shows off its vocal finesse on "I Can't Sit Down," a gospel number performed a cappella. One Dime at a Time is a solid release and a good introduction to the bluegrass sounds of the Steep Canyon Rangers. © Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr. /TiVo
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Country - Released August 30, 2019 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released January 1, 2013 | New Rounder

There's no doubt that the Steep Canyon Rangers have gotten a lot of attention because of the group's association with Steve Martin, who they've backed up and recorded with since 2009, but this is a band, part bluegrass, part country, part folk-pop, that has more than enough talent, skill, and songwriting chops to do just fine all on their own. Led by the writing talents of Graham Sharp and Charles Humphrey, the Rangers produce songs that remain bluegrass in feel and execution, but tackle a wide range of themes and cultural side roads, all without going too far out or too far in, as they say. This set is their second with Rounder Records, following 2012's Grammy-winning Nobody Knows You, and it has, if possible, an even warmer, fuller sound. Produced by Larry Campbell at the late Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, New York, Tell the Ones I Love has a wonderfully open, warm, and breathy sound to it, probably because much of it was recorded live. The Rangers are all solid players, so that's not a surprise, and neither is how good the songs are, really, but this time out, it all comes together with the grace of a summer breeze. Things get off to a great start with the opener and title song "Tell the Ones I Love," which is a clever and crafted rewrite of the Wreck of the Old 97 school of traditional train songs, and is one of the clear highlights here. "Camellia" sounds like a great lost Band song, all the more fitting because of where it was recorded. "Boomtown," although it is technically a bluegrass tune, has a modern scope in its wry wisdom. "Take the Wheel" features a marvelous ringing and echoing banjo sound, while the set closer, "Las Vegas," is a loose, boozy mesh of bluegrass, New Orleans stomp, and western swing. No, these guys do just fine without Martin, and just fine with him, for that matter (they remain his touring band), and as long as Sharp and Humphrey keep coming up with songs like the ones featured here, the sky is the limit. © Steve Leggett /TiVo

Country - Released February 5, 2020 | Yep Roc Records

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Country - Released January 12, 2018 | Ramseur Records

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Country - Released October 3, 2018 | Blackbird Production Partners

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

The Steep Canyon Rangers have spent much of their career walking a fine line between traditional bluegrass and acoustic music with a strong contemporary pop and country influence, and they've blurred the lines between the two sides of their musical personality more than ever before on 2015's Radio. One of the key differences on Radio is the addition of a sixth Ranger, percussionist Mike Ashworth, and even though his kit primarily consists of just a box played with brushes, his steady pulse subtly but clearly points to the melodic hooks in numbers like "Simple Is Me," "Blow Me Away," "Long Summer," and the title tune, and without having to plug into an amp, the Rangers set themselves apart from bluegrass acts who prefer to pretend it's still the early '50s. At the same time, these musicians are remarkably skilled, both as individuals and as an ensemble, and when they do dig into their bluegrass roots, they do so with a clear love and respect for the form, and with "Blue Velvet Rain," "Looking Glass," and "When the Well Runs Dry" they show just how fresh they can sound while working within a tried-and-true framework. It's a thrill to hear a band this good playing together, and Ashworth, Mike Guggino (mandolin), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass), Woody Platt (guitar), Nicky Sanders (fiddle), and Graham Sharp (banjo) are as gifted as any young band in bluegrass, with each member earning his stripes when stepping up for a solo, and coming together with outstanding ensemble work and spot-on harmonies. Produced by Jerry Douglas, who captures the group's musical interplay beautifully and contributes some fine Dobro work as well, Radio is an outstanding album from one of the most exciting new bands in bluegrass, and if you know them best for their work with a certain talented banjo-playing comedian and actor, you owe it to yourself to find out how much they can do on their own. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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Country - Released January 5, 2018 | Ramseur Records

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Country - Released November 17, 2017 | Ramseur Records

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder