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Pop - Released January 24, 1994 | Warner Records

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2013 | New Rounder

Everyone should realize by now that Steve Martin is more than just a comedian who started off his career in the comedy clubs with an arrow through his head and a five-string banjo as a prop. He's written short stories, novels, plays, and who knows how many film scripts. He's an actor and a serious art collector, and his work, however funny it may be at times, really arcs closer to human philosophy than it does standup or slapstick, although Martin knows how to do a pratfall with the best of the Saturday Night Live crew. But for the record, and for the sake of the matter at hand, Martin is a fine and accomplished banjo player, good enough to play with the likes of Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Tony Trischka, John McKuen, and Pete Wernick, and, oh yeah, he's played with Earl Scruggs too, which alone should state the case. Yep, Martin can play the banjo, and better yet, he composes on it, and his gentle, lilting, and chiming banjo lines have easy, natural melodies embedded in them. This is where Edie Brickell enters the picture. On Love Has Come for You, Martin's third album for Rounder Records, Brickell's lyrics bring those gracefully easy melodies to life, stretching them into likewise graceful songs with a sparse, whimsical, and artfully open-aired narrative style. Her singing sounds relaxed and unpressured, just like Martin's easy-rolling banjo lines, and the two of them together are no novelty act. This is a true collaboration, and songs like the opener, "When You Get to Asheville," which features a muted chamber string section that wraps around Martin's banjo like a bright, warm blanket (the album was produced by Peter Asher), the odd, compelling "Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby" (about a baby thrown off a train in a suitcase, it could almost be called an Appalachian murder ballad, except no one dies, and the song is delivered with a sort of slightly bemused warmth), and "Shawnee," a simple, lovely, and gentle song about missing someone, all make it clear that Martin and Brickell are no accidental tourists. This is a sweet-sounding album with subtle depths, not really bluegrass, but a precisely gentle folk album that grows more graceful and revealing with each listen. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Country - Released September 22, 2017 | New Rounder

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Country - Released January 1, 2011 | New Rounder

From the earliest days of his comedy career, Steve Martin has incorporated the banjo into various aspects of his act, and fellow banjo players have spoken with reverence of his skills for decades. But in recent years he has put a renewed focus on the instrument, and he won a Grammy for his album The Crow in 2010. Rare Bird Alert came along a year later, and it's a full-fledged country/bluegrass album consisting entirely of Martin originals and recorded in collaboration with the Steep Canyon Rangers. Some of the songs are comedic: the hilarious faux-gospel harmony number "Atheists Don't Have No Songs" is an album highlight despite its lack of an interesting melody, and "Women Like to Slow Dance" is both a wry reflection on gender differences and a straight-up bluegrass barnburner. "Jubilation Day" is one of the funnier kiss-off songs ever recorded ("Let's always remember the good times/Like when you were out of town"), and there's even a surprisingly straight version of Martin's breakout novelty hit from the 1970s, "King Tut." But other tracks are sweet and tender, such as the wonderful "You" (written for Martin's wife) and the elegantly lovely "The Great Remember." And there are several songs on which elegance, energy, and boundary-pushing creativity coexist joyfully -- notably the gorgeous "More Bad Weather on the Way" (on which Martin plays very expert clawhammer banjo) and the brilliant instrumental "Northern Island," which features a startlingly complex chord progression for a bluegrass number. Whether your primary interest is in the comedy or the music, this is a solidly enjoyable album. © Rick Anderson /TiVo
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Country - Released January 1, 2009 | New Rounder

First off, there's no "King Tut" here, and this isn't Steve Martin with an arrow through his head using the five-string banjo as a prop and trying to be funny. The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo is exactly what the title says it is -- it's a banjo album, spotlighting Martin originals on the instrument (of the 16 tracks, all but one are his own compositions). And guess what? Martin is pretty good at the banjo, and this is no vanity project. Tracks like the stirring and revealing "Daddy Played the Banjo," the blisteringly kinetic "Hoedown at Alice's," the very pretty "Freddie's Lilt," and the expansive, even beautifully ornate "Calico Train" (there are two versions here) not only wouldn't seem out of place on any progressive bluegrass album, they'd probably be the best cuts on it. Martin has a lot of help, yes, from the likes of Mary Black, Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs (Scruggs' presence here should tell you something about Martin's playing chops), Tony Trischka, and Pete Wernick, and the album is lovingly produced by John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, but make no mistake, this is completely Martin's album and it's his vision all the way. He even takes a very successful shot at frailing the banjo with the lovely and modal "Clawhammer Medley," the one non-original here. Everyone knows that Martin can be very funny, but The Crow isn't a joke. It's a first-class banjo album. One wonders if entering an archery tournament is next on this talented performer's agenda. Here's guessing Martin's probably pretty good at that, too. © Steve Leggett /TiVo
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Humour - Released June 1, 1978 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Country - Released September 22, 2017 | New Rounder

The Long-Awaited Album arrived six years after Rare Bird Alert, the 2011 collaboration between Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers, so perhaps the wait between records wasn't all that long. Still, the clever title also suggests the difference between this 2017 affair and its predecessor: Martin is no longer hesitant to crack a joke as he stands behind a banjo. After playing it relatively straight on 2009's The Crow -- the album where he revived his longstanding love of bluegrass -- a smile started to creep into his performances on Rare Bird Alert, but on The Long-Awaited Album he seems unable to resist any quip that fluttered across his mind. Perhaps this is a reaction to the pair of subdued records Martin cut with Edie Brickell in the mid-2010s, but Martin seems ready to cut loose with jokes and fingerpicking. The Steep Canyon Rangers are ideal foils for him in that regard, as they're fleet-fingered and versatile, and they boast a fine deadpan singer in Woody Platt, who trades off tunes with Martin. The songs on The Long-Awaited Album are littered with references to contemporary life -- references to cell phones, Olive Garden, and Skype calls are threaded into a mosaic of modern life -- and the music feels fresh too, alternating between lilting ballads, funny bits designed for a stage, and the quick-stepping instrumentals that act as the glue binding it all together. Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers specialize in good cheer, and while that means they can sometimes overplay their hand here -- "Strangest Christmas Yet" sticks out like a sore thumb, each punch line landing with a thud -- their act is ingratiating and so is The Long-Awaited Album. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Film Soundtracks - Released April 29, 2016 | Ghostlight Records

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Country - Released January 1, 2015 | New Rounder

Steve Martin picked up his banjo again in 2009, recording his first-ever all-instrumental album with his Steep Canyon Rangers, and then he wound up devoting the better part of the next half decade to the instrument he loved since a teenager. Never shy on-stage, he nevertheless wasn't a natural frontperson, so once he ran through two albums with the Rangers, he joined forces with Edie Brickell, an unexpected but natural fit. Bluegrass may not have been in Brickell's vocabulary per se but she's an old versatile folkie comfortable with an array of Americana, something proven out by her new millennial group the Gaddabouts. When Brickell teamed with Martin, they found a common folk-pop ground assisted by producer Peter Asher on 2013's Love Has Come for You, and its 2015 sequel So Familiar is indeed a sequel: it offers more of the same, more of the tasteful dance numbers and romanticism heard on the first. This is hardly a bad thing. Martin and Brickell have an easy, natural chemistry, with Edie helping to focus Steve's nimble, graceful playing while the banjoist returns the favor by loosening up the singer, so she doesn't seem as precious as she sometimes did with the New Bohemians. While the duo sometimes sneaks a glance toward yesterday -- "Another Round" rambles forward like a square dance and "Way Back in the Day" makes its nostalgia plain -- this is unapologetically well-tailored contemporary music, drawing upon the traditions of Kentucky and Laurel Canyon to create something gentle, pretty, and substantive, something that is as enchanting as it was the first time around. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Jazz - Released May 1, 2020 | Addictive Tracks Ltd

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Rock - Released July 24, 2012 | Rhino - Warner Records

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Country - Released January 10, 2020 | Rounder

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Humour - Released September 14, 1979 | Warner Records

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Film Soundtracks - Released April 29, 2016 | Ghostlight Records

Booklet
The musical Bright Star was inspired by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Grammy Award-winning 2013 LP Love Has Come for You, which saw the multi-talented comedy legend and ex-New Bohemian crafting a solid, easygoing set of bluegrass-kissed, country-folk-pop gems. Written by Martin and Brickell, and directed by Tony Award-winner Walter Bobbie, Bright Star's simple story of love and redemption is a familiar one, and that familiarity provides fertile ground for Martin and Brickell's bucolic and agreeable melodies. Fans of Love Has Come for You, as well as the duo's 2015 sequel So Familiar, will feel right at home, as some of the material is taken directly from the source. Strong performances from Carmen Cusack, Paul Alexander Nolan, and Hannah Elless, the latter of whom delivers a show-stopping rendition of Love Has Come for You highlight "Asheville," help to elevate some of the narrative's more predictable beats. Musically, Brickell and Martin explore every facet of the country-folk genre, delivering boot-stomping hoedowns ("Whoa Mama," "Bright Star"), wistful folk-pop ("What Could Be Better"), bluesy torch songs ("So Familiar"), and even a little big-band-kissed country swing ("Another Round"). At times, it all feels a little like a Prairie Home Companion episode that's been shoe-horned into a Christopher Guest film, but it's hard not to root for Bright Star, even in its most treacly, homespun moments. Each note and lyric is delivered with such unabashed benevolence and countryside gusto, that by the time show reaches its gospel-tinged finale, the listener feels compelled to link arms with the cast and bow. © James Christopher Monger /TiVo
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Country - Released March 1, 1978 | Steve Martin

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Comedy/Other - Released January 1, 1992 | Steve Martin

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Gospel - Released January 1, 2002 | Steve Martin

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Comedy/Other - Released May 1, 1991 | Steve Martin

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Celtic - Released July 19, 2019 | Steve Martin