Steve Martin in Nashville

We went to see Steve Martin’s bluegrass show in Nashville last night (5/27). The show was on the North side at the new Woods Amphitheater, a beautiful, outdoor theater that is part of The Fontanel complex. It was my first time to Nashville’s newest outdoor amphitheater, and I was thoroughly impressed: Parking was free. Parking attendants were present, helpful and friendly. The overall venue was very clean, organized, inviting and there was definitely an Opryland/Smoky Mountains vibe, which in no way is a bad thing.

I’m pretty sure there was no opening act, or at least I never saw one, which is a plus in my book.

There aren’t enough good things to say about Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers (his band). The musical ability among the six men on stage is top-notch. Martin, of course, is hilarious. He does an excellent job of bringing just enough comedy into the show, but not turning it in to a comedy show. Yes, you are there to see and hear Steve Martin, but as soon as you encounter the music of the evening, you quickly understand that Steve Martin is very serious, and he has surrounded himself with some of the greatest musicians in the world.

Be sure and check out the latest album from Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers – Rare Bird Alert. It has a couple of special guest vocalists, including a guy by the name of Paul McCartney, along with the Dixie Chicks.

Also, don’t miss the fact that The Steep Canyon Rangers are a stand-alone band.

Enjoy “Jubilation Day,” from Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers.


The Wanderer

“It was, like, all of a sudden, Generation X had fallen in love with Johnny Cash.”

Shares Joe Nick Patoski, a senior editor of Texas Monthly, in Michael Streissguth’s book, Ring of Fire. Patoski is talking about Cash’s South by Southwest performance in 1994, at Emo’s. A few months prior, in December of 1993, Cash had performed solo at the Sunset Strip’s Viper Room, in LA. The latter was Rick Rubin’s idea. Johnny was in town to record the first American Recordings album, with Rubin, and Rick thought it would be cool for the Man in Black to play out.

So began Cash’s resurgence. Years prior, he had been on his way to the usually imminent rockstar-black hole.

Suddenly he got cool. Real cool. And his reach kept getting wider. I’d argue that one of the strongest symbols of this is the wide variety of figures in the music video for “God’s Gonna Cut You Down,” from the album American V: A Hundred Highways. Graham Nash, Keith Richards, Brian Wilson, Justin Timberlake, Billy Gibbons, Kate Moss, The Dixie Chicks, Kanye West, Johnny Depp, Travis Barker, Kid Rock, Tommy Lee, Chris Martin, and many others. Check it out if you’ve never seen it.

But I love that U2 found it a good idea to have Johnny sing on the 1993 album, Zooropa. Cash sang the last song on the project, a song called “The Wanderer.” Here are a couple of lines from the song:

I went out there / in search of experience

To taste and to touch / and to feel as much

As a man can / before he repents

In Steve Turner’s book The Man Called Cash, the story goes,

“That same year (1988) Cash met Bono, who came to Hendersonville during a driving trip across America with U2 bass player Adam Clayton. When they sat down for a meal, Cash intoned a long and elaborate grace, thanking God for his wonderful provisions and asking him to bless the food to their bodies. Then he opened his eyes, winked at Bono, and said, ‘Sure do miss the drugs though’.”

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