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Steve Martin Takes the Banjo Seriously

Steve Martin Takes the Banjo Seriously

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This sounds like a wonderful show, Steve Martin’s banjo performance.

On stage at the Rubin Museum of Art here Wednesday night, the comedian, writer and musician Steve Martin demonstrated once again what is so clear on his new album, “The Crow—New Songs for the Five-String Banjo” (Rounder): He’s written some beautifully bittersweet songs for banjo, an instrument he’s played diligently, if not professionally, since his teen years. Though the concert was billed as “A Tentative Evening of Bluegrass,” it presented Mr. Martin as a musician, not a comedian who plays around with music. “We’re not here for comedy,” he said gently. Which isn’t to say he fully suppressed his humor. “This is what I would play sitting around the living room by myself,” he announced at one point. “So would you all please leave.” Not only were we advised to turn off our cell phones, but also not to “murmur or make any facial expressions.” He allowed that the capacity crowd of 130 at the Rubin Museum was maybe just a bit smaller than the one that witnessed his recent performance on “American Idol.” – from WSJ