Steep Canyon Magic
Steve Martin and Edie Brickell team up for Hollywood Bowl’s Independence Day fireworks spectacular
By Carl Kozlowski 06/30/2014
Steve Martin has done all sorts of things in his career: standup comedy, singing, acting in both dramas and comedies, and writing novels, essays and screenplays. But through it all, his real passion has been playing the banjo, a skill that he goofed around with on his 1970s comedy albums but which he has devoted semi-serious effort to in the last few years while recording and touring with his bluegrass band, the Steep Canyon Rangers.
He will be playing with the group, as well as veteran singer-songwriter Edie Brickell (who’s also the wife of Martin’s longtime friend, Paul Simon) , Wednesday through next Friday as the star attractions of the Hollywood Bowl’s annual Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular.
The shows will mark the Los Angeles tour stop for Martin and Brickell, who recorded a new CD called “Love Has Come For You,” featuring 13 rootsy original songs co-written by the duo that combine Martin’s impressive five-string banjo work with Brickell’s heart-tugging vocals and vivid lyrics.
The results sound surprisingly down-home, with titles like “When You Get to Asheville,” “Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby,” “Remember Me This Way” working their magic with memorable acoustic arrangements and lyrics that provide intriguing character studies of the kind of people who rarely get sung about anymore.
Of course, Martin still promises to wisecrack and goof around between songs, and some of his tunes with the Rangers are playful fun. Add in the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the US Air Force Band of the Golden West each playing a set of American standards and the Bowl’s always-amazing display of fireworks to close out the night, and you’ve got the perfect way to celebrate the nation’s birthday.
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell perform Wednesday through next Friday, July 2-4, at the Hollywood Bowl, 2311 N. Highland Ave., Los Angeles. Tickets are $15 to $148. Call (323) 850-2000 or visit hollywoodbowl.com.