“Truely Wonderful and Just as Advertised”
Inspired, musically, by Kingston Trio, Flatt and Scruggs, Steve is a self-taught comedic super-genius and Orange County, California native. With humor and wit shining through his well paced and precise self-acclaimed plink, plink, plink-staccato, he remains just as facinated by the music as the listener, noting, the beautifully geometric object “shouldn’t even be playable, but it is.” While Steve understands he’s not the best banjo player in the world, putting approximately 500 others in front of his name, he has had developed quite a significant musical talent and put two hit singles on the chart, King Tut and The Crow. He has also played with just about every banjo talent on the scene in the last forty-years, including his inspiration Earl Scruggs. As if inspired by the song it’s self, The Flatt and Scruggs tune, Polka On The Banjo, fits this man like no other.
The Crow, written over the entirety of Steve’s banjo plinkin’ career showcases the breadth of capability of the instrument, performer, and bluegrass community. A handful of songs feature Steve on vocals and banjo violating his claim, “you just can’t play a sad song on the banjo,” as he lays out mournful melodies in what he calls a “high lonesome sound.” However, in the spirit we know, these melodies are spaced between magnificent 5-string hoedowns, ‘lilts’, and waltz’ accompanied by other banjo and bluegrass greats like Vince Gill, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka, and others. Except for Steve’s Late for School, it’s difficult to pick my favorite on this album, mostly because I need more practice – zing. The title track, The crow, written in conjunction with Trischka and Bela Fleck, is a strong standard and will likely drop a corn-cob or two when you tell ’em “it’s Steve.” “Mandell?” “No sir, Martin. Steve Martin.” “Hot Dog, that old boy can play!”