Multi-talented Grammy® and Emmy-winning Comedic Banjoman/actor/author (and probably some other things we're forgetting) Steve Martin is set to release his second full-length bluegrass album through Rounder Records on March 15.
The album, Rare Bird Alert, will be a collaboration with bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers, who toured with Martin in 2010. It will also feature vocal appearances from Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks.
Rare Bird Alert features 13 new Martin-penned tracks, including a live version of “King Tut,” and was produced by Tony Trishka. Sir Paul McCartney and The Dixie Chick make special guest vocal appearances on the album. Martin co-wrote two of the CD’s songs with the Stone Canyon Rangers.
“Rare Bird Alert represents an intense, but joyful period of songwriting and touring. My love of this music continues,” comments Martin.
"It's very hard to believe," Martin said of having the former Beatle perform on his album. "I was a kid when I first heard Paul McCartney, and if you told me one day that he'd be singing one of my tunes, I'm still flabbergasted." McCartney gives voice to a track called "Best Love," which Martin describes as "a love song, but it has a little humor in it."
The Dixie Chicks perform a "very emotional, heartbreaking song called 'You,'" Martin said, adding that they agreed to sing the tune before they'd even heard it.
"I was kind of disappointed because I really wanted them to hear the song first and like it," he said. "But they did like it and they did a great job."
A banjo player and bluegrass fan for nearly five decades, Martin said he loves the camaraderie of making music. "You're always with somebody, whether you're on stage or in a recording studio, and my whole comedy career was solo," he told the Associated Press. "So that's a huge difference, a huge change for me and it's a positive change."
Steve Martin is a four-time Grammy® winner, the latest for The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo, which won Best Bluegrass Album (2009), in addition he won for his collaboration with Earl Scruggs on Foggy Mountain Breakdown (2001) and two for comedy albums Wild and Crazy Guy (1978) and Let’s Get Small (1977.) After playing on the Grammy® Award winning Foggy Mountain Breakdown with Earl Scruggs, Martin began writing a string of new banjo songs, some with lyrics and some as instrumentals which led to the making of, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo which was released on Rounder Records in 2009.
For more information on Steve Martin, including message boards, tour dates and more, please visit www.stevemartin.com.