Review: Steve Martin mixes bluegrass, comedy at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers stopped by St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater Thursday night for a sold-out, much-anticipated night of bluegrass with guest star Edie Brickell. And while much has been made of Martin's transition over time from revolutionary comic to acclaimed bluegrass performer, Thursday's show at the Mahaffey actually featured -- get this -- more than a little comedy!
As Sean Daly writes:
Martin and his Rangers excelled in bluegrass and Western swing and folk balladry, working through cuts from their first two intricate albums, 2009's The Crow and 2011's Rare Bird Alert. "I don't think of the Steep Canyon Rangers as my band — I think of me as their celebrity," he deadpanned, then added: "This next song is a sing-along, but it has no lyrics so good luck!"
Some ditties were heartbreaking, especially Martin's solo performance of The Great Remember, a wistful instrumental written for a friend. Others were hilarious, including the robust sorta-gospel harmonizing of Atheists Don't Have No Songs and the wicked breakup slag Jubilation Day, both of which would have fit perfectly in Martin's old '70s standup act.
"I like to write songs based on my life experiences," he said. "So the next song is called I Think My Masseuse Is Too Chatty."