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Steep Canyon Rangers

Although they received a boost in popularity when actor/banjo player Steve Martin joined their ranks in 2009, the Steep Canyon Rangers had already earned an audience with their progressive bluegrass sound. Graham Sharp (banjo, harmony vocals) met future bandmates Woody Platt (guitar, lead vocals) and Charles R. Humphrey III (bass, harmony vocals) in 1999, while all three were attending the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Drawn together by their love of acoustic music, they began playing impromptu jam sessions. As things progressed, they were drawn more and more to bluegrass and started learning the genre's classic tunes. The main impetus to "go bluegrass" was the input of mandolin player Mike Guggino, an old friend of Platt's. He also owned a cabin in the mountains near the school, and the quartet used that as its rehearsal space.

At first, the members were all busy with school and planning professional careers, with no thought of making music full time. None of them had ever been in a band before, but as they created a style all their own -- equal parts traditional and progressive bluegrass, with a bit of country and rock throw into the mix -- they began to realize they were more than just a bunch of friends jamming. By the time they graduated, fiddler Nicky Sanders had also joined the band's ranks, and the Steep Canyon Rangers were getting enough gigs to quit their day jobs and become full-time musicians.

Although they threw the occasional bluegrass cover into their sets, the main strength of the Rangers quickly became their songwriting. Sharp, Humphrey, and Guggino all contributed to the band's canon with original compositions that appealed to bluegrass, country, folk, blues, and jam band fans. Upon graduation, the Rangers hit the road, playing folk and rock clubs as well as traditional bluegrass venues. Their first album, Old Dreams and New Dreams, was released in 2001 of the band's own label. Mr. Taylor's New Home appeared in 2002 courtesy of the small indie label Bonfire, and the self-titled Steep Canyon Rangers marked the band's first release for Rebel in 2004. Its follow-up, One Dime at a Time, was recorded mostly live in the studio and won the IBMA's Emerging Artist Award in 2006, with the title tune going to number one on the Bluegrass Unlimited chart.

Although no stranger to the jam band crowd, the Steep Canyon Rangers further endeared themselves to that audience with a ragtime cover of the Grateful Dead's "Don't Ease Me In." The song appeared on Lovin' Pretty Women, which was nominated for IBMA's Album of the Year, and 2009's Deep in the Shade showed off their continuing love of gospel music. Meanwhile, the bandmates kept themselves busy collaborating with other artists. In 2008, they played with Flatt & Scruggs vocalist Curly Seckler, and in 2009 comedian/banjo player Steve Martin asked the Rangers to serve as his backing band on a tour in support of his own banjo album, The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. Their 2009 gig at San Francisco's Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival introduced the group to a whole new audience of former hippies and boomers, and Martin remained on board for 2011's Rare Bird Alert, which featured guest appearances by Paul McCartney and the Dixie Chicks. Nobody Knows You, the group's debut album for Rounder Records, appeared in 2012. Tell the Ones I Love from 2013, also on Rounder Records, was produced by Larry Campbell and recorded mostly live at the late Levon Helm's studio in Woodstock, New York.

With their popularity growing, the Steep Canyon Rangers toured steadily, both on their own and accompanying Martin. In 2013, Martin collaborated with singer and songwriter Edie Brickell on an album called Love Has Come for You; when Martin and Brickell played a handful of concert dates in support, the Steep Canyon Rangers joined them, and one performance was released in both audio and video under the title Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell Live. ~ j. poet, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

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Track List: Tell The Ones I Love (Single)

Comments

These guys are the real deal! I have the chance to see them live 3 times and they get better each time.
madeleine.ea t o n
Hear hear, scwbj! Knob Creek, and every tune on "Tell the Ones I Love," sound like classics already. Can't wait for the day when I can walk into a random jam session and request SCR tunes and everybody knows them!
scwbj
These guys might have gained popularity by Steve M joining them for a while but they sure don't need his talent in my opinion! These guys are pickers and singers in their own right. Their instrumental , Knob Creek, should join the likes of Jerusalem Ridge and Lee Highway Blues!
cmnielse
Long live Dixie ! Saw SCR at Lincoln theater, Raleigh, NC.
Very entertaining , Keep on Truckin boys....Any military tours in the works?
First saw the scr for the first time in 2011 at the Kentucky horse park bluegrass festival. It was the first night they got there tour bus they were so excited to sleep in style and not in there van! Got them to sign the rare bird cd great guys even got to go on the new bus!!!
So good love absolutely this music. Just cant help it, or just caint hep it.
jesusfreak3. 1 6 5
This song is so good and peaceful I could go to sleep to it every night
mouvo69
Heard them with Steve Martin last night and THEY ARE REALLY GOOD......LO V E THEIR MUSIC.....
pldodd
Heard the song Mountain's Gonna Sing and I've been a SCR fan ever since!
My introduction to them was Rare Bird Alert, which I bought on a fluke, just to see what it was about. I've bought Nobody Knows and will be going backwards in time to get the others :) They performed in Duluth this past summer with Steve Martin and they were amazing.
jazzstevens0 7
Have the privilege of watching a couple of these talented men grow up. Very proud to have known them and LOVE their music. Mary Stevens (was Bryson)
Lucky enough to have Woody living in the same area ....SCR are an awesome bunch of guys that inspired my son to pick up the bluegrass bug ......cant say enough about their freshness and drive .....
I saw SCR in Augusta, GA about 2 years ago. My friend and I ended having a couple of drink with them after the show. The guys are awesome as their music is! Great people make great music! =D
jlstill.lynn
First saw the Rangers six years ago when they were just starting out.They get better every time we see them.
Saw them play here in Buffalo, WY last year! Great show!!!
middendorfio p
UNDERSTATED
ryanpwick
saw you guys at frying pan park in va - great show! see you at the watermelon park fest on the Shenandoah River!
Great show in Lampe,Mo last night. A must see group.
mooseatolla9
Just watched them perfom in Buffalo, Wyoming...th e y were awesome!!!
aaaune
Love this band. One of the top newer bluegrass bands around. Saw them recently with Steve Martin and it was fantastic!
They're my boys!
These guys embody hard work and success, passion and love of all things beautiful!! They are The Beatles of bluegrass music!!
I love their sound
AWSOME SINGERS THESE MEN BE
WOW
I am in the process of setting up a radio station and I would love to get a copies of your alboms to play. Could mail it to 1762 Preserve Creek way Loganville GA. 30052. Thanks
jo_thornsber r y
they also will be playing at Pickin' in the Pines Bluegrass Festival in Flagstaff this Septemer
SO GOOD TO SEE BOYS FROM BACK IN THE COLLEGE DAYS DOING SO WELL!
bannanas44
had the privilage of seeing them live last week. A most awsome event.
Went and saw them in Cumberland Caverns last weekend, It was awesome!
the fiddle player presently is Nicky Sanders from San Francisco ;-) Lizzie has been gone for a good while now.
yummy!
this seems like a good down to earth band. I like them. I could listen to them all day

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