The Steep Canyon Rangers
The Steep Canyon Rangers • A true band of brothers, The Steep Canyon Rangers emerged in 2001 as college picking-buddies in Chapel Hill, NC. Performing now for more than a decade, The Rangers create a new and powerful brand of Bluegrass music, rising to become one of today’s premier acoustic ensembles.
The Steep Canyon Rangers have come a long way since turning pro in 2001. Graham Sharp (banjo and lead and harmony vocals) met Woody Platt (guitar and main lead vocalist) and Charles R. Humphrey III (bass and harmony vocals) in 1999 while they were at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. They were drawn together by their love of acoustic music and began by 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 had a cabin in the mountains near the school and the quartet used that as its rehearsal space.
“At first, there was no thought of being in a band. The members were all in school and were planning professional careers.
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 in the mix — they began to realize that they were no longer just a bunch of friends jamming. By the time they graduated, fiddler Nicky Sanders had joined and they were getting enough gigs to quit their day jobs and become full-time musicians.”
Although they do cover a bluegrass classic or a folk song now and then, the main strength of The Rangers is their songwriting. Sharp, Humphrey, and Guggino all contribute to the band’s canon with originals that appeal 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 and folk, bluegrass, and jam band festivals.
Their first album, Old Dreams and New Dreams, was put out on their own label in 2001. Mr. Taylor’s New Home was released by the small indie label Bonfire in 2002 and Steep Canyon Rangers, their first for Rebel in 2004, combined a few covers with originals by band members. One Dime at a Time was recorded mostly live in the studio, and helped them win the IBMA’s ‘Emerging Artist of the Year’ Award in 2006. The title tune went to number one on the Bluegrass Unlimited chart. They endeared themselves to jam band fans with a ragtime cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Don’t Ease Me In” on Lovin’ Pretty Women, which was nominated for IBMA’s Album of the Year, while 2009′s Deep in the Shade showed off their continuing love of gospel music. The Rangers continued to kick up dust while performing heavily on the Bluegrass and Americana music circuit including festivals like MerleFest, Telluride, Grey Fox, DelFest and RockyGrass. Abroad, The Steep Canyon Rangers performed shows and festivals in Sweden, Ireland, England, Germany, Switzerland and Canada.
“With smooth vocals, smart songwriting, ferocious instrumentals and jaw-dropping harmony, The Rangers are bringing Bluegrass to music lovers across the USA and around the world. The Steep Canyon Rangers are: Mike Guggino (mandolin/vocals), Charles Humphrey III(bass/vocals), Woody Platt (guitar/lead vocals), Nicky Sanders (fiddle/vocals), and Graham Sharp (banjo/vocals).”
As if their own projects aren’t impressive enough in their own right, the band has also been busy collaborating with other artists. In 2008, they played with Flatt & Scruggs vocalist Curly Seckler, and in 2009 comedian/banjo player Steve Martin chose The Rangers as his backing band for his tour to support his banjo album The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo. Their 2009 gig at San Francisco’s Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival introduced them to a whole new audience of former hippies and boomers.
In 2010, the latest solo record from Steep Canyon Rangers, ”Deep In The Shade”, remained in the Bluegrass Top 10 on Billboard for 18 weeks. While headlining festivals like MerleFest and Bonnaroo alongside Steve Martin for part of each year, The Rangers continue to perform alone as a quintet on stages such as Telluride, RockyGrass, and ”A Prairie Home Companion” with Garrison Keillor. Recent television appearances by Steve Martin with The Steep Canyon Rangers include ”Late Night With David Letterman”, ”The Colbert Report” & ”Austin City Limits.”
The past year has taken The Steep Canyon Rangers to new heights. In March 2011, the band released its first collaborative record with Steve Martin, ”Rare Bird Alert” which debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Bluegrass Chart and at #43 on the Billboard Top 200. In July of 2011, they participated alongside Steve in the annual “A Capitol Fourth” celebration on the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
Steep Canyon Rangers • Turn Up The Bottle
Steep Canyon Rangers • Be Still Moses
Steep Canyon Rangers • “Hollerin’ House” and “Cumberland Moon”
Steep Canyon Rangers • Lovin’ Pretty Women
Steep Canyon Rangers • Orange Blossom Special
Steep Canyon Rangers with Steve Martin • “Jubilation Day” Official Music Video
Steep Canyon Rangers with Steve Martin • Atheists Don’t Have No Songs
FaceBook • www.facebook.com/SteepCanyonRangers
Events on FaceBook • www.facebook.com/SteepCanyonRangers?sk=events
Mailing List • www.facebook.com/SteepCanyonRangers?sk=app_2405167945
Booking • Keith Case and Associates, (615)327-4646, firstname.lastname@example.org
Store • www.steepcanyon.com/store.asp
Management • Don Light Talent, email@example.com
Tour • www.steepcanyon.com/tour/
WebSite • www.steepcanyon.com/
Twitter • twitter.com/#!/steepcanyon
News/Blog • www.steepcanyon.com/news.asp
iTunes • itunes.apple.com/us/artist/steep-canyon-rangers/id95701235
Amazon • www.amazon.com/s/steep%20canyon%20rangers
MySpace • www.myspace.com/thesteepcanyonrangers
WikiPedia • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steep_Canyon_Rangers
ARTICLES & SOURCES
The Steep Canyon Rangers • J. Poet, Rovi
“He Can Play That Banjo Just Like Ringin’ a Bell” • Bruce Madden, GRNow.com – 6/27/2011
“RARE BIRD ALERT” (CD Review) • Dee Robson, Middle Boop Mag – 4/13/2011
Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers Cut it Up at the Roberts Orpheum • Aimee Levitt, Riverfront Times – 4/24/2010
Deep in the Shade: CD Review • Bluegrass Unlimited – March, 2010 Issue
Bluegrass, banjo and more… • Jay Lustig, Star Ledger – 10/8/09
Single ’King Tut’ Was Not a Fluke • Alex Pasternack, Huffington Post – 5/29/09
Rhythm & Views: “Lovin’ Pretty Women” – CD Review • Tucson Weekly – 11/15/07
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