Steep Canyon Rangers

Steep Canyon Rangers played the Abbey Bar inside of Appalachian Brewing Company in Harrisburg, PA on 12-10-2010.  Harrisburg natives, Colebrook Road, opened the show.  Thanks to Greenbelt Events, this show was packed full of bluegrass fans.  There was just enough space in the room for everyone to enjoy the show.

The Steep Canyon Rangers gained a lot of attention when (actor, comedian, and banjoist) Steve Martin selected them to be his backing band for an album and a tour.  As result, they got to play some of the largest stages in the music scene including: Austin City Limits, Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, and the 2010 Bonnaroo Music Festival.  Sometimes, it takes luck or just being at the right place at the right time in order to get the notoriety that you deserve.  This relationship proved to be both.

The Steep Canyon Rangers are made up of:
Woody Platt – guitar, lead vocals
Graham Sharp – banjo, harmony vocals
Mike Guggino – mandolin, harmony vocals
Charles R. Humphrey III – bass, harmony vocals
Nicky Sanders – fiddle, harmony vocals

Each one of the Steep Canyon Rangers are excellent musicians, all of them could hold their own against the industry’s best.  And not only are they great musicians but they are also impressive songwriters.   Most bands within the bluegrass genre rely on traditional songs or cover songs but the Steep Canyon Rangers play mostly original pieces.

One of the cover songs that they did  play however was a cover of the Grateful Dead’s “Don’t Ease Me In”.  This song is on one of their CDs as well and they emulate the instrumentation bond that Jerry Garcia had with Phil Lesh and Bob Wier effectively.  This was one of the clear favorites of the crowd judging by the applause it received.

One of the most intimate parts of the night and my favorite part of the night was when they sung a spiritual hymnal-style song named “I Can’t Sit Down” a capella.   It has a great call and response  section which goes:

Won’t you sit down
Lord I can’t sit down
Won’t you sit down
Lord I can’t sit down
Won’t you sit down
Lord I Can’t sit down
‘Cos I just got to Heaven
Got to look around

Who’s that yonder dressed in red
Well it mus be the children that Moses led

If you have not seen the Steep Canyon Rangers, do yourself a favor and go see them.  You will see top notch musicianship as well as well-written original bluegrass music.  If you need a taste of twhat they are like stream the Austin City Limits show with Steve Martin off the ACL website, you’ll be gald you did.

The setlist more or less followed this, I did not recognize a few abbreviations from the selitst and are noted by (??):

Nowhere to Lay Low
Kicked Out Of Town
Oklahoma Stomp
Don’t Ease Me In (Grateful Dead cover)
Call The Captain
Tennessee Blues
Be Still Moses
Hollerin’ House / Cumberland Moon
A Ramblin’ Man is a Ramblin’ Man
I Can’t Sit Down
Turn Up The Bottle
Knob Creek

Lovin’ Pretty Women