TWO WILD AND CRAZY GUYS Martin: His Banjo Takes Center Stage on This Musical Tour

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), October 30, 2009 | Go to article overview

TWO WILD AND CRAZY GUYS Martin: His Banjo Takes Center Stage on This Musical Tour


Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

One of the funniest people in the known universe is coming to Eugene on Sunday night. But he won't be telling jokes.

OK, he might tell a few.

But Steve Martin - yes, that Steve Martin, the Wild and Crazy Guy from "Saturday Night Live," from "The Tonight Show," from "King Tut," from "Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid," from "The Jerk" - will be coming here simply to play banjo.

Martin, 64, is touring in support of his new all-banjo album, "The Crow." The CD features him playing five-string banjo with the likes of Mary Black, Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Dolly Parton, Earl Scruggs, Tony Trischka and Pete Wernick - none of whom will be here Sunday when he plays at the Shedd.

The show has been sold out for weeks.

Although he got his start as a stand-up comedian, Martin always has been so multitalented that he is hard to pin down. He acts. He writes novels. He writes plays. He writes short stories and essays that have been published in The New Yorker. He plays banjo. He does magic.

He's won an Emmy for comedy writing (in 1969 at "The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour," where he was hired by Lane County's own Mason Williams), two Grammys for comedy albums, and a Grammy for playing banjo with Earl Scruggs.

Last month, we got the chance to interview Martin, sort of, in the intimate venue of a telephone conference call with about 572 other reporters on the line.

He proved friendly, straightforward and a bit shy.

"When you give concert, is there anything funny about it?" asked a reporter from Allentown, Penn.

"Maybe one or two of the songs is a little humorous, but mostly it's about the music," Martin said. "And there are, like I say, you know, comedy lines.

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