Do older people still have something to offer in work, in creativity, in life? As a fellow staring down 50 years of age, I sure hope so. Today’s modern media seems to care more about marketing to the 30 and under crowd (shame on them!) even though the over 50 crowd has more money and time to spend. The Billboard magazine and rags of similar ilk seem to tout younger bands that come and go almost overnight, but there is still an extremely loyal following for groups and performers that are, well, older. Some great examples: Bob Seeger, John Fogerty, Dolly Parton and Robert Plant come to mind. It is especially exciting to me that these artists continue to produce new material that is as good or better than their earlier work, either solo or in bands.
Another name to add to that list: Steve Martin. Yes, that wild and crazy guy Steve Martin, comedian, writer, art collector, playwright and musician. His comedy albums in the 70’s included the banjo as part of the act, and his 1981 album The Steve Martin Brothers included one whole side featuring his band. He has also performed notably with Earl Scruggs in 2001, and he released an all-bluegrass CD in 2009 titled The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo that won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album in 2010. In short, the guy has chops; he is a real player in the bluegrass world, not just some sort of celebrity wannabe.
He has just released a new recording: Rare Bird Alert, by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. Consider it a serious bluegrass album with a Steve Martin twist. Bluegrass may not be for everyone, but Mr. Martin will have at least a cut or two here that will grab you and pull you in. By the way, Steve Martin was born in 1945, but something tells me he isn’t ready to exercise his AARP card just yet. Check out his website here. Enjoy!