Monday, October 07, 2013

The return of Musical Mondays: The Steep Canyon Rangers

Facebook friends know how obsessed I am with the Steep Canyon Rangers - I've seen them four times live this year (once with musician and comedian Steve Martin) and chatted with a couple of the band members. They are some of the most talented people I've ever met - but blog readers (all none of you, since I stopped writing for so long) haven't heard me talk about them at all. Time to change that. In fact, these guys are so damn good that I'm going to break with Musical Monday tradition and post three clips instead of one.

After my last concert, at the Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, in September, I got to meet Woody Platt, the lead singer and guitarist. The above song was one of the things we talked about. I asked him not about the lyrics, since he's not the songwriter, but the music itself. I told him I absolutely love the way he and Graham's voices weave together on that number, and he grinned and said, "Yeah, it's really cool, isn't it?" I asked him what the technical name for that is, since it's not quite counterpoint. To paraphrase his answer, I don't dare use quote marks: Well, yeah, it's not really counterpoint... it's kind of call-and-response, but it isn't really call-and-response, either. (weird grin) I'm supposed to be the devil, y'know? But I wanted Graham to do that part. His voice would have been way better for it. (Me: Why don't you flip?) Because he knows the words, and does a great job of telling the story. But anyway, yeah, it's a little call-and-response, but it's more of a counterpoint. There isn't really a technical term for it, it's just cool.

Ok, the next song, from their brand new album out just last month - and I actually got to buy it before it even came out, since they were selling it at that Birchmere show. :D

This last one's a little longer, but Nicky's the best damn fiddler you will EVER see, bar none. That said, the clip doesn't do him justice. I probably shouldn't even post it - this is just one you abso-friggin-lutely have to see live, and is part of the reason I keep going back for more (that and how much more amazing their vocal harmonies sound in person). And as you'll note, Steve Martin is in this clip too. He's not part of the band, but they often tour together with a joint show.

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