Steep Canyon Rangers

nationally acclaimed bluegrass band stops in Eau Claire

Martha Galep

Steep Canyon Rangers, shown here hunkered amongst the spools.
Steep Canyon Rangers, shown here hunkered
amongst the spools.

This should be the Valley’s bluegrass show of the year. Worldwide bluegrass ambassadors, the Steep Canyon Rangers, bring their talents to Eau Claire to display just what Steve Martin discovered at that party in North Carolina. They take the reins this tour without Steve and easily confirm the wisdom of the International Bluegrass Music Association in voting them Entertainers of the Year. The band has the unique perspective of bringing bluegrass to many audiences that are new to the music; this hasn’t happened since the days of Flatt and Scruggs, and the Rangers are relishing the role. Few bluegrass bands have the national stage to show off their versatility combining traditional instrumentation and vocal arrangements with the progressive lyrical leanings of the original tunes they write. It is fine line between the two styles they bridge and the Rangers owe their success to that as much as to the attentions of Mr. Martin. Expect a hard-driving show; at their March gig in Plymouth, MN the guitar player broke no less than three strings in one set. Fiddle, mandolin, guitar, banjo, and bass get equal expert treatment and the singing and harmonies are as good as it gets. If you’ve never heard live bluegrass, going to this show will guarantee you’ll be hearing more in the future. The band’s latest CD, Nobody Knows You, goes on sale April 10, so prepare to enjoy some selections from their latest project.