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The Steep Canyon Rangers are worth a road trip
I'm not talking about stadium headliners -- nothing against these concerts or musicians, but with many of these shows, you might as well be watching on television at home. You're so much more present when you're part of a smaller group, which is why I especially love the folk scene, hosted by all the best coffee houses in America. All members of my 200-mile list are folk musicians. Of course, "folk" covers a lot of ground.
Near the top of my list is the Steep Canyon Rangers, a young bluegrass band from North Carolina. Winners of the 2006 International Bluegrass Music Awards' Emerging Artist of the Year title, the Rangers are up for Album of the Year and Gospel Recorded Performance of the Year at this year's IBMA's. Their sound is a solid mix of instrumentals, traditional and original bluegrass, and gospel, with lots of humor and fun thrown in.
In addition to great music, witty banter is a part of every show, and bass player Charles Humphrey will have you busting a gut. Check the Steep Canyon Rangers' tour schedule to see if they'll be coming within 200 miles of your hometown. If you want to say hi, you can find me at the Third Annual Mountain Song Festival, hosted by the Rangers themselves in Brevard, NC.
Below is a video of the Steep Canyon Rangers performing the title track from their latest album, Lovin' Pretty Women.