Martin rediscovers singing

Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers perform at the Port Theatre on Sunday (May 11).   - Photo Contributed
Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers perform at the Port Theatre on Sunday (May 11).
— image credit: Photo Contributed

Sometimes things in life can be better the second time around and that appears to be the case for multi-talented entertainer Steve Martin.

After having an illustrious career as an actor and standup comedian, Martin now finds himself touring around North America as a Grammy-winning recording artist.

“I’ve just had a resurgence of performing live,” Martin told the Bulletin. “I used to do it in the ’70s and I really hadn’t done it until now. It’s proving to be much more fun than it was in the ’70s.”

The last time Martin toured this heavily was over 30 years ago during the prime of his standup comedy career, which saw many of his records reach platinum status and won him win a Grammy Award in 1978 for best comedy album.

On Sunday (May 11) Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers featuring Edie Brickell will be performing at the Port Theatre.

“It’s going to be music and it’s going to be comedy,” Martin said about the show. “We try recreate as closely as possible, the sound on the record, when we play live. In those songs that we did on the record, we actually do try to give the audience the sound that they actually hear on the record.”

The magic for Martin all began when he was a teenager working at Disneyland in California performing magic tricks. He became interested in the banjo as the folk music scene grew in popularity and although he ended up going into standup comedy, his acts often would include the banjo.

After a long hiatus as a recording artist, Martin released, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo, in 2009, which was his first full-length non-comedy record. The record featured Vince Gill and Dolly Parton and received a Grammy Award in 2010 for Best Bluegrass Album.

In more recent years, Martin is perhaps best known as an actor, particularly for his roles in Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, The Jerk, Cheaper by the Dozen and It’s Complicated. Martin recalled his time working with Canadian actor John Candy in the ’80s.

“Oh, that was just great. He was so sweet and delightful. You look at that movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles and you can just tell what a great dramatic actor he was, along with his comedy,” Martin said. “We got along great. He was a real pleasure to work with. We ad-libbed a lot in that movie ... it was a real pleasure to work with John.”

The Grammy award winner is also an avid collector of fine art and a fan of legendary Group of Seven member Lawren Harris. Martin is currently working on curating an exhibit on Lawren Harris, which will go in display in the United States and at the Art Gallery of Ontario sometime next year.

“That's my artistic focus right now,” Martin said. “I've been around Canada looking for great Lawern Harris canvases."

Steve Martin and Steep Canyon Rangers perform at the Port Theatre on Sunday (May 11).

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