Steep Canyon Rangers, the North Carolina band perhaps best known for backing Steve Martin when he forays into bluegrass, is plain and simply one of the best bands in the business. Balancing mind-blowing virtuosity, genre-bending invention, and an infectious sense of fun in their hard-driving live sets, SCR is an instant favorite at every festival they play – including FreshGrass | North Adams in 2018 and 2019. Steep Canyon receives the 2020 FreshGrass Commission (given to Bill Frisell in ‘16, Sarah Jarosz in ‘17, Rhiannon Giddens in ‘18, and Kronos Quartet in ‘19), and is writing a bluegrass concerto that will premiere at The Momentary as part of FreshGrass.
With Out in the Open, Steep Canyon Rangers affirm their place as one of the most versatile bands in contemporary American music. The Grammy Award-winning sextet has spent nearly two decades bending and shaping the bluegrass aesthetic, wedding it to elements of pop, country, and folk rock to create something original. Out in the Open is the Rangers’ bravest excursion thus far, transcending bluegrass while also getting closest to the genre’s true form thanks to 3x Grammy Award-winning producer Joe Henry’s traditional approach toward recording.
Since Steep Canyon Rangers came together in 2000, they have developed a remarkable catalogue of original music that links them to the past while also demonstrating their ambitious intent to bring string-based music into contemporary relevance.
In July 2017, Steep Canyon Rangers arrived at Fidelitorium Recordings, an intimate studio facility built, owned, and operated by legendary producer Mitch Easter. The band soon discovered that its producer – along with engineer/mixer Jason Richmond – intended to record all six members singing and playing in a room with no overdubs. The organic process allowed SCR to work fast, tracking a dozen songs in just three and a half days. Steep Canyon Rangers is easily among the hardest working bands in any genre, pulling double duty on their own and as collaborators with Steve Martin.
Out in the Open is an undeniable milestone on the Rangers’ ongoing creative journey. As they approach their second decade, Steep Canyon Rangers are still moving forward, searching for new horizons and musical vistas.