Steve Martin comes to Ottawa Jazzfest

There's a beer in that double bass

Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers delighted and entertained a large appreciative audience last night, wowing with excellent chops, evoking waves of laughter in between every song and showcasing great songs and changing things up regularly to keep things fresh. Martin, while obviously comfortable in working an audience, also impressed with his banjo playing virtuosity, at one point taking the stage alone (after declaring "The Rangers and I have an agreement that we'll quit the minute this gets to the point of not being fun any more". The words were barely out of his mouth before the rest of the musicians marched off the stage) and playing a great little instrumental song that came across well despite the din from the gold pass section near the back of the venue. In addition to bona fide bluegrass, included in the set were a couple of hilarious numbers including a song about atheism that had the crowd (once again) peeling in laughter. That song is part of their CD, Rare Bird Alert (a great buy) and includes tracks with Paul McCartney as well as the Dixie Chicks.

Earlier in the evening Ziggy Marley promptly filled the stage for their 7:30 start time.  Photographers were informed that photography of the stage and Ziggy would not be permitted, this was in stark contrast to the lyrics being declared over the crowd "To be free to be free to be free I got to be brave".  The crowd was immense already for this show, however the majority of the crowd were comfortably parked in their lawn chairs while the reggae fans were dancing up along the fences to the sides of the main stage venue.  It seemed clear that most of the crowd had come for Steve Martin, following Ziggy.