Thursday, May 28, 2009

Well, Excuse Me!

My past and present will mix this weekend in an odd, but perhaps interesting way. I'm going to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night to see Steve Martin perform songs from his bluegrass album, "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo." Mr. Martin will appear with Vince Gill, John McEuen, Amy Grant and Tim O'Brien. (Now that's an Opry debut!)

As someone who grew up during the '70s watching "Saturday Night Live," the comedy stylings of Martin are firmly etched into my gray matter—not just from that show, but also from movies like "The Jerk" ("These cans are defective. They're springing leaks!). Steve Martin was everywhere back then. If I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure my friend Marty and I used to do our own version of the famous Martin-Akroyd "Two Wild And Crazy Guys" skits. 

More recently, my daughter and son have discovered Martin—albeit a more subdued Martin than the man of my youth—in the two "Cheaper By The Dozen" movies.

Now he's making his debut appearance on the Opry. And he's doing it with some of Nashville's finest pickers and singers. Wild and crazy stuff. 

If you had told me when I was a teenager growing up in Cleveland that I'd be seeing Steve Martin play banjo at the Grand Ole Opry when I was in my mid-40s and actually looking forward to it, I don't know what I would have said in response. I mean, it probably would have been a smart-ass remark—that's a constant—but beyond that I don't know.

This much I do know: Martin's appearance at the Opry House makes a lot more sense and will be a much more natural fit for him than his appearance on the season finale of "American Idol," which was wrong on so many levels.

And unlike so many other celebrities who dabble in music—don't get me started on Steven Seagal's foray into Nashville via the clunker "Fire Down Below" a few years back and some more recent examples—Martin actually has the chops to hang with Nashville's best.

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