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Among the many actors to try their hand at a musical career, Steve Martin has transitioned remarkably smoothly from the world of Hollywood comedy to a most respected member of the bluegrass community.
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Martin, featured among The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Grammy Greats,” took a moment to speak with THR on the red carpet prior to Sunday’s Grammy Awards pre-telecast. The early ceremony doled out more than 70 awards including best bluegrass album, for which Martin and his Steep Canyon Rangers were nominated. They ultimately lost out to Alison Krauss & Union Station.
Asked to pit the Grammys against the Academy Awards, the 66-year-old joked, “Well, today the Grammys is much much better than the Oscars.”
“I think the differences in the shows are that the Grammys are much wilder,” he continued, acknowledging the plethora of screaming fans. “The Oscars is much more people in the industry. And people dress wilder, I think, at the Grammys.”
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Donning a simple gray suit and hat, Martin opted for a tame look on the red carpet. Nicki Minaj, meanwhile, caused a stir by arriving arm and arm with a man dressed as the pope and donning a red cloak by Versace. Among other fashion risk-takers at the shower were Katy Perry (with her always changing hair colors), Corinne Bailey Rae, Fergie and Russian singer Sasha Gradiva, who arrived with an arm made of gun facsimiles.
“It’s two different animals. Music people are crazy and smoke dope,” Martin continued with a laugh. “Movie people don’t smoke dope at all,” he added, voice dripping with sarcasm.
Though Martin left empty handed on Sunday, the actor-turned-musician already has several Grammys to his name. He won best comedy album in 1978 and 1979, best country instrumental performance in 2001 for his banjo performance with Earl Scruggs on “Rocky Mountain Breakdown,” and best bluegrass album in 2009 for The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo.
So what’s next for Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers?
“We’re gonna do a summer tour. The rangers have a summer album coming out in April and I can’t wait to download it from a Chinese website,” Martin teased.
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Singing Martin’s praises on the red carpet was fellow bluegrass artist Jim Lauderdale, also up for best bluegrass album.
“I’m so much in awe of Steve Martin,” he said. “He’s brought so much awareness and attention [to the genre] and I really respect him as a banjo player and I have for 30 years.”
“He’s the real deal, it’s not like he’s just you know, jumping on some bandwagon or something. He knows what he’s doing,” Lauderdale continued. “And his band, the Steep Canyon Rangers, I’ve known for a long time and he’s making superstars out of those guys. That’s really great, cause they deserve it, too.”
Watch THR‘s complete interview with Martin in the video above.
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