Funnyman Steve Martin Takes His Banjo Seriously
Steve Martin has never tired of wearing his many creative hats. And why should he? He's had one of the most successful careers in all of show business – as an actor, comedian, comedy writer, playwright, bestselling author, producer ... and, oh yes ... composer and musician.
On his acclaimed musical project, 'The Crow: Songs for the Five-String Banjo,' Steve wrote all 15 original songs, a few of which he played during an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry last May. The multi-talented Martin will find out on Oct. 1 -- at the 20th Annual International Bluegrass Music Awards ceremony in Nashville -- if he'll take home the award for Banjo Player of the Year and the five others for which he's nominated. And even though he seemingly has little trouble juggling myriad careers, he confesses he often wishes he wasn't such a great juggler.
"I wish I did one thing," Steve tells The Boot. "It would be a much more defined career, and people would probably understand me better if I did one thing. Crossing over can work against you. For example, I think I was very lucky with this album that I'm not being condemned for it. A lot of actors form rock bands, they're sort of the butt of people's jokes. But I just do what comes into my mind. I've just never inhibited myself from trying something new."
When it came to learning the banjo at 18, Steve didn't have an instructor. He just picked up the instrument and started making up songs. "I learned to play and write songs that way," Steve reflects, adding that realizing he could do so helped him out in other ways later in life.
"When I wrote the screenplay for 'Roxanne,' I had never written a screenplay alone before. I'd always worked with a partner. I was trying to find someone else to write it because I had the idea but I couldn't find anybody to do it, so I said, 'I'll just give it a try.'"
The IBMA Awards will be held Thursday (Oct. 1) at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium. Ten days later, Steve and his banjo will return to the hallowed venue as he headlines a live concert.