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Steve Martin 

The Crow (Rounder)

Along with the white suit and the arrow through the head, the banjo, though ably played, was just another comedic prop for Steve Martin back in the '70s. But Martin has played the instrument for 45 years, he explains in the lengthy liner notes for The Crow. He gives background on the origins of each of these original bluegrass tunes (all but one, "Clawhammer Medley," are his). This is neither vanity project or ill-conceived dalliance: It's the genuine article, with the likes of Earl and Gary Scruggs joining him. Martin's schoolboy reminiscence, "Late For School," is a joy, while the Vince Gill/Dolly Parton duet, "Pretty Flowers," is pretty sweet.

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