Artist Q&A: Graham Sharp of Steep Canyon Rangers

The Steep Canyon Rangers will bring unbelievable bluegrass beats from North Carolina to the Fox Cities this fall. The Grammy® Award-winning group effortlessly walks the line between festival favorite and sophisticated string orchestra. Banjo/guitar player, vocalist and songwriter Graham Sharp sat down to give us a peek behind the scenes of what makes bluegrass something you will not want to miss seeing live in this Artist Q&A.
Q. Tell us how Steep Canyon Rangers came to be.
A. Steep Canyon Rangers started as a group of friends in college at UNC. Seems like just the other day. None of us had any idea it would become our life’s path, but as long as it feels right we’ll keep at it.
Q. How did you get the band’s name?
A.We had a gig and needed a name, and there on the table sat a bottle of Steep Canyon Stout so we became Steep Canyon Rangers.
Q. What makes bluegrass a unique live experience?
A. I think the immediacy and intimacy of the instruments and the voices is what first struck me when I first saw bluegrass live.
Q. You’re occasionally seen performing with actor, comedian and musician Steve Martin. Although he won’t be with you when you stop in the Fox Cities – how did that connection come to be and what is it like taking the stage with him?
A. We met Steve through a mutual friend and what started out as a very informal pairing quickly became a world tour, then an album and so on and so forth. It was a natural fit from the start and we worked hard to learn Steve’s music backwards and forwards. Since then we’ve all grown to trust one another and each others instincts and it is a collaboration in every sense. Steve is inspiring to work with because of the amount of work and care he puts into his craft.
Q. What do you hope people take away from your performance?
A. Three CDs, a vinyl record, a hat, a couple t-shirts, and their minds blown.
Ok, now some fun fill in the blank:

I can’t travel without my…book.
The thing I love most about touring is…playing on stage, that’s the fun part.
The thing I love least about touring is… being away from Asheville (North Carolina) and my family.
The thing I wish more people knew about bluegrass music is… it comes in all shapes and sizes.
Before people watch the performance I really want them to know…We just came to get down.
We’re really excited to visit Appleton, WI because… it’s such a great region for music these days.
The Steep Canyon Rangers take the stage Monday, October 9. Tickets are on sale now!
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