Actor, comedian and banjo player Ed Helms is prepping his first bluegrass album, which he'll record with his band Ed Helms & the Lonesome Trio, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
The group, which has been playing together for about 20 years, is comprised of the Hangover and Office star's college friends, Jacob Tilove and Ian Riggs. "We've been laying down some demos and kicking them back and forth," said Helms. "We've been been playing together so long, we have so many original tunes. We’ve made recordings for friends and family for years but we’ve never done a proper album."
No official word on whether the album will be released on a label, and Helms says they're also considering direct, online methods similar to Radiohead and Louis C.K.
This weekend the L.A. Bluegrass Situation, a festival co-founded by Helms, will take place, with Ed Helms & the Lonesome Trio set to perform a handful of shows, including a variety show named the Whiskey Sour Radio Hour on Friday. On Saturday, they'll play alongside North Carolina's Steep Canyon Rangers and Helms' undeniable predecessor (on both the comedy and banjo fronts), Steve Martin.
Helms noted a few of his favorite bluegrass musicians, name-checking the Del McCoury Band, Dave Rawlings and Gillian Welch and the Punch Brothers.
"I have a very liberal interpretation of the word 'bluegrass,'" he said. "The purists would say it's only this traditional high lonesome sound and that is all stuff we celebrate. But to us it's anything that feels like a legitimate offspring form. That universe could be Mumford & Sons, the Decemberists and Old Crow Medicine Show."