Many of Steep Canyon Rangers’ fans discovered them by way of comedian and banjo player Steve Martin, who’s intermittently fronted the bluegrass band for over a decade. On Thursday’s episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, they took the infamous late-night stage sans Martin – although he introduced them from the guest’s chair – to perform the title track from their 2018 album Out in the Open.
Kicking off with a choppy guitar and mandolin lick, the live rendition of “Out in the Open” incorporates the same walking bass line as the recording, with lead vocalist Graham Sharp’s bluesy harmonica flourishes filling the gaps. Fiddler Nicky Sanders’ speedy background riffing augments the melody while Sharp sings from the point of view of someone who’s finally finding freedom in coming clean, leading into a dazzling series of solos.
Steep Canyon Rangers will tour alternately as a solo act and as support for Martin’s musical comedy show with actor Martin Short until the fall, ending with a show on October 21st at Salle Wilfrid-Pelletier in Montreal, Quebec.