Love Has Come for You Steve Martin and Edie Brickell Rounder/UMA ★★★ ✩
YES, that Steve Martin, the one with a gift for acting, for writing fiction and for being, on his day, tears-inducingly funny. There’s nothing jocular about the American comedian’s banjo-playing, although he used it as a prop in his stand-up routines in the 1970s. Martin, however, is a serious devotee of the instrument. He has been playing it for 50 years and in recent times has sat in with the bluegrass ensemble the Steep Canyon Rangers. In 2010 he created the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass, which is worth $50,000. On this album of gently swaying bluegrass tunes he is joined by Edie Brickell, she of the 1980s hit What I Am and wife of Paul Simon. The singer co-wrote the music with Martin and she penned all of the lyrics. Brickell’s voice is the most engaging of the two lead instruments, adding a playfulness to up-tempo tracks Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby, Get Along Stray Dog and Who You Gonna Take to the Dance?. There’s a more sombre tone to the opening When You Get to
Asheville, a contemporary ode to lost love, particularly within the bluegrass brief, with its line
‘‘ send me an email / let me know how you’re doing’’. Brickell excels on the more plaintive songs, adding a pleasing depth of emotion to the title track and the closing Remember Me This Way. Guitarist Waddy Wachtel leads an impressive supporting cast, which includes producer Peter Asher on assorted percussion.