The Steep Canyon Rangers, one of the most vital, exciting bluegrass bands working the format today, are set to release Lovin’ Pretty Women, the band’s latest CD since winning the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) “Emerging Artist” award. Hit songwriter and fellow IBMA award-winner Ronnie Bowman produced the album. Rebel Records is the esteemed home to this incendiary and road-tested band. The record drops nationally today, August 14, 2007.
Lovin’ Pretty Women will guarantee this group’s continued ascent to the top of the bluegrass ranks, while reaching new audiences as they expose their own unique and timeless style to a wider and more diverse audience on the road.
The Steep Canyon Rangers are Graham Sharp (banjo, lead and harmony vocals), Woody Platt (guitar and lead vocals), Charles R. Humphrey III (bass and harmony vocals), Mike Guggino (mandolin and harmony vocals), and Nicky Sanders (fiddle and harmony vocals).
The Steep Canyon Rangers dig even deeper into a traditional bluegrass sound on Lovin’ Pretty Women, but with a sophisticated twist. It’s an album filled with the vim and vigor of a band in love with making music. The Rangers have written their own material since they first started jamming together in a stairwell on the campus of UNC. The group is blessed with artistic vision, a gift for songwriting and an intense desire to create their own unique sound. That’s why the Rangers have been able to honor the bluegrass masters who came before them while nudging the genre forward in new and exciting ways.
“Traditionally bluegrass bands have gotten by playing all the standards,” says Sharp. “Most of those songs have all been done and they’ve been done really well. Why try to recreate something that you can’t outdo? So that was our motivation, to just be original. It gave us the opportunity to figure out how to be unique within a format steeped in tradition.”
The new album showcases a band at the top of its game, whether dipping their banjos and guitars in the gospel water of “Be Still Moses” or telling stories from the coalmines in “Call The Captain” and “Cumberland Moon.” The Rangers' compelling harmonies throughout are a testimony to the band’s belief that the voice is as vital a musical instrument as anything with strings.
Their super-tight harmonies and unique style caught the ear of legendary artist manager Don Light (Jimmy Buffet, Delbert McClinton, Keith Whitley, and the Oak Ridge Boys). Light built his reputation by spotting music visionaries early in their careers. He saw the same spark and intense desire in the Steep Canyon Rangers and signed on to manage their career.
Together the Rangers and Light have been taking the band’s music to an ever-widening audience. In fact, the Rangers export their uniquely American music across the Atlantic this year when they tour Europe for the first time.
September 15th they’ll also be hosting the 2nd Annual Mountain Song Music Festival, a festival they started to benefit the Boys & Girls Club in Brevard, NC.
Whether they’re Lovin’ Pretty Women or making new fans all over the world, there’s one thing the Steep Canyon Rangers will definitely be doing—creating timeless acoustic music that honors tradition, while boldly moving it into the future.