Steve Martin hits U.S. chart with banjo music

Thu May 28, 2009 9:08pm EDT
 
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By Gary Trust

NEW YORK (Billboard) - Actor Steve Martin returned to the U.S. pop album chart for the first time since 1981 with a new disc showcasing his considerable banjo-playing skills.

"The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo" debuted at No. 106 on the Billboard 200 this week, with a little help from "American Idol."

Martin performed the album track "Pretty Flowers" during the talent show's season finale last week, with contestants Megan Joy and Michael Sarver trading vocals.

Martin placed three comedic sets on the Billboard 200 from 1977 to 1979. His last entry until this week foreshadowed his current sound, even if the wait would prove to be more than 27 years. The 1981 LP "The Steve Martin Brothers" featured comedy cuts on side one and banjo music on side two.

After his "Idol" performance, Martin did sneak in one slice of his wry humor. Put on the spot by host Ryan Seacrest to predict who would take home the "Idol" title, Martin quipped, "I know it's a long shot, but I hope I do."

(Editing by Dean Goodman)

 
<p>Steve Martin arrives for the finale of Season 8 of "American Idol" in Los Angeles May 20, 2009. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>