Steve Martin plucks another role with banjo album

Thu Feb 5, 2009 5:15pm EST
 
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By Christine Kearney

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Made famous by his absurdist stand-up comedy and zany Hollywood films, Steve Martin has also exercised his creativity on a more serious plane, writing plays, novellas, articles and a memoir.

Now add to that some no-nonsense original plucking for his new bluegrass album, "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo."

The Texas-born, California-raised Martin, whose off-kilter comedy made him an international success in 1980s films like "The Jerk" and "All Of Me," last week released his first all-music album.

The launch came just before his latest movie, "Pink Panther 2," hits U.S. cinemas on Friday and marks its European release next week with a release at the Berlin film festival.

Martin recently told reporters it was now or never for the banjo CD, which features performers including Dolly Parton.

"I thought if I don't do it now, my fingers might slow down or I might forget the songs," said Martin, 63, after recalling his struggle to become a musical performer in a Manhattan club in his early twenties.

"We opened and nobody, not one person, came. And I went to the owner and said 'You know what? You don't have to pay me. You don't have to hire me, I'll just go', but he said 'No no, let's give it another night.' The next night no one came, and then he said, 'OK.' So I left," Martin said to laughter.

Martin, who once worked as a magician at Disneyland, produced two hit comedy albums, including 1978's "A Wild and Crazy Guy."   Continued...

 
<p>Actor Steve Martin arrives to attend a tribute to Diane Keaton by the Film Society of Lincoln Center in New York in this April 9, 2007 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files</p>