Steve Martin on 'Give Me the Banjo'

Friday, November 04, 2011

In music, there are few things more insane than an amateur going and trying to sit down with a real player. But that's just what John Hockenberry did earlier this week, when he went to the house of comedian, author and banjo aficionado Steve Martin. A documentary called "Give Me the Banjo" airs tonight, and is narrated by Martin. But in the comedian's New York City apartment, talking about the banjo — as well as Martin's long career in comedy and interest in music — was augmented by some performance and a lesson or two. 

Listen below to one of Martin's original songs, "Northern Island," which was inspired by a visit to the Ukon as well as a painting by canadian artist Lawren Harris that was hanging on the wall in the room where he played with Hockenberry. 



Ben Johnson
John Hockenberry plays with Steve Martin.
Ben Johnson/WNYC
John Hockenberry, trading banjo licks with Steve Martin.
Ben Johnson
Playing the "three-finger style" or "Scruggs style" after Early Scruggs.
Ben Johnson/WNYC
Steve Martin picks out a version of "Groundhog."
Ben Johnson/WNYC
Post jam session.


Steve Martin

Produced by:

Tim Einenkel, Vince Fairchild and Ben Brock Johnson

Comments [1]

I've always like Steve Martin in any movie and I didn't realize that he had such a passion for the banjo either. Too bad he couldn't have a duet for the Zach Brown Band, that would be awesome indeed.

Nov. 06 2011 04:46 PM

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