Entertainment, IN SEE Culture

Grammy-Winning Band Steep Canyon Rangers Performing at Wilmington’s Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on September 29th

Wilmington, get ready! The Steep Canyon Rangers (SCR) are making their tour debut at the Greenfield Lake Amphitheater on Friday, September 29th. The show starts at 7 p.m. Wilmington is one of the group’s many tour destinations for the year.

Wilmington is a special tour spot for the Grammy Award-winning bluegrass band, known for drawing large crowds during previous shows in the Port City. The Western North Carolina-based group wants to bring back that homecoming excitement to Coastal Carolina fans.

The band started in Chapel Hill in 2000 and is creating a buzz on music’s biggest stages. The SCR received an induction into the North Carolina Music Hall of Fame in 2017. The bluegrass band members are Graham Sharp on banjo and vocals, Mike Guggino on mandolin/mandola and vocals, Aaron Burdett on guitar and vocals, Nicky Sanders on fiddle and vocals, Mike Ashworth on drums and vocals, and Barrett Smith on bass, guitar, and vocals. 

Steep Canyon Rangers lived performance; Photo Credit: David Shock Photography

I got to interview band member Barrett Smith to discuss the band’s upcoming show debut in Wilmington, the newest album, and their tour journey.

SCR tour many cities nationally and internationally, but Wilmington has a special place in their hearts. “Wilmington is one of the tour cities we make a priority to perform every year,” shared Smith.

The Steep Canyon Rangers love every bit of the tour experience—watching the fans enjoy themselves, partying, and relaxing to the music. The Greenfield Lake Amphitheater is the perfect atmospheric environment for the group, making their performance extra special. The seating arrangements combine with a partying climate and relaxed atmosphere tailored to fans’ rhythmic moods. “We love it! Some fans like to dance to the music, while others want to sit and appreciate the music,” stated Smith.

“Every year, around this time we have a supportive crowd who love watching us perform at the amphitheater (Greenfield Lake),” Smith shared.

Emmy Award-winning comedian and actor Steven Martin has also made cameo appearances in certain cities throughout the tour. Martin has performed with the band for 15 years as a banjoist. SRC was the featured band on Steve Martin and Martin Short’s special, “An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life,” which received four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. “He’s awesome! It’s a great experience to perform with him,” Smith stated.

Steve Martin and The Steep Canyon Rangers performing “California” on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Steep Canyon Rangers will sing songs from their newly released album, Morning Shift. The making of the album was a unique experience. The band didn’t go to the fancy studios in Los Angeles and Nashville. The group built a studio in a cabin in western North Carolina. There wasn’t no getting away from each other. It was a creative atmospheric outlet for them.  It was like a band camp. They stayed together for a week until they finished the album. They inevitably discuss the album because they are under the same roof. “We thought if we were focused, staying together in a wooded, remote area with no distraction, it would create a different product,” shared Smith.

They’re looking to bring the energy from the album on stage. Each tour experience is more exciting for the SCR. Dynamic would be the best description when describing their shows. “The shows can get loud. It gets big with the instrumental fanciness, then it shrinks down to some intimate moments with the acoustic instruments. Sometimes, we will have one microphone and a crowd around the microphone like old timing, and five minutes later, it will be drums and a full, live, exciting band,” Smith explained.

The shows are always different, night to night, weekend to weekend; every show is entirely different, with a list of new songs. The SCR takes great pride in performing live. The band and crowd feed off each other’s energy, making the experience memorable for fans.

The group will be touring nationwide for the remainder of the year, including two shows in Toronto and Montreal, Canada. But there’s nothing finer than performing in Sweet Caroline for the SCR.

Smith shared, “Touring in North Carolina is so full of emotions because it’s like coming home to your family.” The SCR is looking forward to the homecoming magic in Wilmington.

Click the highlighted link to purchase tickets for The Steep Canyon Rangers’ upcoming show at the Greenfield Amphitheater. For parking and seating arrangements for the show, visit Greenfield Lake Amphitheater

Visit www.steepcanyon.com for additional information on the band, music, videos, and tour dates.

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