Steep Canyon Rangers Honour Home State’s Musical Heroes With
‘North Carolina Songbook’ Live Album,
Recorded At Merlefest 2019
Out November 29 On Yep Roc Records
Steep Canyon Rangers have made a near-annual tradition of performing at MerleFest, their home state’s (and perhaps the US’s) preeminent roots music festival, but the group’s most recent stop through Wilkesboro, North Carolina was an experience completely unique from those that have come before it. Over the course of eight songs, Steep Canyon Rangers played their way through North Carolina musical history – reinterpreting the work of cross-generational NC icons like Elizabeth Cotten, Doc Watson, Ben E King and James Taylor in their own unmistakable style. On November 29, the band will share that extraordinary MerleFest set as a live album called ‘North Carolina Songbook,’ which will be released on LP and CD via Yep Roc Records. Find more information on the release here: yeproc.com/yep-roc-record-store-day-black-friday-2019
On ‘North Carolina Songbook,’ one of the Rangers’ boldest covers is a take on Thelonious Monk’s “Blue Monk” that sees them swap the jazz great’s grand piano and tenor sax for banjo and mandolin. As the band described it on stage at MerleFest, “we’re not sure if Bill Monroe and Thelonious Monk ever met on the road, but if they did, it might’ve sounded like this.” That “Blue Monk” live performance is now available to watch in full via Garden & Gun: gardenandgun.com/articles/steep-canyon-rangers-play-thelonious-monk
‘North Carolina Songbook’ is the latest in what has already been an incredible, unconventional 2019 for Steep Canyon Rangers. Over the summer, the group collaborated with Boyz II Men and the Asheville Symphony for “Be Still Moses,” which was praised for its “sublime harmonies and soulful ad-libs” by Rolling Stone. As well as extensive US tour dates, Steep Canyon Rangers are currently in Australia for another leg of shows supporting comedy legends Martin Short and (frequent collaborator) Steve Martin.