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Steve Martin wins bluegrass award -- no joke

By Ed Payne, CNN
updated 4:51 PM EDT, Fri September 30, 2011
Martin along with his touring band the Steep Canyon Rangers won at the 2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards in Nashville.
Martin along with his touring band the Steep Canyon Rangers won at the 2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards in Nashville.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Martin wrote or co-wrote 15 of the 16 tunes on his bluegrass album
  • Allmusic.com calls it a "first-class banjo album"
  • Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs and Dolly Parton appear on the album
  • Martin's banjo playing is no joke, anymore

(CNN) -- It used to be that Steve Martin's music was a joke or at least part of the joke -- a prop in a comedy bit -- but no more.

Martin along with his touring band the Steep Canyon Rangers won entertainer of the year Thursday night at the 2011 International Bluegrass Music Awards in Nashville.

"Hey! @steepcanyon and I just won IBMA Entertainers of the Year!" Martin posted on his Twitter account.

Martin released his Bluegrass debut "The Crow: New Songs for the Five-String Banjo" in 2009, which was produced by John McEuen of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. Country and bluegrass heavyweights like Vince Gill, Earl Scruggs and Dolly Parton appeared on the album. Martin wrote or co-wrote 15 of the 16 tunes.

"Everyone knows that Martin can be very funny, but The Crow isn't a joke," said Steve Leggett on Allmusic.com. "It's a first-class banjo album."

Martin's banjo musings appeared on his first comedy album, 1977's "Let's Get Small," typically punctuating a silly song or serving as an interlude between gags and remained a part of his comedy gigs.

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