Music and Video Summary -> Everyone should realize by now that Steve Martin is more than just a comedian who started off his career in the comedy clubs with an arrow through his head and a five-string banjo as a prop. He's written short stories, novels, plays, and who knows how many film scripts. He's an actor and a serious art collector, and his work, however funny it may be at times, really arcs closer to human philosophy than it does standup or slapstick, although Martin knows how to do a pratfall with the best of the Saturday Night Live crew. But for the record, and for the sake of the matter at hand, Martin is a fine and accomplished banjo player, good enough to play with the likes of Vince Gill, Tim O'Brien, Tony Trischka, John McKuen, and Pete Wernick, and, oh yeah, he's played with Earl Scruggs too, which alone should state the case. Yep, Martin can play the banjo, and better yet, he composes on it, and his gentle, lilting, and chiming banjo lines have easy, natural melodies embedded in them. This is where Edie Brickell enters the picture. On Love Has Come for You, Martin's third album for Rounder Records, Brickell's lyrics bring those gracefully easy melodies to life, stretching them into likewise graceful songs with a sparse, whimsical, and artfully open-aired narrative style. Her singing sounds relaxed and unpressured, just like Martin's easy-rolling banjo lines, and the two of them together are no novelty act. This is a true collaboration, and songs like the opener, "When You Get to Asheville," which features a muted chamber string section that wraps around Martin's banjo like a bright, warm blanket (the album was produced by Peter Asher), the odd, compelling "Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby" (about a baby thrown off a train in a suitcase, it could almost be called an Appalachian murder ballad, except no one dies, and the song is delivered with a sort of slightly bemused warmth), and "Shawnee," a simple, lovely, and gentle song about missing someone, all make it clear that Martin and Brickell are no accidental tourists. This is a sweet-sounding album with subtle depths, not really bluegrass, but a precisely gentle folk album that grows more graceful and revealing with each listen. ~ Steve Leggett
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