Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers at Jones Hall, 7/31/2014

Steve Martin & the Steep Canyon Rangers Feat. Edie Brickell & Paul Simon Jones Hall July 31 2014

The Houston Symphony must have enjoyed having the night off Thursday. But helpfully, Steve Martin was there to explain to any subscribers wondering what had happened to their concert hall that "Yo-Yo Ma is off making Cheaper By the Dozen 3."

The Waco-born actor/comedian/author and his Grammy-winning bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers were the symphony's guests for a sold-out evening of music and comedy, and occasional musical comedy; even his attempt to explain the old bluegrass tradition of murder ballads in the encore elicited some laughter. But despite Martin's constant efforts to maneuver the center of attention back onto him one way or another, he wound up being upstaged all over the place - including by one very special guest indeed.

Of course that air of casual, almost unwitting arrogance has become Martin's go-to public persona, and Thursday it was there from the outset. Noting the heavy congestion around Jones Hall before the show, he said, "I haven't caused this kind of a traffic jam since the last time I went jogging in shorts."

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray