The Banjo: A Thing of Beauty

Steve Martin was interviewed this afternoon on NPR’s All Things Considered about his new banjo album, The Crow. (Who knew!?) He captured that kernel of interest about any musical instrument: it captures a lot of information about a culture.

“The thing about the banjo, is when you first hear it, it strikes many people as ‘What’s that?’ There’s something very compelling about it to certain people; that’s the way I was, that’s the way a lot of banjo players and people who love the banjo are. . . . I’d like to think it’s because we’re Americans and the banjo is truly an American instrument, and it captures something about our past.”

Later, Melissa Block also asked, “When you’re home, do you ever just take out your banjo and look at it as a thing of beauty?”

Martin answered, “I do. I think banjos are incredibly beautiful, just the fundamental look of a banjo. You know, a cylinder and a stick. I think they’re very, very beautiful.”

They also talked about the experience of holding and playing the banjo. Getting into esoteric territory here, and a perfect starting post for the blog. More details to follow.

Listen to the complete interview at NPR.