In a review in the Raleigh News & Observer, country music critic Jack Bernhardt wrote, “If George Jones had Lester Flatt and Bill Monroe in mind when he sang ‘Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,’ he might have found his answer in North Carolina’s hot-picking young band, the Steep Canyon Rangers.” The Steep Canyon Rangers are among the best known of the “new traditional” bluegrass bands, blending original material with a reverence for the music of the first generations of bluegrass music.
In its current lineup, the Steep Canyon Rangers are Woody Platt on guitar and lead vocals, Graham Sharp on banjo and lead and harmony vocals, Nicky Sanders fiddling and singing harmony, Charles R. Humphrey III playing bass and singing harmony, and Mike Guggino on mandolin and harmony vocals. What began as informal sessions among undergraduate friends at the University of North Carolina has grown into a highly successful bluegrass unit that tours full-time.
The Steep Canyon Rangers record on the Rebel label, and have several CDs. The title track of the first album, One Dime at a Time, reached the top spot on Bluegrass Unlimited’s National Bluegrass Survey. That same year (2006), the International Bluegrass Music Association recognized the band with the Emerging Artist of the Year award. Their most recent album, Lovin’ Pretty Women, climbed to Number 3 and 4 on the charts in Bluegrass Unlimited and Bluegrass Music Profiles, respectively. A song from that album, “A Ramblin’ Man is a Ramblin’ Man,” reached Number 2 in Bluegrass Music Profiles.
Though their touring schedule takes them to many far-flung venues, the Steep Canyon Rangers continue to perform often in Western North Carolina.
The Steep Canyon Rangers play in concert, at festivals, and other venues, and will consider requests for school programs.