Steve Martin bringing banjo to the Island

Steve Martin will perform on Vancouver Island for the first time in May for a pair of musical performances.

The 68-year-old actor and author — who is regarded as one of the best stand-up performers in comedy history — will be wearing a different hat on this run. His appearances May 11 at Nanaimo’s Port Theatre and May 12 at Victoria’s Royal Theatre will be with his bluegrass bandmates Edie Brickell and the Steep Canyon Rangers.

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Tickets for both performances go on sale Jan. 24 at 10 a.m.

Martin’s musical roots run deep. He began playing the banjo more than 50 years ago with help from his high-school classmate and longtime friend John McEuen, who went on to found the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. In 2010, both Martin and McEuen earned Grammy Awards for their work on Martin’s official debut, The Crow: New Songs for the 5-String Banjo. The recording spent seven months atop the Billboard bluegrass charts. His follow-up, Rare Bird Alert, which Martin recorded with the Steep Canyon Rangers, was nominated for best bluegrass album at the 2011 Grammy Awards. Love Has Come For You, his first with What I Am singer Brickell, debuted in April at the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s bluegrass chart. Tickets for The Royal Theatre show ($100.50 or $132.50, plus service charges) will be available at the Royal and McPherson box office, by phone 250-386-6121 or online at rmts.bc.ca.

Tickets for the Port Theatre show ($146 or $165.50, plus service charges) will be available at the Port Theatre Ticket Centre, by phone at 250-754-8550 or online at porttheatre.com.

Port Theatre and High Tide Entertainment members will be permitted to purchase tickets on Tuesday. For more information, go to hightideconcerts.net.

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