Maddie Oatman

Maddie Oatman

Research Editor

Maddie worked as a travel guide in Argentina and a teacher at several educational nonprofits in San Francisco before joining Mother Jones. She’s also written for Outside, the Bay Citizen, and the Rumpus. A proud Boulder native, she makes time for mountain climbing, stargazing, and telemark skiing.

Get my RSS |

Advertise on MotherJones.com

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell's Banjo Magic

| Mon Apr. 22, 2013 5:30 AM EDT

Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Love Has Come For You
Rounder Records

When Steve Martin played singer Edie Brickell a banjo tune he'd been working on, lyrics flooded into her mind as if she were recalling a preexisting song. She recorded the melody and sent it back to Martin, who began emailing her file after file of his banjo compositions, sometimes two a week, over which she'd quickly layer stories. "I'd just hear the tune and there were all these images and pictures," says Brickell of Martin's picking. "All you had to do was pull the lyrics out of the air."

From the alchemy of Martin's inventive five-string banjo strumming and Brickell's breezy and timeless twang emerged Love Has Come For You, out Tuesday, an intimate and stripped down album that centers on family lore, small-town gossip, and scorned love.

"I'd just hear the tune and there were all these images and pictures," Brickell says. "All you had to do was pull the lyrics out of the air."

Actor and comedian Steve Martin likely needs no introduction—he's starred in classic comedies like Roxane, Three Amigos, Parenthood, and Father of the Bride—but his musical accomplishments still might catch you by surprise. He's played banjo since age 17, won Grammys in 2001 and 2009 for his instrumentals, and began touring with the bluegrass band the Steep Canyon Rangers in 2009. Edie Brickell shot to fame in the late 1980s as the frontwoman for the New Bohemians, with hits like the indignant "What I Am" and "Circle of Friends," followed by a marriage to Paul Simon and successful solo career (though she never repeated such a genius album name as Shooting Rubberbands at the Stars).

Brickell, who says she and Martin met at a dinner party in 1992, told me a little more via email about Love Has Come For You:

About two years ago, as we were exiting a restaurant, he asked me if I had ever considered singing in a group without drums. Our conversation was interrupted by the bustle of everyone leaving and saying their goodbyes, but it got me thinking. I saw him at a birthday party months later and felt brave enough to tell him how much I loved his music and if he ever wanted to make up a song together, it was my favorite thing to do.

Excited to work on a country album for the first time, Brickell tapped into her family history:

Wed Mar. 19, 2014 6:00 AM EDT
Sat Oct. 12, 2013 6:00 AM EDT
Thu Sep. 19, 2013 2:27 PM EDT
Mon Jul. 1, 2013 5:46 AM EDT
Fri Jun. 14, 2013 3:39 PM EDT
Mon Apr. 22, 2013 5:30 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 18, 2013 7:11 AM EST
Fri Feb. 8, 2013 7:42 PM EST
Sun Dec. 23, 2012 7:11 AM EST
Fri Nov. 9, 2012 10:18 PM EST
Wed Nov. 7, 2012 4:10 PM EST
Tue Nov. 6, 2012 7:52 PM EST
Mon Oct. 29, 2012 6:03 AM EDT
Wed Oct. 17, 2012 6:03 AM EDT
Wed Sep. 26, 2012 6:00 AM EDT
Mon Sep. 3, 2012 6:00 AM EDT
Tue Jun. 26, 2012 5:48 PM EDT
Tue May. 15, 2012 4:45 PM EDT
Tue Mar. 20, 2012 6:00 AM EDT
Mon Feb. 20, 2012 7:00 AM EST
Thu Feb. 2, 2012 6:10 AM EST
Mon Dec. 19, 2011 6:30 AM EST
Mon Dec. 5, 2011 7:00 AM EST
Wed Nov. 23, 2011 5:33 PM EST
Fri Oct. 28, 2011 6:48 PM EDT
Tue Jun. 28, 2011 8:49 PM EDT
Mon Jun. 20, 2011 6:20 AM EDT
Tue May. 24, 2011 1:00 PM EDT
Thu May. 19, 2011 7:00 PM EDT
Mon May. 9, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Thu Apr. 14, 2011 11:00 AM EDT
Mon Mar. 21, 2011 6:30 AM EDT
Fri Feb. 18, 2011 4:30 PM EST