Comic Steve Martin is associated with many things - slapstick turns on "Saturday Night Live," funny films like "The Jerk" - but professional banjo musician? Apparently that's another line he can add to his impressive resume with the recent release of "The Crow: New Songs for the Five String Banjo." The CD contains collaborations with many musicians, chief among them Irish singer/songwriter Mary Black, whose music Martin has admired for many years. So taken is Martin with Black's work that he penned a song for her to record, and it's included on "The Crow." The singer told The Times of London that she was amazed when she first heard word Martin wanted to work together. "I was totally blown away. He named lots of my early records and said he'd love to work with me," Black said. Once she discovered that Martin was a serious musician intent on making a serious album, Black readily agreed to come on board. The result is the song "Calico Train." "It had a country, folky feel and I felt I could put my mark on it, so I agreed," she said. "Steve was really excited." Martin traveled to Dublin in December - via his private jet - to record the song with Black. Then the new friends unwound in a bar called the Cobblestone, which is apparently famous for Irish traditional music sessions. Martin joined the craic with his banjo and had a great time. "We only stayed for about an hour and a half," said Black. "By the time people realized who he was, we were leaving, so he didn't get hassled too much."
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Root vegetable and squash soup with cheese soda bread recipes