Though he initially burst into the public consciousness as a comedian, Steve Martin has proven to be a renaissance man, trying his hand at ventures from books and films to music and succeeding at everything he touches. A serious banjo picker who's played alongside Tony Trischka and Earl Scruggs, Martin hasn't lacked for company. Here, he engages Edie Brickell—the singer who first gained fame with The New Bohemians back in the '80s—to write lyrics and sing melodies over his dexterous but never overdone picking. With old-school Peter Asher producing the album, the importance here is on getting the clearest and best sound possible. There are no unusual moves: just songs that sound as if they've come from the mountains of Appalachia. An occasional string section can be heard filling out the sound to the quick narrative of "Sarah Jane and the Iron Mountain Baby" and the similarly alluring "When You Get to Asheville." "Fighter," "King of Boys," and "Remember Me This Way" bring in a full band for a deeper sound that's a sweet relief to the more skeletal arrangements.