What better way to spend an evening than with music legends?
The Steep Canyon Rangers, along with Sam Bush, flooded the Bijou Theatre with the sound of bluegrass Thursday night.
"We're excited to be here, it's been too long," Woody Platt, guitarist of the Steep Canyon Rangers, said.
They started the show off with "As I Go," a fast-paced song which got the crowd clapping and stomping along.
The Grammy award-winning band didn't miss a beat as they moved to an all-instrumental piece, which showcased the talents of mandolin player Mike Guggino. Once the cheers from the crowd calmed, the band switched to a more somber tune, "Bluer Words Were Never Spoken."
Midway through the show, the band welcomed to the stage Sam Bush, a fellow bluegrass musician. The band members spoke of the honor for them to be performing with Bush – a legend in the bluegrass community.
"It's great for me to share the stage with Sam Bush tonight," Guggino said.
Bush and the Steep Canyon Rangers came together to play a number of each other's music and even performed one of Bush's songs, "Girl from the North County," which was typically played by Bush alone. The musicians joked about narrowly avoiding a musical disaster, which was completely oblivious to the audience.
The unnoticeable mishap didn't affect the rest of the performance. The musicians kept the audience on their toes as they dished out complicated instrumental pieces. Bush and Guggino played together in an effortless mandolin duet. Bass player, Charles Humphrey III, dished out a bluesy bass solo. Bush even traded his mandolin for a fiddle and challenged Nicky Sanders, player for Steep Canyon Rangers, to a duel.
Bush's ability to shift from instrument to instrument prompted a question from banjo player, Graham Sharp.
"Which is harder Sam: fiddle or mandolin?"
To which Bush replied with a humorous, "yes."
After Bush exited the stage, the Steep Canyon Rangers continued to shock the audience with their musical abilities. Sanders was praised by the band as being "the best fiddler in North Carolina," as he gave an impressive fiddle solo, even losing a few strings during his performance. Michael Ashworth, a new member of the Steep Canyon Rangers, showed off his guitar skills as the other members harmonized in barbershop quartet fashion.
The Steep Canyon Rangers kept their performance fun and upbeat. With not one dull moment during the show, they had the audience's full attention and praise.
"There's no such thing as too much fun, y'all, this is great for us," Sharp said.
The band finished their set with "Auden's Train," and after a thunderous standing ovation, the Steep Canyon Rangers asked their audience, "You want more?"
Sam Bush rejoined the group on stage to play one last time. Together they played Bush's "Bringing in the Georgia Mail."
It, along with the rest of the night, gave Knoxville a heavy and thorough dose of bluegrass.