Founding Member Woody Platt Leaving Steep Canyon Rangers
Steep Canyon Rangers perform at FreshGrass | Bentonville in 2021, with Woody Platt on guitar at right. (Photo by Douglas Mason)
Western North Carolina-based modern bluegrassers Steep Canyon Rangers announced today that singer, guitarist, and songwriter Woody Platt is leaving the band after 23 years.
The moves comes from a desire to step away from touring and stay closer to home, according to a press release from the band’s label, Yep Roc, and social media announcements. Though he will be playing his final shows with the band “over the next few months.”
“Being a Steep Canyon Ranger has been one of the highlights of my life,” Platt says in the press release. “I was so fortunate to meet a few wonderful friends in college while simultaneously reconnecting with childhood friends and together, from the ground up, we built something truly special! It’s been an honor and absolute joy to be a member of this band — I’m incredibly excited to see what gold lies ahead for my brothers in music, the Steep Canyon Rangers!”
No replacement for Platt has been mentioned, though with other members of the Steep Canyon Rangers routinely singing, songwriting, and playing guitar all along, that may not be needed.
“We love Woody and owe him a massive debt for all the work he’s put in, both on the stage and behind the scenes,” the band said in an Instagram post. “A lot of you who follow the band have had the chance to get to know him, so you know that there’s not a finer person to be found. It’s been a true honor to share all these times with Woody; it seems like we’ve done it all and done it all together. We know this comes as a great surprise to many of you; please know that SCR is not slowing down. We have a new album in the works and a truly renewed spirit as we look ahead. It won’t be the same without him, but change and growth is the name of the game, collectively and individually.”
The post ends with a nod to Platt’s well-known love for the outdoors: “Trout of the world be warned: Woody’s coming for you.” (Platt went fly fishing with writer Kim Ruehl in 2019 for a story in our Fall 2019 “Wellness” journal.)
View this post on Instagram
With Platt, the band has released 13 studio albums, including 2013’s Nobody Knows You, which won a Grammy for Best Bluegrass Album, and their latest album, 2020’s Arm in Arm (ND review). They’ve become widely known even outside of roots music circles from their partnership with actor, comedian, and banjoist Steve Martin, with whom they’ve released three albums. Steep Canyon Rangers has toured with the live comedy and music shows of Martin and his comedic partner Martin Short several times over the last decade, in addition to the band’s own extensive tours.
The band, including Platt, is currently in the studio recording a single to be released next month, according to the press release.