Cris Cohen: In anticipation of whoever may join in the future, what is it like to join this band?
Barrett Smith of Steep Canyon Rangers: It's really good to join this band. The band has what seems to me to be a unique, really natural, organic, family kind of thing. I don't think ‘wholesome’ is quite the right word. But there's a lot of goodness.
On the downside of joining this band, it can be a pretty steep learning curve. You're entering a culture that's really well-established that you're not a part of. It’s just mountains of inside jokes and subtle understandings of the way the organism operates.
And then musically, there's a lot to the music. In a way it's really complicated because it's highly arranged. If somebody sits down and teaches me one of these songs -- as they did -- they would say, “Oh, it's easy. You just have these chords. It's easy.” And then when I studied it myself, I was like, “Yeah, it has those chords in it, but they go this way in the first verse, and then you flip them around backwards in the second verse. You put a stop right here. And then in the third verse, it does the whole thing again, but no drums. And you do this little lick. And then the fourth time…”
It's just constant cues and more chords than they think. I think it was Mike Ashworth -- they were teaching me one of the songs -- and he was like, “It's like three chords and the truth… and then seven more chords.” That was funny.