Steve Martin Awards Excellence in Bluegrass

September 20, 2010  |  2:46pm

Banjos don’t come cheap.

And true prowess in the art of bluegrass ain’t real common either, which is probably why actor/comedian/author/jack of all things Steve Martin has created the Steve Martin Prize for Excellence in Banjo and Bluegrass.

“A really good professional banjo can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 to $15,000, upwards to $50,000 and $100,000,” Martin told The New York Times. “They can be like Stradivariuses—some professional players are paying off their instruments by playing.”

The board determining the winner includes Martin, and other players like Earl Scruggs, Pete Wernick and Béla Fleck. The annually-dispersed award grants $50,000 to whomever the board selects.

The inaugural year’s award went to banjoist Noam Pikelny of The Punch Brothers.

In the meantime, Martin continues touring with his very own bluegrass outfit Steep Canyon Rangers. Oh, and he recently joined Twitter, very much to our continued amusement.

Watch Martin perform at the Grand Ole Opry:

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