Yes, this is a feature on Steve Martin – the comedian known as one of the Three Amigos, Inspector Clouseau in The Pink Panther movies and from “Saturday Night Live.” While it would natural to think we’re talking about his cinematic relevance, this article is about his hobby: bluegrass music.

Martin’s album, The Crow: New Songs for the 5 String Banjo, is a great introduction to the genre. When Martin appeared on “American Idol” last season, it was a small but notable hint that perhaps bluegrass music could be inducted into popular music today.

“I have heard that my appearances on television have introduced bluegrass to more people, and that’s something that happens, you know, every 10 or 20 years. Then the banjo sort of retires for another decade, and then somebody else does it. I’m sort of that guy right now,” says Martin. “I’m happy to do it because this music is great, these musicians are great and bluegrass has never been in a better state.”

Country stars like Vince Gill and Dolly Parton guest on Crow.

Martin shares: “There’s a real thrill when I’m hearing Dolly and Vince, Tim O’Brien and Mary Black sing. The great thing was, I never felt like they were doing it because of me. They actually liked the song. And that was a real thrill, too.”

Though Martin has played the banjo for the past 45 years, it was only six years ago that he was encouraged to share the songs on record. He teamed with longtime friend and founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, John McEuen.

“[McEuen] has powers of persuasion, and he also has a great ear. He understands my music, that it’s bluegrass but also dramatic. He knows how to bring the drama and the music out,” Martin says.

The result is a showcase of Martin’s gift of writing married with approachable bluegrass arrangements. The 14 songs include little anecdotes on how they were conceived and of Martin’s first exposure to the banjo. The Crow is not only a smooth listen, but will expand your musical horizons.