#70) “Patience and Humor”

September 21st, 2010

That was what 67-year-old Maine lobster fisherman Stevie Robbins told us he learned from his father during our radio interview two weeks ago. My 86-year-old mother heard him say that and has been repeating it to me ever since. Clearly it resonated with her years of knowledge and experience.

Stevie is going to be the star of the show tomorrow night here at the University of Maine’s Collins Art Center. During that interview, he also told us about one time when he said to his father, “Pa, my head hurts when I shake it. What should I do?” His father replied, “Don’t shake it.”

That’s Downeast logic for you.



John McEuen is the shiznitters. In 1966 he was a co-founder of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with whom he still performs. He also went to high school with Steve Martin, learned to play banjo with him, and last year produced his album of original banjo tunes, “The Crow.” I had dinner with John one night when he was in the middle of recording sessions for the album. He said, “Steve is the Charlie Chaplin of our era,” referring to the fact that few people appreciate that Chaplin was, in addition to being a comic genius, also a gifted composer and songwriter. The same is true of Steve Martin’s musical talents as you can tell by listening to his album. As John says (and he should know), Steve is the real deal when it comes to banjo. (btw, how many people would be able to recognize Jerry Garcia from this picture?)



We’ve arranged a truly amazing last minute addition to the show. The ads have all announced there will be “surprise musical guests.” Which refers to the Robbins brothers who are not only the lobster fishermen stars of the film, “Salt of the Earth” that we will be screening for it’s nearly 20 year anniversary, but also are excellent guitarists. But there’s more.

We’re bringing in John McEuen, the co-founder of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, a living legend of country music, and recipient of a Grammy this year for his work in producing Steve Martin’s album of original banjo tunes, “The Crow.” John did the music score for my movie, “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy,” and is a good friend. He’ll be on the stage tomorrow night giving the Robbins brothers an incredible treat by adding his banjo to their guitars. I can’t wait to see it. It’s going to be an amazing night — as is fitting for the Robbins brothers, given how much wisdom they shared with me nearly 20 years ago when I set off on the longest journey of my life.

Tell your friends in New England to join the festivities. They won’t be disappointed.


UPDATE: Here’s a nice little interview the Bangor Daily News just ran about the events this week