When an alien from the distant planet Hondo comes to Earth with a plan to destroy all civilization, he does what any Earth-invading alien would do: He joins a bluegrass band. That's the plot of the 2013 film The History of Future Folk, and it's every bit as delightfully campy as it sounds.
In the Smoky Mountains, where I grew up, bluegrass is a way of life. Every Friday night, about a mile from my house, an abandoned old schoolhouse becomes one big jam session, and sometimes, when the weather is nice, it moves outside under the stars with the moonlight casting shadows onto the red Tennessee dirt.
It's not always a good idea for famous people to make albums. Example: William Shatner. Alternate Example: Paris Hilton. But Steve Martin, who has always been sort of vaguely known for his banjo playing, has made roots music his priority in the last four or five years and is totally nailing it. His most recent album,…