Ah, the banjo: As the only instrument rated and certified for the art of duelin’, it’s not often that we consider the humble dirtfiddle an especially relaxing musical tool—the work of noted master Kermit T. Frog notwithstanding. And yet, it’s Mr. Frog’s former co-star (and noted funnyman) Steve Martin who has reminded us that the same banjo responsible for so many deaths, in so many Ken Burns documentaries, can also be a tool to soothe a weary heart.
Martin posted the above “Banjo balm” video to Twitter earlier today; there’s no words, just the plinkety-plonk of a man who has devoted his life to an absolutely exceptional amount of hours of playing the banjo. Technically impressive, sonically calming, and not even kind of reminiscent of being murdered in the woods while hanging out with Ned Beatty, the video is a reminder that the banjo can heal, as well as harm. In a time when many celebrities are offering their musical talents to a world trapped in their homes, having Martin gently offer up his stylings, completely sans ego, is a real panacea.
What’s that? You hate the fucking banjo, no matter who’s playing it? Well, fine: Have this video of Sam Neill playing the ukulele, instead. (Neill’s a damn good Twitter follow anyway, of course.)