David Grier can scarcely hide his excitement as he tells the story. A few days earlier, on a Saturday evening in July of 2007, the guitarist stood in for the late Charles Sawtelle during a reunion of the fabled bluegrass band Hot Rize. But this was no festival set or club date; the one-off gig was a private party in Beverly Hills.
Entertainer Steve Martin had invited 80 friends to dinner at his home, and only the band and a few attendees knew the real purpose: Martin’s “surprise” wedding to writer Anne Stringfield. The guest list was appropriately starry.
“So the guests start coming in,” Grier says, “and one of the first people through the door is Martin Mull. Martin Mull looks in my direction, like he recognizes me, and he comes right up. ‘You’re David Grier! I love your music!’ And I said, ‘Well, gee, thanks.’ And he says, ‘Please, you’ve got to do me a favor,’ and I’m thinking, well, maybe he wants me to get him an iced tea or something. Instead, he asks, ‘Please play that song that goes da-da-daa,’ and I realize he’s singing a song of mine called ‘King Wilkie’s Run.’ That was when I knew he meant it--he really knows my music, and he wasn’t just being polite….
“And that was the tone of it. Throughout the whole time, these people were so kind and so well mannered. I mean, here’s Tom Hanks, standing a few feet away, applauding whenever I take a solo! It was like a dream. A really wild dream.”
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