Martin began playing banjo at age 17, and recently joked with reporters in New York that early in his career he opened a Manhattan night club picking away at the instrument but nobody turned out. On the second night he agreed to play for free, and when the club was empty again, the owner fired him.
"I thought if I don't do it now, my fingers might slow down or I might forget the songs," the 63-year-old Martin said about making "The Crow" with 15 original songs.
His friend Jon McEuen, a founding member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and producer of "The Crow," had a different take on Martin's abilities.
"The Opry audience will find out when Steve picks, that he's a musician disguised as an actor," said McEuen, who met Martin as a teenager when both worked at Disneyland in California.
McEuen also will perform songs from Martin's album at the Opry, alongside country stars including Vince Gill and Amy Grant.
Opry manager Pete Fisher said the venue was excited about the upcoming show. "Of course we've all been fans of (Martin's) work on stage, television and in film for years, but we've also been very impressed with his musicianship," Fisher said.
(Reporting Pat Harris; editing by Michael Conlon and Bob Tourtellotte)
COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2009. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.