Marty Stuart

Paleo Retiree writes:

I’m pretty sure I’d never heard of Marty Stuart until very recently, but in the last month I’ve become a huge fan.

Stuart is a country-western singer/songwriter/performer/photographer in the keeper-of-the-flame mode, and I think he’s terrific. He makes recordings, hosts a TV show, takes photos and does a generally great job of promoting traditional country-music entertainment values: soul, down-home unpretentiousness, courtliness ‘n’ congeniality. Though all the elements and trappings are lovingly in place — the cornpone humor, the hollers and whoops, the storytelling and rhymes, the familiar bundle of sounds (chicken scratches, twangs, close harmonies, etc), the glittering outfits, the themes (home, trains, temptation) — there’s nothing studied, meta or po-mo about his approach. Country music is a performance form to be respected and enjoyed, not mocked or dealt with ironically. His work is all about authenticity in the feelings and the experience — an early wife of Stuart’s was one of Johnny Cash’s daughters, and his current wife is the legendary Connie Smith, and if that ain’t country … — and I find it hard to resist the exuberant, un-slick, bar-band/dance-floor, honky-tonk/gospel pleasures he and his fantastic band The Fabulous Superlatives (Kenny Vaughan, Harry Stinson and Paul Martin) regularly deliver.

The spirits and echoes of Hank, Buddy, Porter, Buck, Merle, Johnny and early Elvis are never far away, but Marty and the boys have a sizable and distinctive contribution of their own to make. I’d love to see them live.

Here’s a little taste of their work:


  • On my other blog I wrote about a couple of other great country-music performers, Delbert McClinton and Townes Van Zandt.
  • I had a good time assembling — dare I say curating? — this playlist of highlights from Marty’s show. Just because I was in the mood, I also threw in some tracks by Patty Loveless, a Nashville songbird I’ve been enjoying recently, as well as a few numbers by a smokin’ small band led by Fabulous Superlative Kenny Vaughan. Be warned: If you make some claims to playing guitar yourself, abandon them now.
  • Marty Stuart’s website. Check out the band’s concert schedule.

About Paleo Retiree

Onetime media flunky and movie buff and very glad to have left that mess behind. Formerly Michael Blowhard of the cultureblog Now a rootless parasite and bon vivant on a quest to find the perfectly-crafted artisanal cocktail.
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13 Responses to Marty Stuart

  1. Will S. says:

    Reblogged this on Will S.' Sunny Side Blog and commented:
    Hear, hear!

    Marty Stuart has been around long enough to even establish credibility with the Nashville-hating ‘outlaw country’ crowd, who love him just as much as mainstream country radio does. That’s impressive; it speaks to his talent and indeed authenticity, that he can have a truly diverse* fan base. (*I of course mean ‘diverse’ in its true, original sense, i.e. to refer to different groups of people who are usually fairly different from each other in terms of how they think, what they like, etc.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gwbled says:

    His wife, Connie Smith, is no slouch either.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brian Fletcher says:

    Years ago, I saw an old 1970’s rebroadcast of the Porter Waggoner show. He was playing bluegrass mandolin with Lester Flatt. I believe he was only 15 at the time and he could get it done way back then. It may be on YouTube.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. JV says:

    Marty Stuart is great. Country music is great. It’s funny that almost all my old musician friends from our punk rock days in the 80s and early 90s have gravitated towards playing country now that we’re in our 40s, myself included. There’s definitely a kinship between punk and country, and even some hybrid genres like cowpunk, psychobilly (yes that’s an actual thing, ha) and the very large alt-country scene. The through line between those genres is the stripped down authenticity of the music, I think, and some similar lyrical subject matter (stickin’ it to the Man, mostly). Only with country, you can grow with it as the music accommodates and even demands some proficiency on your instrument and the lyrics deal with adult subject matter in a mature and bemused way.

    There’s a vibrant country music scene here in the Sacramento area and I’ve been playing in a couple bands. The main difference between playing rocks shows and playing country shows is that the country audience is very appreciative and there to have a good time. They’ll be dancing and whooping it up, and in between sets will buy the band a few rounds. It’s a lot of fun and SO much different than all those sullen rock crowds I’ve played in front of the past 20+ years who just stand motionless while glaring at you.

    A little plug: here’s a honky tonk band I’ve been playing with the past 6 months or so, this is from my first gig with them. That’s me on the drums:

    Yee haw!


    • Neat, thanks for posting. I started learning bass with my late brother’s bluegrass band, oh about 5 years ago. It was great fun, though I’m not a bluegrass listener. And great audiences, like you say.


  5. bob sacamano says:

    Sturgill Stimson. If you like classic country especially outlaw country, this guy is the real deal. Truly, truly brilliant.


  6. bob sacamano says:

    Typo. Sturgill Simpson.


    • JV says:

      Yes! I saw him at a small club in Sacramento earlier this year, right before he kind of took off. Best show I’ve seen in years. Great songs, great voice, and man his band is good. Particularly the lead guitarist. Great blend of classic country sound and non-typical lyrical subject matter (Buddha and DMT!).


      • bob sacamano says:

        Yeah, his lead guitarist is from deep in the heart of… Estonia.

        Sturgill is a total badass. 36 years old and just breaking big.


  7. Marc Pisco says:

    “Tempted” is a heck of a tune but it’s not country, it’s early Marshall Crenshaw.

    N.B. If there’s anything the world needs even more than an affordable reissue of the CB550, it’s more early Marshall Crenshaw.


  8. Faze says:

    Marc Pisco I’m with you all the way.


  9. Pingback: Music Du Jour | Uncouth Reflections

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