The Best of Marty Stuart

Universal Music Enterprises

Universal Music Enterprises

December 18, 2001

Marty Stuart is proof that it's possible to succeed performing contemporary country without neglecting country's roots. Freely mixing originals with traditional favorites, the singer-songwriter-instrumentalist has helped introduce the latter to new audiences and along the way earned four gold albums, numerous awards and six Top 10 country hits for his bluegrass-inspired honky tonk.

His 12 greatest hits, digitally remastered, are heard on his most complete retrospective to date, The Best Of Marty Stuart edition of "20th Century Masters/The Millennium Collection'' (MCA/UME), released January 8, 2002. 11 tracks scored Top 30 country, including a duet with Travis Tritt.

Stuart was recruited as a 13-year-old mandolinist by Lester Flatt for his Nashville Grass in 1972. After years as a sideman with Flatt and then Johnny Cash, he inked his first major label deal in 1985 but the resulting album failed. In 1989, he joined MCA and the next year Hillbilly Rock landed him his first Top 10 with the title track and included the Top 20 "Western Girls.''

Tempted in 1991 broadened his commercial exposure as the title song, "Little Things'' and "Burn Me Down'' hit the Top 10 while "Till I Found You'' went Top 20. That year, Stuart teamed with another charismatic performer, Tritt, on the Grammy-winning, #2 hit "The Whiskey Ain't Workin''' (not included on The Best Of Marty Stuart). 1992's This One's Gonna Hurt You embraced a Top 20 with "Now That's Country,'' Top 30 with the traditional "High On A Mountain Top'' and second Top 10 duet with Tritt on "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time).''

Satirizing the slew of young, Stetson-wearing hot country singers as "Hat Acts,'' Marty and Travis then embarked on their No Hats Tour. "Hillbilly Rock,'' "Tempted'' and "This One's Gonna Hurt You'' meanwhile went gold. "Kiss Me, I'm Gone'' from 1994's Love And Luck reached the Top 30 and he won a Grammy for his playing on Asleep At The Wheel's Bob Wills tribute album. After his 1995 Marty Party Hit Pack collection went gold, he and Tritt reunited the next year for "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best'' (not included here) again Top 30, as was the solo "You Can't Stop Love,'' both from the aptly-titled Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best. The 1999 story/concept album, The Pilgrim, that followed crescendo-ed with the epic track ``The Pilgrim (Act III).'' In 2001, he produced actor Billy Bob Thornton's debut, Private Radio, and penned the soundtrack for All The Pretty Horses.

The Best Of Marty Stuart is a tip of the hat to country's hillbilly rocker.

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