Few musicians are playing professionally with the best of bands before they become a teen, but Marty Stuart had played with the Sullivans at age 12, and by 13, he was a member of the Lester Flatt band. At 15, he took over Roland White's mandolin spot in the band when Roland retired. He stayed with the Lester Flatt band another five years until it disbanded due to Flatt's ill health.
Stuart's next step was playing with the Watsons, Doc and Merle. In 1979, he joined Johnny Cash's band and played with it for six years. During that time, he recorded Busy Bee Cafe, his solo debut album that was released on the Sugar Hill label. He put together an awesome backup for the effort: Johnny Cash, the Watsons, Earl Scruggs, Jerry Douglas, and Carl Jackson. The album led to his signing with Columbia Records.
In 1989, he switched his label to MCA. His foundation well laid, Stuart went for a full-time solo career in 1985. A Hillybilly Crusader, he had a strong reverence for the masters of country music who came before him. He fused his love of bluegrass with honky tonk and rockabilly, never loosing the flavor of country music. Over the next 15 years, he recorded a dozen albums of his own and appeared on over 80 albums with the best-known names in country music. Songs he wrote appear on over 40 more albums. Flamboyant and talented, Stuart has picked up two Grammy's, produced dozens of top hits, and provided a honky tonk legacy for the future.