by Valerie Clark
Marty Stuart turned forty last year; but, considering his early start and many accomplishments in this industry, you might assume that he would rest on past laurels. No, that would not be Marty Stuart! The dubbed Renaissance Man has so many talents and interests he is busier than ever pursuing each and every one almost daily.
I really dont know where I fit in the music business, he says. I just love to work.
Work he does.
He is so busy with three recording projects and the Grammy Awards that he hardly has time to breathe, much less conduct interview upon interview. Heres what Marty is currently up to:
What I want to do here is give you some insight into the extensive career of this man; please watch for our May issue for a featured update conversation with Marty which will fill in the most current information on all his projects.
The Marty Stuart story spans most of his life. In 1982, his first album, Busy Bee Cafe, was released. His record deal on Columbia produced the self-titled Marty Stuart with the top 20 hit Arlene; but fatefully, his second release Let There Be Country was shelved due to lack of response from his first album even though he was named the Academy of Country Musics Best New Male Vocalist.
In 1989, he moved to MCA Records and the success of Marty Stuart, Recording Artist, began. Hillbilly Rock, Tempted (with the hits Little Things Till I Found You and Burn Me Down), This Ones Gonna Hurt You (with the hit title cut with Travis Tritt), Love And Luck (which garnered a Grammy for Best Country Instrumental Performance for Marty Stuart Visits The Moon), The Marty Party Hit Pack (his Greatest Hits) and his last studio album (in 1996) Honky Tonkins What I Do Best (again, the title cut a successful Marty/Travis pairing)...all have been successful, with four of them going gold.
(Other releases include Let There Be Country, Marty Stuart: The Slim Rickey Sessions or, also released, as Marty Stuart: With A Little Help From My Friends andOnce Upon a Time).
As you can imagine, it is difficult to cover a career that spans almost thirty years; but, while reviewing Martys bio, I found a list of the many categories one might find him listed under in the Annals of American Music. Here is some of that list and the many accomplishments of Marty Stuart as they relate to each category.
Singer and Musician:
Martys career began at the early age of 12 when he played at festivals and churches with The Sullivans (a popular gospel/bluegrass group). By 13, he was asked to join Lester Flatts band and he played from 1972 to 1979 with Lester (until Lesters death). Taken under the wing of the legendary bluegrass king, Marty became an accomplished musician playing mandolin and guitar. He had a brief stint with various bands before settling in with The Man In Black, Johnny Cash, with whom he toured from 1980 to 1984.
In addition to his own discography, Marty has always been one to generously donate his talents to a variety of works. Heres a sampling.
As one can see, Martys diverse musical background has appeared over and over again. He seems comfortable with rhythm and blues, bluegrass, gospel, traditional country, rock n roll; you name it and Marty is there.
But, his mark has always been as a hillbilly honky tonkin rocker.
I really do love the honky tonk division
of country music. To me, thats the natural progression and stretch for
me to go. It has an edge to it and its a little rowdier. To tell you the
truth, I feel right at home with it, Marty described his musical place
in country music and music in general.
According to Marty, Country music is the language of America. Its common-people music. You know its accessible; its true-life blues. Its the kind of music you can play anywhere...
Well, you can find Marty Stuarts music just about anywhere. In addition to writing much of his own material for his extensive discography, Marty Stuarts songs appear on a long list of other artists albums. Heres a partial list:
Marty has won awards for his songwriting accomplishments including BMIs Millionaire Award (played a million times on radio) for Tempted, This Ones Gonna Hurt You and, most recently, last September, for Little Things.
Theatrical Composer and Author:
Marty has been involved in a theatrical production entitled Moonshine, as well as a recent movie release starring Woody Harrelson entitled Hi Lo Country where he was Executive Producer of Music and performed Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette on the soundtrack. Most recently he is involved in the Billy Bob Thornton movie, Daddy And Them that stars John Prine with Andy Griffith, Jim Varney and Laura Dern. One of the songs Marty and Connie co-wrote for her album is played during the movie. Marty is actively involved in the soundtrack for this production.
Martys extensive collection of photos he has taken of country music legends, superstars and hitmakers, including Tammy Wynette, Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, George Jones and others, has appeared at various exhibits including one in Nashville at the Arts Companys Avant Garage. The showing, last September, included an auction of Bill Monroes last photo session. Martys poetic nature seems in sync with the titles of his photographs: The Chicken Reel and Bill Monroe, Birds of a Feather Rock Together and Rocket Fuel, Hair Spray, The Same Three Chords and One More Town.
Collector and Historian:
Marty is known as an avid collector of country music memorabilia and owns guitars from legends such as his mentor, Johnny Cash. Last September, Mercury released a 10 CD boxed set of 225 recordings called The Complete Hank Williams. Marty is reported to be the owner of the largest privately owned collection of Hank memorabilia and many of the photos and masters owned by Marty are part of this boxed set.
Martys extensive Hank Williams, Sr. memorabilia have been on display at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.
Many people may become collectors of Marty
Memorabilia as he has had both Martin and Fender signature guitars bearing
his name. His Nudie style suits and Manuel designed clothes may also create
a demand for Marty Stuart memorabilia some day.
Martys acting debut was on the Steven Segal movie, Fire Down Below. In addition, he has many hosting credits for countless television specials and awards shows. In 1995, he hosted the TNN/ Music City News Country Awards. Currently, he is featured as a host for Century of Country Music Moments on TNN and was a primary interviewee for The History of Country Music (a 13 part series) on CBS.
Marty has had national Miller Beer commercials (in 1993) and for Mazda Truck (1996).
Producer and Executive:
Martys most recent projects, as producer, include wife, Connie Smiths, self-titled Warner release and his current project for Tammy and Jerry Sullivan. In addition, he has served as Musical Director and Executive Producer of Music for several film productions and television specials, including CBS specials in 1993 such as Best of Country and The Roots of Country Music: Nashville Celebrates The Ryman.
Entertainer and Raconteur:
Marty Stuart on stage is a memorable moment to experience. He has dates scheduled for The Grand Ole Opry and Fan Fair where you can catch him. His fan site lists his extensive tour schedule. (WHEN does he have time?)
His appearances were probably most memorable during the No Hats and Double Trouble tours with fellow hillbilly rocker and friend, Travis Tritt, and his extensive run of Marty Party, TNN features that gave country music fans a true taste of Marty Stuart, the entertainer extraordinaire.
As for raconteur, it is defined by Webster as an accomplished and witty storyteller. Marty Stuart tells a story with every song he writes, every photo he takes and each time he opens his mouth. That is best exemplified with the quote, I try to keep the right perspective. I keep my feet on the ground and remember what is important. Johnny Cash told me to keep my eye on the big picture, never sweat the small stuff. One of my favorite things to do is sit on the back porch, watch a new day begin and be part of it. It would seem he is a big part of it!
Nashvilles International Ambassador of Tourism:
Marty has been the Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureaus International Ambassador since 1993.
He has carried the city everywhere he goes. Hes been there every time weve needed him to help, said Major Phil Bredesen as he presented Marty with the Majors Metranome Award last year. The award was last presented over 12 years ago and it recognizes the music industrys contribution in promoting and helping Nashville.
THAT is Marty Stuart encapsulated. Look forward to more in May as we update all the latest Marty happenings.
Marty will headline The International Fan Club Organizations Fun Fest on Sunday, June 13th, to kick off 1999 Fan Fair week and will continue with a Monday Fan Club event and perform on the MCA label show on Tuesday. He will sign in his booth several days.
If you want to delve deeper into the Marty experience, check out his official site and related links at his fan club. The official Marty Party headquarters (his Fan Club) is located at www.martyparty.com or write to them at: The Marty Stuart Fan Club, P.O. Box 24180, Nashville, TN 37202.
Marty Stuart Personal Facts
Born: John Marty Stuart
Parents: John and Hilda Stuart
Siblings: Sister, Jennifer
Stats: 57, black hair, hazel eyes
Wife: Connie Smith
Pet: Oscar Lee Perkins, his devoted bloodhound
Current Residence: Nashville, TN
Interesting Facts Trivia
(The first three (3) people to submit correct answers, by mail, to our office will win a free CD)
1. Marty was suspended from school at age 12 for reading what magazine during history class? Country Song Roundup
2. Also at age 12, he met a lady who would influence his life greatly. Who is she? His present wife, Connie Smith.
3. In addition to mandolin and guitar, what other two instruments does Marty play? Bass & Fiddle
4. Marty joined The Grand Ole Opry in what year? 1992
5. Many know of Martys dog, Oscar Lee Perkins. Who was he named after? Comedy team Lonzo and Oscar (Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins)
6. Marty had a Marvel Comic Book written just about him. What was it called? The Marty Party in Space.
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