Redstone Room, Davenport, IA on February 15, 2007
Marty Stuart played to a packed Redstone Room in a rare solo appearance. Marty said early on in the show that this was only the third time in his career that he ever played to an audience without a band. Although many artists nowadays are opting for acoustic-only performances (to somewhat more mature audiences in the more intimate venues), Marty played songs not only on acoustic guitar, but also accompanied himself on electric guitar and electric mandolin, as well.
Marty opened the show with "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain" from the concept album, The Pilgrim. Marty showed the audience right away he wasn't afraid to display his virtuoso lead guitar skills, and employ more than a bit of reverb affect, too. Next were a couple of gospel and blues numbers whereby Marty was able to loosen up a bit and take the pulse of the acoustically superior room while he played. The original "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' Anymore" was next and worked well to loosen up the crowd, and many joined the star and sang on the chorus. Next was the perennial favorite, "Rock Island Line", spiced up with a reference to 'pig iron' floating down the Mississippi River on barges (after all, this was the Quad Cities!) I hear from other Marty Stuart fans around the country that Marty always takes an opportunity to patronize the history of the locale where he is playing during this song, changing some of the lyrics around, but that's another story!
Marty switched to his acoustic Martin guitar. He interspersed his playing all night with personal stories from the music biz, and at this point, before he played "Walls Of a Prison" from the Country Music CD, he talked a little bit about once meeting Ringo Starr and how he had told Marty how much the Beatles loved American country music (no doubt!) Then came a recollection about Marty's late friend and neighbor, Johnny Cash, and he played an unreleased tune he wrote about the great country music legend, called "Dark Bird". It was an uneven, laconic lament, its soulfulness was overwhelming. The man and his music obviously had a profound effect on our favorite star.
Marty then switched to electric mandolin, the aged, black one with all the scratches and nicks of the past thirty years on it, and soloed away to his heart's content, finally breaking in with vocals for "High On A Mountain Top., "Tip Top Mississippi Blues" and "My Last Days" (by Bill Monroe) were delightful to hear, as Marty kept up a steady bluegrass upbeat tempo, and wandered from end to end of the fretboard on the instrument that made him famous. Marty's playing and singing here more than adequately covered for the lack of a backing band, as it did all night. When playing bluegrass, in fact, Marty is at his most comfortable and becomes a truly stellar performer.
Marty then switched back to electric guitar again, his standby tobacco-sunburst Telecaster with the red pick guard, and we enjoyed a folk infused version of "Are You Ready For the Country." Marty next spoke eloquently about his experience traveling up to South Dakota and encountering the home of the Lakota Sioux tribe for the very first time, and treated us to "Badlands" and "Wounded Knee" from his tribute to the Indian Wars CD (Badlands) of a few years ago. For Marty, this is one issue he feels deeply compelled to keep alive, and one could not help but be touched by his story.
Marty followed with the hit "Tempted", and encored with "That's Country", a redux version of "High On A Mountain Top" and finally, the very well-received ballad, "Farmer's Blues". By then, the audience were scrunched up to the edge of the stage, and afterwards Marty shook hands, signed autographs and took pictures with Many fans.
Review by Neal Sears
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