Interview - House of Blues

Here is the transcript of the interview Marty gave to Al Torres at the House of Blues on February 25, 2000.

Al: Hey everybody, welcome to hob I’m Albert Torres and we are in our studio in Los Angeles. Lucky enough to have the great Marty Stuart with us here today. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your day to come in and talk with us. We really do appreciate it.

Marty: My pleasure.

Al: So we've seemed to have caught up with you at a very transitional time in your career. MCA Records is now a thing in the past for you, right? Are you disappointed at all with the label? A label you’ve been with for so long and you produced so many great albums and high-selling albums and now all of a sudden, the contract's gone?

Marty: Well not necessarily because you know you kinda figure it in 10-year increments, especially in Nashville. Nashville usually does it.......check the history books. It's about 10 years. The pendulum always does this. It goes to traditional kind of country music and then all of a sudden we start having hits and then all of a sudden we get confused and think we’re pop stars and things kinda get nuts. When you turn on country radio, you really can’t tell if you’re listening to an oldies station, a pop station, or a country music station. So, I figured I had one record left at MCA and I did a record called “The Pilgrim” which absolutely slayed any kind of rules and regulations of the modern sounds of country music, for the most part. It started with the roots kinda sounds of country music where I first start with bluegrass all the way up to the rockin’ edge of the country music we do today. And so it didn’t sell that well. The critics were very kind to me. So I consider it was a critical record and so when it was time, I knew that either MCA would drop me or I would drop them one [or the other]. We mutually dropped. We still love each other. Let's rock and roll.

Al: Speaking of “The Pilgrim,” there’s something very special about that record, I think in that it’s wrapped around this tragic story. What was it about that story that moved you to build an entire album around?

Marty: Well there was this guy in the hometown named Cross-eyed Norman, which was kinda his nickname. What was that character in “Psycho”?

Al: Norman Bates

Marty: That’s right, Norman. Kinda same vibes, you know. I used to sit by this guy at church and just kinda looked at his eyes. He was a strange guy. And nobody wanted much to do with him, but I liked him because he was kinda weird and he was kinda, you know, from the other side of the tracks. And so he was always real kind to me. He was kind to my sister. And so Norman was this kind of guy.....and on the other side of town there was this girl named Freda, who was like the prettiest girl in town like, you know, she would win all these beauty pageants. Everybody kinda thought she’d go and be Miss Mississippi or Miss America. But she really had a wild streak in her. And cut loose and kinda show her parents who was boss, she married Cross-eyed Norman and everybody in town went “what???” This ain’t quite right. And it didn’t last very long. And so Norman started kinda getting crazy and possessive and jealous and Freda had enough of that in a little bit of time, so she started flirting with this guy that she worked with at the hospital and she’d take her wedding ring off. And this guy was in love with her. He wanted to marry her, but she never would commit. Nothing had gone down yet. And so Norman comes in one night — no wife and he got his pistol and he wrote her a letter and he went looking for her all over town. And he found her sitting at the hospital in the breakroom with this guy and they were laughing and telling jokes and whatever. And so he went off. And the guy stood up to take him out and pop him, you know because he was calling Freda names. And so Freda finally had to say, “You gotta back down. This is my husband.” And he says “Whoa, you forgot to tell me that. That's a little glitch we overlooked here." And the guy told Norman, “I had no idea that she was married. I give you my word. If you’ll just walk out here peacefully, put that gun in your pocket and walk out of here peacefully, I’ll never as much as speak to her again.” But Norman wouldn't adhere to it. And so the way it wound up, he said, “Baby, I'm gonna show you how much I love you.” And everybody thought he was going to kill her. But he killed himself.

Al: Right there in the breakroom.

Marty: In the breakroom in front of everybody. And so here stands this guy that I named The Pilgrim, guilty of nothing but loving this lady he didn’t know was married. And I thought, “man, that's a pretty good song.” And so what went on was he threw in his life. He went to Memphis and became a drunk and became a hobo and hitchhiked all the way back out here to the west coat. The drink-and-ride program. Just couldn't get this woman off his mind. He was going to come out here and down himself in the Pacific Ocean. His mother was buried in Oildale by Bakersfield. So he was going to come out and just like go to his mom's grave, say goodbye and go kill himself in the ocean. And before he did that, he called Freda. He wanted to hear her voice one more time and she begged him to come home. So he did. And now they're happily married and a hillbilly band made a record about ‘em. So I thought it was a pretty cool song and one night I was out here--I’d been sent here by MCA to talk to Mike Nichols when was doing “Primary Colors” about doing some music and at dinner, something was going on in the nation at that time that was a tragedy and I told that story at dinner and I thought, "Yeah, that's a song." And I went back to the hotel that night and the more I thought about it, I thought “No, this is story. It's like an opera." And so I basically turned it into like a 50 or 60 minute journey, whatever the record is. But I also put like country music’s journey underneath it too because it starts with like bluegrass and mountain sounds and goes all the way through. And so, it's a pretty cool story.

Al: It really is. And knowing the history of it, it makes it even more...

Marty: Well it makes sense.

Al: Another element of this record, I think, that I've read was the death of your friend Bill Monroe. How did that affect the actual writing of these songs and the putting together of the cohesiveness of the album?

Marty: Well before the record was even any part of a know, it’s incredible how much difference there is in Nashville and Memphis. They’re only 200 miles apart, but Memphis and Nashville are like totally different planets. And in Memphis, you know, I’m originally from Mississippi so I think there was a whole lot of Memphis vibes that got inside me when I was a kid. From hearing the soul music, rockabilly music that came out of there was's a soulful town and Memphis hasn’t had a hit in a long time. But when you go down there and you walk down Beale Street and hear Ma Rainey and you hear Robert Johnson and you hear B.B. King and Elvis Presley and Al Green come out of these storefronts that are selling souvenirs, you get to feeling that they don't really care about having a hit. It’s all about feeling. And in Nashville, it’s very corporate and very hit-oriented. And sometimes it gets so structured in Nashville that you kinda lose sight of the soul and you get to chasin’ charts and all that stuff. So to begin this album, I went to Memphis and booked two days at Sun Studios. When the tours are over at night, you can book it for 60 bucks a hour. So I called my buddy, Mark Bells said “Mark, need a couple nights at Sun.” Didn’t even have song. I just took my band down there. We plugged in and just let magic occur. And Memphis does have a magic about it. So I get this call on the second day that Bill Monroe had died. And Bill Monroe was the first live concert I ever saw. He really was a guy that was a mentor to me in a way. And I was 12 years old and I went to that show and I saw him and he says, “hey,” and I got his autograph. Back then, you know, country musicians usually sell their records and stuff off a table in the back after the concert. You can go back and meet ‘em and back in those days and take it backstage and get the band members to sign. So, I had Mr. Monroe sign the record and I told him, I looked up at him and I said, “I’m a mandolin player, too.” And he reached inside of his pocket and he handed his mandolin pick and he says, “When you go home, learn how to use this.” And, man, that was like having Kryptonite in my pocket. I took it to school with me, I mean, that was just it. So the old man had been a part of my life since then. And I get this call down at Sun Records that Monroe had died and I’d been expecting it. And I called time-out from the session and I took a walk around the backstreets of Memphis and I thought “you know, I’ve just really got to get a hold on this.” I tried to cry and I couldn’t cry, I tried to pray, couldn’t pray, couldn’t dance. And all of a sudden out of nowhere, I thought, “that old man was really a good traveler. He was a great road warrior." And the words, God just handed them to me, said, “I am a lonesome Pilgrim, far from home. And what a journey I have known. I might be tired and weary , but I am strong, Pilgrims walk, but not alone.” And I wrote another verse and went to the studio and played the band the song one time and we turned off the lights in the studio and recorded the song in the dark. And went.... in one take.

Al: Is that the version that is on the album?

Marty: No. It was actually the demo and then I went home and played at his funeral. For two years, that was the only song I had. I KNEW that that was the right title. I knew that was the right song. And I finally found a story that actually went along with it.

Al: Right, WOW, that’s amazing actually. You mentioned something a little earlier about how the album, when it first came out, it wasn’t........ radio programmers didn’t immediately embrace it. Why do you think that is? And does that bother you. Does it upset you any?

Marty: Well, it doesn’t upset me because, you know, you just kinda have to understand what’s going on out there right now. There’s this great journalist in Nashville who’s like kind of a cutting-edge journalist who.....I love his point of view. He always plays the part of the Devil’s Advocate in Nashville. You know, where the hype machine comes out. And right now country music’s into a thing you know, it’s signing 12-year olds, and I understand there's a little boy who’s like 11 years old that’s just been signed at Sony who‘s probably brilliant and they are going to release TWO records on him at once and they put five record producers on him or something like that. And Charles Earle is this journalist’s name and he says, “So what’s next? Are we going to stand by the sperm bank and wait for eggs to hatch?” Country music to me is absolutely about that. The coolest thing about country music is it’s like rock and roll It’s always had something for everybody -- from fiddle music to dancin' music to western swing, to country blues to rock and roll to the crooners, to George Jones' drinkin' honky tonk music. Country music has always had an entire span of cool things like that. But right now it’s just real lopsided into this disposable teenybopper kind of thing. And you know, country music in truth is like the blues. It is true-life blues. That’s what makes country music great. That’s what makes it a great art form, it's what makes it a great product that’s fun on Saturday night. But it also relates to common man and common woman's experience. It's true-life blues. And so when the record programmers didn’t exactly pick on the story of “The Pilgrim,” I understood that. There was a couple of songs that I thought were worthy of it. But, hey, I've been in and out of style so many times that I’ve lost track, and this happens to be one of those times. That the record company didn’t get behind it. They should have been arrested for murder for this record because they committed murder with this record. But it goes on. No big deal, there's always another one.

Al: Does that commercial potential ever infiltrate in your songwriting? When you're sitting down to write a song does the thought, “man, is this song going to make it on the radio?”

Marty: Well I like.......sure it does. But I like what Hank Williams said. He said, “I don't write ‘em. God writes ‘em, hoss, I just hang on to the pen.” But, I tell you, there's different ways of commerical........there’s really different ways of judging commercial success. I mean, there is nothing like going to the mailbox and picking up a big, fat BMI check. That’s cool. But, pardon me for name dropping, Bob....But Bob Dylan and I hung out for an evening back in Nashville when he came through to play and there’s a song on this record called “The Observations of a Crow.” And the fact that Bob Dylan will sit there and acknowledge that he knew that song, liked the song and quoted me about half of it....... that did more for me than hearing it on any kind of radio station. I mean, that’s the kind of acceptance that money can’t buy.

Al: What about physical acclaim? The press and whatnot.

Marty: This is a critic’s album. I've always been guilty of playing to critics sometimes. You know, because I think critics are important sometimes. Some of them are out of balance, some are in balance, the same as the music. It’s just an opinion. But, I guess the ultimate critical acclaim is the money in the bank that the record makes, but, beyond all of that, what this place was founded on, you know, the pride that this was founded on, the integrity and the sweat and the tears that this kind of music is founded on, is the same kind of music that country music was founded on. And rock and roll and jazz and gospel music and so you know, I think to me the ultimate form of flattery is when it touches a heart, that's when it changes a life, when you know exactly where you were standing the first time you heard “Jumpin Jack Flash” or whatever song or Elmore James or whatever, you know. That’s the ultimate critical acclaim is when when a person walks up to you and says, “Hey man, you changed my life with one of your songs.”

Al: That makes it all worth it. That’s why you’re there. That’s interesting. I think a lot of fans when they listen to songs of the artists that they really like, they feel like they’re getting an insight into your personal life. Is that something -- do you think that you reveal much of yourself?

Marty: "The Pilgrim" record revealed a whole lot because, you know, the third tier, you know we talked about the story in country music and the other part of that business--third line on that album, in my opinion, was my journey 'cause, you know, I started on the road when I was 12 years old. Playing little Pentecostal churches and George Wallace campaign rallies and then I got a job at the Grand Ole Opry with Lester Flatt. And then from there, it was Doc Watson, and then Johnny Cash and people like that. So, I mean, I really wanted to trace my journey too. And absolutely, you‘ve got, you’ve got to keep your journey in mind.

Al: Is that a key to having personal satisfaction, is being honest and open with your songs about your life.

Marty: Well, absolutely, I mean, you know, it’s like the...once again back to country music and blues music, you know. That’s one of the things that is so important about it to me is that it’s when you have enough guts and you're hurtin' or you’re happy enough, whatever the emotion is, to let somebody in on your heart. I mean, that’s really special. Aretha Franklin made a great statement one time. She said, "Every time I sing, I close my eyes and I stick my hand out and hope somebody takes it.” And, man, that’s a sweet statement. It is. And Hank Williams songs.......I mean, the reason that Hank Williams made such good music to me is because he shared his pain with everybody. And you know, he gave you a peek behind the curtain and he said it in a way that, I think, and the nation was going through a thing at that time and Dylan once said “A genius is really nothing more than an antenna on society.” And every now and then, a writer or a singer comes along that just has that kind of common emotion that we can all relate to.

Al: That's amazing. I recently read a quote from another interview you did a few months ago where you said, “When it comes time to take the stage with my band, they take pride in being good musicians and that’s something I haven’t seen in country bands a lot lately. There’s not a band spirit that lives in the air inside country music right now.” Why do you think that’s true?

Marty: I don’t know. I don’t know, because you know, remember that song “Nashville Cats, clean as country water.” It was always about pickers in Nashville. You went to Nashville to pick. And as far as, you know, pickin’ artists these days, I think there’s a young guy named Brad Paisley that plays pretty good. Steve Wariner plays, Vince Gill’s a great player. Ricky Skaggs is a master player. But picker / singer kind of guys, and Glen Campbell was a great one. You know, they just don’t exist the way they used to. I don’t know why, it’s more about the jeans and the package and, you know, the whole thing. But, in country music, it was always once again paralleling rock and roll or jazz bands. Merle Haggard’s band, The Strangers, I mean, that was half of Haggard's deal was his sound, you know. Johnny Cash and the Tennessee Three, Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours, Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs and the Foggy Mountain Boys, Roy Acuff and the Smoky Mountain Boys, I mean, it was really......Buck Owens and the Buckaroos. It was a very “bandstand-oriented music. And now, it’s, you know, like I said, it’s more of just about the singer, the song, get them in and get ‘em out and take the money and dispose of them. And that’s what I really miss about Nashville. And good news is that the town is full of players. The bluegrass music end of Nashville or country music, the bluegrass division of country music supplies country music and other forms of music with some of the most brilliant players you could ever ask for. Look at Alison Krauss, a kid like Chris Thile, Del McCoury band and Steve Earle, and those kind of guys. The town is just chocked full of players, you just don't hear them the way you used to. So it was a crusade to me to put a band together that we went after that old-band spirit. And we took no prisoners when we hit the stage. I was proud of that. My steel guitar player just got inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame. First band member I’ve had that got into a Hall of Fame. I’ve had band members go to jail. I’ve been to jail, but never to the hall of fame, man. I mean, it's like....that’s something to be proud of.

Al: Absolutely. It’s an amazing thing how, like you said, the trends just take somehow undermine history sometimes.

Marty: And it’s also, you know, at the time when I got to Nashville, it was still kind of a Mom and Pop environment. You know, it was still a family. Country music was still a family. And now it’s a big old factory. The same as pop music, you know. And most of the players that were there when I got there, the master musicians, were people that it was really in their heart to play that kind of music. I mean, they did. And most of the guys you see that are coming to town now really don’t have a lot of roots, you know, they were trained in other forms of music then they come to play simply because it pays for the car and the kid. But that’s okay, that's what music does sometimes, but it could use a whole lot more heart and soul out there right now.

Al: Absolutely, absolutely. Let me switch gears just a second here. Last year you released a book of photography, which is something, I think, not everyone is aware of right now, but “Pilgrims, Sinners, Saints and Prophets”. Where did you or how did you get involved in photography that came up with enough material to put a book together.

Marty: Well, I always loved photographs. I’ve always thought they were a pretty form of art. My mom was kinda like one of those mom shutterbugs. She had like a little, you know, simple Brownie camera. Hawkeye camera, you know. But she shot those kinds of shots that, you know, she shot from the heart and everything she shot was a little classic. And those are the kind of shots I grew up looking at. And I loved studying pictures of people. Long before I got into collecting memorabilia and stuff like that, I’d just look at pictures in books and see Buck Owens or Porter Wagoner or Johnny Cash wear clothes like that. And I wanna wear that. I'd study every aspect. So when I went on the road, like I said, I was with Lester Flatt, and I was so young, I couldn’t drive and I lived at Lester’s house and when Lester and his peers were people like Roy Acuff and Bill Monroe. When they’d get together to hang out, I was there because I was riding along and when they’d go fishing or play golf, or have lunch, it was always a historic meeting. It’d be like watching Mick Jagger and you know, whoever hang out and there was never anybody there with a camera. And so I just simply went "snap." I asked for a camera and started snapping pictures on the road when I was a kid and also ran into this book by this Jazz bassist. named Milt Hinton, I think it was called “Over Time” or something like that. And Milt did the same thing. He took his camera inside the bus. Here’s a picture of Dizzy Gillespie as young man sleeping in the back of one of these caravan tours, you know. Billie Holiday backstage, you know. And that was the kind of stuff, once again that phrase “that peek behind the curtain” and I just always loved doing that. And I guess the truth of it is that I finally got enough of ‘em in focus after 28 years to do a book.

Al: Do you think you’ll do another one? Another book?

Marty: I keep shooting. I’m still shooting.

Al: What about those pictures that your mom used to take. Do you still have those?

Marty: Oh yeah. Those are the family’s treasures.

Al: That would be something, I’m sure, fascinating that a lot of your longtime fans would like to get a look at that kind of stuff.

Marty: Well, I mean, she had that heart, you know.

Al: Another aspect of your life that not I don't think many people know about--or maybe they do, it’s your dedication to the preservation of Native American rights. That’s something that you’ve been involved with for quite some time now. How did you get involved with that and what was it about that that moved you to wanna participate in that -- in that cause.

Marty: Johnny Cash, when I was in his band in the 80’s and long before that, he had a hit song called the “Ballad of Ira Hayes.” Ira Hayes was a Native American that went to Iwo Jima and you know that famous statue in Washington. Ira Hayes was one of those people. And so, when he came back, he was honored as a war hero, you know. But basically the minute the glory came off of that...... this was after World War II. He died basically a drunk alcoholic in a ditch. And you know, nobody -- they wined him, they speeched him and they honored him and, I believe, the Cash songs says and Peter LaFarge wrote the song, "Everybody shook his hand." And there was something about that song that got me. And I’m from Philadelphia, Mississippi, there was a Choctaw Indian Reservation there. So I grew up understanding the culture. While I was on tour with Cash, there was a man named John L. Smith, who’s Cash’s discographer. Who’s been going in and out of there since the early 60’s up into the Badlands and through South Dakota. And I asked John L. one day after a lot of thinking coz, I thought, "Man if you go into that world with the wrong motive, you know, you’re asking for trouble," so I really got my heart right and my druthers right and I asked John L, I said, “Would you take me up there into that land and to meet some of those people, some of the elders. I just want and go and feel it.” And I went and I knew what was going to happen. I fell in love with the people. I believe in them, I love fighting for them and I guess the first thing........ we've gone up concerts on the reservation. Martin Guitar did a Marty Stuart signature guitar. I gave all the royalties to the Oglala College for scholarships. And got married up there on the reservation. So it's just the people that live inside my heart and God's just kinda put it in my heart to do whatever I can for them. At Christmas, I played at the White House. And I went into the Oval Office and I saw all these Indian....... beautiful relics that are in it, so I asked the President and I know that he went up there last summer and he’s made a pledge and he dedicated a certain amount of money and a certain amount of time and some corporate titans to go up there and try and help out on the reservation. Man, it’s like a third world country up there in a lot of ways. And they need all the help and assistance that they can get. And so, it encouraged me to go and hear, you know, the President talk in those terms too. But, it’s a very spiritual place and if you’ve never been there, and if you need to just clean your heart out and find out, get a little direction in your life, you go up there with the right heart and the right mood, just show up and it'll meet you. It’s a great place.

Al: And the people are welcoming to the help that you have to offer.

Marty: Absolutely. I mean, I’ve never...the thing that knocked me out right off the bat was that the Indians are some of the funniest people, they are comedians. And then they have an incredible sense of humor. You know, and yeah, they are warm people, they’re friendly people, they're gracious people, and I think arguably as far as art goes, I mean the House of Blues is filled with Native American.......outside not Native American, it’s full of outside folk art. but I think the probably purest art that we have in America is, you know, and it’s incredible to look at a weaving, a tapestry. There’s no pattern. It’s just what rolls through the soul, same as writing a song. You know, a beautiful beaded piece or whatever. These people are some of the most gifted people. I really think sometimes that they are truly the people that link us to this planet without us blowing away.

Al: Right, right

Marty: Their spirit is incredibly powerful.

Al: And it’s untainted by society and by all the pop culture things that seem to infiltrate.

Marty: And you know what. And it’s tough, it’s really tough being a young Indian. It's tough being an Indian in any form, but to be a young Indian. Because, you know, what do you do? I mean, they have satellite. They see MTV. They see the movies. They see everything. And so when, you know, you look into this box and they know that there's this a culture out there that lives in Los Angles or New York or Chicago, wherever, you know, and they know that maybe they can go be a part of that, but when you go outside the door and you see five rusted cars in the yard and nobody to talk to get you to that point, I mean, I could see how it can make you mad and angry and bitter. And if you're called out of it, if you have a chance, somebody will give you a helping hand with a scholarship, a grant, a job, whatever, but it’s gotta be a tough thing to have one foot in that world and one foot in another because it splits you down the middle and you become half a person. So, it’s a tough way to go to be an Indian.

Al: It seems like it would be a...

Marty: Kinda like being a blues musician or hillbilly singer and trying to be the pure thing. It’s getting harder and harder in our society to be the pure thing.

Al: To be the pure thing and be successful, you mean?

Marty: That’s right.

Al: There’s no place for tradition to go. There’s no sustenance.

Marty: But you know what? And I think it’s in the book of Isaiah, it says, “God will always leave a remnant." And you guys, this is a remnant and it’s a great forum. And absolutely, tradition will live, because we’re such a pop-tart society any more. You go to Europe and see buildings that are 50--the coliseum in Rome and you come back here and you see, well here we have McDonalds. It’s like we have to pay attention to our heritage and our culture or people without vision, we perish.

Al: Absolutely. There’s not a truer word you’ve said today. That’s amazing.

Marty: That came from the Bible. I didn’t write that.

Al: Well, all right, we won’t give you credit then. I know recently you just cut a single with Jeff Foxworthy, correct?

Marty, Yeah.

Al: That was recent?

Marty: Keeping my redneck factor alive. I like Jeff Foxworthy.

Al: how did that come about? How did you get involved with him.

Marty: Well it pays to have buddies that run record companies and you have a record deal. Scott Burchett is a friend of mine who gets records played on the radio and he actually called one day about this book you were speaking of and he got a copy of it and I signed it for him and sent it over and he said, “You know those Foxworthy’s videos?” I said, “Sure.” He said, “You like him?” He said, “You wanna be in one?” I said, “Sounds like a good idea.”

Al: That simple.

Marty: Well, I mean, if you really look deep in me, you’ll find a redneck. It’s part of my world. Hang in there.

Al: A perfect combination. That's funny. You mentioned this earlier, your friendship with Bob Dylan. And I know that I think there are some upcoming shows that you’re going to play with Bob?

Marty: I don’t think that we can talk about that yet.

Al: How did you and Bob first come together. How did you become friends?

Marty: I met Dylan (laughs at calling him by his last name) --Dylan, Bob, I met Bob Dylan I guess back in the days when I was with Lester Flatt. And he came through Nashville. Lester played at New York University and some of his musicians came to the concert. And they were coming to Nashville and I invited them to come up to my house and they invited me to the concert. And so I think that’s the way I met Bob Dylan as I recall. And he walked over in the lobby of the hotel and he said, “Aren’t you that kid that plays the mandolin or something?” And I said, “Yeah.” He says, “So why don'tcha come to the show with us?” And I never did plan meetings with Bob Dylan. If you held a gun on me and said “okay, name your two guys,” I’d say “Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.” I’ll never count them out. A thousand years from now, they'll come back and get a little more, you know. I respect him, probably above all people in this industry, Dylan is the most fearless human being I’ve ever met. I mean, he will not compromise, he will not give in. Back when he went that period when he was a converted Christian, he'd stand on stage and preach. And people would boo and throw bottles and he'd just keep preaching the truth. But the thing about it, he was spitting truth at them. And I went and saw that movie “Hurricane” the other night. Just in the middle there's this one frame of Dylan on stage singing a song and he's a lot more than an icon to me. He represents a whole lot about being an artist in me because God gave him a vision and I think he is a bit of a prophet and I think that we could all feed on his words.

Al: Absolutely. Very true. What's next now for you?

Marty: One of the things I’m involved in this year is I’m president of the Country Music Foundation which is the Country Music Hall of Fame. We’re involved in Nashville. We’re building a new building a new Country Music Hall of Fame. It will be up in the spring of 2001. So that really is a major event in the city of Nashville and for country music and just as musical citizen in general. It's incredible. It lines up and it’s so technologically advanced but at, the same time, it balances the great heritage of country music with what’s going on out there. And so, I’m really proud to do that. I just scored a film for Billy Bob Thornton called “Daddy and Them” that I love a lot. Got songs out for "Jungle Book 2." Doing a redneck video with Jeff Foxworthy, Playing some shows this year with Earl Scruggs and doing a whole lot of writing right now. Writing up a new record and for the first year in my life since I've been’s the first year since I was 12 years old I’m not on concert tour this year. And it feels pretty cool to just hang out at the house.

Al: A little bit of vacation. A well-earned vacation.

Marty: Well, I’m diggin’ it. Because I figured it,, you know, we all just have to kinda go behind the curtain and reinvent now and then, so it's a good time to check in with my heart and soul.

Al: Do you have plans to go back into the studio.

Marty: Absolutely. I live in the studio. I live in the studio. It’s a great time of experimentation. I just produced this album on Rounder Records for this young guy named Leroy Troy. Leroy Troy is this cosmic mountain banjo player. Every night is Saturday night in his head. So that’s cool

Al: Very cool. Well, I know you have a busy day ahead, so thank you very much for taking the time out to come in and talk to us. We really, really appreciate it.

Marty: Thank you. I enjoyed it.

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