Iron Horse, Northampton, MA on September 1, 2010

This was Marty's second solo gig at the venerable IRON HORSE and I fortunately attended both. The 2007 performance was flanked by the sight of his luxury touring bus parked outside on Center Street. This 2010 gig he arrived more modestly in the passenger seat of a SUV type vehicle with Texas plates and was greeting fans as soon as he hit the curb. Shortly afterwards, those of us right outside the door could overhear the brief soundcheck. No opening act - just like the last time he played Northampton and that was fine with us all - we were anxious to hear his stories and his pickin' - and the mandolin was singing by 7:05 p.m.

Set list - if he uses one, was a diversified mix of old and newer material from the Ghost Train release just out, and Marty had plenty of copies with him. Songs I clearly remember were "Ghost Train Four-Oh-Ten," "Drifting Apart," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," a brand new Merle Haggard song that Marty told us he has NEVER before performed "Going Off Of The Deep End" (I will choose to entitle it). He also did "Dark As A Dungeon," "Black Mountain Rag," "Tempted," "Bridge Washed Out," "Hangman," "Ring Of Fire," a cool version of Tom Petty's "Running Down A Dream," "Branded," "Palladin/Johnny Yuma" western classics too. Marty did the song "Hard Working Man," probably a tribute to his dad as was explained to us - a victim of lay-off from the factory that he worked at for more than 21 years - real true life story that many of us involved in manufacturing can surely relate too. And I cannot forget Marty's tribute and love for his departed friend reflected in the song "Porter Wagoner's Grave."

The crowd was there to hear every word and every note - and perfectly respectful, as the Iron Horse is known for. No drunken brawls or repeated song requests either. It was as if we KNEW Marty would mix it up perfectly fine without our input. He was all acoustic this evening and did not have the electric 6-string telecaster with him. The famous sunburst fender that was once owned by Clarence White of the Byrds - and Marty did bring it back in 2007 and I heard him imitating the "pedal steel" back then - that would have really finished off the evening to hear THAT again. I did have my copy of VINTAGE GUITAR magazine with Marty and the sunburst featured on the cover and I was grateful to him as he signed his name on the cover and of course I HAD to purchase the Ghost Train release and get that signed as well. A very traditional, country gentleman was the impression he left me with. Even performing in this casual, listening room in small-town Northampton, Marty was dressed impeccably as if he was master of ceremonies at the opry stage instead of a small venue for maybe, at best, 250 intent listeners.

As I left the club after meeting him I thought to myself "Man, it sure would have been so insane to hear a few licks off that famous fender telecaster once again. Maybe closing out the show with the instrumental theme song from "Bonanza" - What do you think Marty??? Can you add that song to the setlist for your next visit to the Iron Horse?? Or as a treat for the OPRY listeners? Just a suggestion

Review by Ken Bouthot - Auburn, MA and thanks so much for all the cool info on this site - photos, history, etc. We love stuff like this

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