Seventh Annual Late Night Jam - Ryman Auditorium - June 4, 2008

For seven years now, Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives have hosted what is now considered to be the kick off to the CMA Music Festival. The Marty Stuart Late Night Jam is just that, late. It starts at 10:00 pm and continues long into the night. Although it is scheduled to end at 2:00 a.m., sometimes it goes a little later than that.

This year's schedule was very impressive, and included guests like Charlie Daniels, Gretchen Wilson, Kathy Mattea, John Rich and the list goes on. One thing that most loyal fans look forward to hearing and seeing are the surprise guests. In the past, they have included stars such as Raul Malo, Jedd Hughes, Chuck Mead and many more. So to say that Marty has to raise the bar each year is an understatement.

This whole four hour event is used as a fund raiser for MusiCares. This is an organization that collects donations and the money is used to help anyone who works in the music industry when they are in need. It doesn't matter if it's the main star or a bus driver, if they are in need due to medical reasons or other special situations, this is the group that can help. As soon as the curtains lifted at the historic Ryman Auditorium, the fans went crazy as Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives were decked out in everything from rhinestones to leather pants and kicked off this amazing evening.

If you like hearing the songwriters sing a song the way they originally wrote it, well then this was a perfect chance to witness one Nashville's most famous songwriters show off his craft. Dallas Frazier was one of the special, surprise guests. I am not sure if everyone in the audience knew who he was at first, but as soon as he performed "Elvira," and "There Goes My Everything," he had the crowd in the palm of his hand.

One great thing about this show is that Marty Stuart is in his zone. He seemed so calm and collected, more so than usual. The special emcee was none other than legendary WSM announcer Eddie Stubbs. It's funny to watch Eddie do his thing. He can ad lib anything and Marty loves to show that off. In the town that Eddie grew up in, there was a car dealership that always came out with different commercials to advertise their product. Well, Marty wanted to show people that Eddie could come up with a full commercial right off the top of his head. So, Eddie started talking and before anyone knew it, a two or three minute commercial had just been done. He's so natural, and it was definitely a treat to hear this man show off his God-given gifts.

By the time Charlie Daniels got onstage, the crowd was pumped up and ready to see him perform some of his legendary Southern Rock and Country songs. "Drinking My Baby Goodbye" got the crowd on their feet, but by the time Charlie was finished with "The Devil Went Down To Georgia" everyone was begging for more.

Some things were done a bit different this year and one of them being that Marty allowed John Rich to come out and have his own thirty minute section for him to do what ever he wanted. He came out with just his guitar and performed "The Battle Of New Orleans," and then introduced a couple of special guests. One of his guests was a new duo called Dear Jane. They were an interesting little group with some amazing harmonies. When they were finished, John came back out and introduced the biggest surprise guest of the evening, Mel Tillis. Mel came out to a screaming crowd and performed one of the biggest hits he ever wrote, "Ruby, Don't Take your Love To Town."

Kathy Mattea was one of the artists that was announced to be performing on the roster, but there was no way the crowd could have expected to see such an awesome acoustic set. It was just Kathy, a bass player and another guitar player and they performed songs off her latest album Coal. If you are planning on going to Nashville next year for the CMA Festival, make sure and plan on attending the Marty Stuart Late Night Jamboree.

Review by Scott Sexton

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