Opry Member

Marty Stuart

This appears on Opry.com

It would be difficult to identify any contemporary performer who shows even a smidgeon more zest for performing country music—and virtually every conceivable sort of country music—than Marty Stuart.

On any given show at the Opry, Marty might reach back to the songs of Jimmie Rodgers or Roy Acuff or Johnny Cash, bring in that bluegrass on which he was practically raised, offer up moving gospel duets with wife Connie Smith—or rip into some just-penned new example of his own charged-up “hillbilly rock.”

Always the showman in a day when that’s less common than it once was, Marty and His Fabulous Superlatives, we can be sure, will be dramatically attired, choreographed for group stage moves—and set to surprise with that range of choices. Not for nothing was their 2003 debut album as a group, complete with references to the plight of actual farmers, to George Jones and George Jetson, simply titled the all-encompassing Country Music.

As much as he’s been an innovator, Marty has been an invaluable preserver of country history—as a performer of classic material; as the photographer and author of the book Pilgrims: Sinners, Saints & Prophets, with its essays and photos of country greats from Earl Scruggs to Jerry Lee Lewis; and as a dedicated collector of important country memorabilia.

Marty made his first Opry appearance as a 13-year-old mandolin player traveling with Lester Flatt’s band. After Lester died in 1979, Marty branched out, playing a kind of bluegrass fusion with fiddle player Vassar Clements and working with guitar virtuoso Doc Watson. A six-year stint touring with Johnny Cash followed, and Marty—who plays guitar, bass, mandolin, and fiddle—became a sought-after session and concert musician, playing with the likes of Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Bob Dylan, Randy Travis, and Roy Rogers.

He broke into the Top 10 for the first time in 1990 with the album Hillbilly Rock, which went gold, as did the follow-up, Tempted, which featured four big hits, including its title song. His duets with “no-hats” friend Travis Tritt, “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” and “This One’s Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time),” brought the duo a Grammy and a CMA Award.

Marty became a member of the Grand Ole Opry 20 years after that first, teenage appearance. His 1999 album The Pilgrim was a critically acclaimed country-opera cycle that included guests Ralph Stanley, Johnny Cash, and George Jones in key parts.

In 1991 liner notes, Marty Stuart pondered, “I don’t know; maybe I’m a bridge between the past and the future.” He got that right.

Return To Articles Return To Home Page