Here's what the fans are saying about The Pilgrim.........
Marty Stuart's The Pilgrim is one of the best albums I have ever bought...and I am not generally a Marty Stuart fan. I do realize the fact that he is a great singer and player (guitar and mandolin), but I never imagined that he'd have the quality of talent that he expresses on this legendary-worthy CD. Marty spent several years creating the story and writing the music for The Pilgrim.
Marty played all his famous guitars (the acoustic guitar was owned by Hank Williams, Sr. and Johnny Cash and is worth well over a million dollars). Such amazing tones and guitar playing are all over this CD. It's the kind of thing you can listen to under headphones and really dig into to uncover guitar parts.
There was a line of Marty's celebrity friends wanting to be a part of this album such as Johnny Cash, Emmylou Harris, George Jones, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs, Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty's band) and Pam Tillis to name just a few.
Tracks of interest include "Reasons," "Hobo's Prayer," "The Pilgrim (Act III)," "The Observations of a Crow" and "Harlan County." On a small technical note, "Harlan County" and "Intermission" were recorded live through a single microphone (a Telefunken U-47 through a Neve 1073 mic pre) and were nominated for several Grammy awards.
This is simply a brilliant album and everyone involved with its creation is proud to have been there. Buy this now before it goes out of print, never to be released again. -- Jamie Tate
"Stuart has recorded some fine music in his career, but never has it displayed the power and coherency as this 1999 album. Stuart's song cycle about a man's mistake, subsequent descent into alcoholism and vagrancy, and ultimate redemption, is cinematic in its telling, literary in its detail, and impressive in its stylistic range.
The continuity of the story's narrative is especially surprising given the number of guest vocalists. Stuart, Johnny Cash, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley and Pam Tillis are backed variously by rolling western rhythms, acoustic backporch country, weepy fiddle-and-steel ballads, guitar-based folk, barroom country-rock, blues, and transitional interludes of piano, violin and organ.
Stuart's band (Steve Arnold - bass; Gary Hogue - steel guitar; Brad Davis - guitar; Gregg Stocki - drums) provides a superb core, stretching themselves across the array of styles, and providing welcome space for guests such as Earl Scruggs, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, and Mike Campbell. The assembled musicians are equally convincing on everything from downbeat, spare ballads to rockabilly romps.
Conceived and executed as a single story woven from interconnected and overlapping compositions, the album's songs also stand strongly as individuals. Stuart's lyrics are meaningful and moving, and his melodies are memorable and magnifying of the song's sentiments. Stuart is engaged with this music like never before, and his enthusiasm clearly motivates his band and guests.
Comparisons to Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger are inevitable, but Stuart's creation is more than a simple copy or tribute. The album's structure and theme are similar to Nelson's landmark album, but the songs, styles and execution are Stuart's own invention. Both are extraordinary albums, and both deserve a place in your record collection." -- Red Tunic Troll
"After a long silence of almost 3 years, (you will further include/understand why) it is a real pleasure to encounter very last production of Marty Stuart Musicalement much less rock'n'roll that the preceding albums, because here the step is very different. Indeed, The Pilgrim is the first " album concept " of modern Country Musique, and the history which is told to us, is based on real facts. It is during many voyages (Nashville, The the Bahamas, Beverly Hills, Tupelo, New York, etc ) that came to him the inspiration necessary to weave this splendid history. MCA Nashville played the game jusquau end, by letting its foal go at the end of its project. The result is a disc of 20 ranges, of which some short transitions and on the whole 49 minutes from happiness.
One can announce some jewels like 'Red, Red Wine and Cheatin Songs,' 'The Observations of a Crow,' or even "The Greatest Love of all Time " In short beautiful work, as one would like to listen some more often, and who changes this 'production made in Nashville' somewhat annoying, by its inspiration lack." -- Country Music Club (France)
From the Opry chat transcript (June 15, 2001), a question for BR549 bassist, Jay McDowell: "What's in your CD player right now? The Pilgrim by Marty Stuart. I listen to it over and over."
"In this set of all-original tunes, Marty Stuart is staking out his turf as Country Top 40's preeminent eclectic traditionalist, drawing on "young country" soft-rock cliches and bluegrass-y gospel with equal ease. Of course, with his background (bluegrass boy goes Nashville), Stuart can pull it off pretty well. While his hard-rockin' honkytonk isn't quite as ballsy as Dwight Yoakam at his best, it's much to his credit that Stuart does the Top 40 thing more convincingly than, say, Ricky Skaggs ever did. And with guest stars such as Ralph Stanley, George Jones, Emmylou Harris and Earl Scruggs crawling all over the place, you know he's gotta have been living right somehow. If anything, this album is a bit stuffy, or maybe self-conscious, and many of the best tracks run a bit short, more vignettes than compositions. Sure, it's a calculated, country-opera type of presentation, but for the most part it works just fine. If Nashville made a few more records like this, I certainly wouldn't grouse too much." -- Joe Sixpack (SF Bay area DJ)
"This album-length story-set-to-music has to be, next to Red Headed Stranger, one of the strongest concept pieces ever recorded by a mainstream Nashville artist. There's a little taste of everything that made Nashville what it is here, and on the strength of The Pilgrim alone, Stuart's name should live on in country music well into the next thousand years." -- Don Chance (who ranked the album #7 for 1999)
"Under-rated concept album from a singer I've never had much time for before." -- Mike Barrett
"Its easy to dismiss this guy as a pretty boy. However, youd be missing out on some wonderful heartfelt music. This latest is a concept album about country music. Theres a great lesson in the grooves of this one. Grab this one, you wont be sorry."
"I was glad to see at least one other Idiot chose the Pilgrim by Marty Stuart as one of the year's best. With the exception of Emmylou Harris, Marty Stuart has done more than any other country musician to keep traditional country music and bluegrass alive. This album is real, real good." -- Joel Berger
"The pieces all fall in place on Stuart's concept album. "The Pilgrim" tells the true story of a Mississippi man who unknowingly falls in love with a married woman, watches her husband kill himself, and subsequently wanders in an alcoholic stupor for years before finding salvation in church and marriage. Stuart's songwriting is at a peak--the story actually occurred in Stuart's own hometown. He explores a variety of traditional styles with the vital help of legends including George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, and Ralph Stanley."
"The Pilgrim, Marty Stuart's new album is a modern Country concept album. It is based on a true story of a man he new while he was growing up. A truly tragic tale of marriage, threats, death, drink, mental illness and one man¹s search for ultimate happiness.
The music varies to reflect the story with all its extremities. It includes cameos by such luminaries as Johnny Cash, George Jones and Pam Tillis and includes the beautiful 'Hobo¹'s Prayer,' the instrumental 'Mr John Henry, Steel Driving Man' and the aching 'Sometimes The Pleasure¹s Worth The Pain.' This album is a surprising departure for Marty and it will win over many new fans." -- Martin Whittle
"It's amazing. It's the only record he's ever done that I like. I bought it on a whim and it blows me away." -- Timbo
"Honky Tonk at its best. Awesome recording and some cool lo-fi cameos." -- Brent Elder
"A concept album. A statement about artistic integrity. A masterwork. Stuarts Pilgrim is all of these things and more, yet it begins with a simple story about human beings experiencing the pain and confusion that are often caused by love. I plan to play this album for my nephew William one day when he is old enough to understand country music. I will tell him how the album stood out amidst the awful country music of the day, and how evil people in the industry took Marty Stuarts record deal from him because it didnt sell well. Anyone who could take away an artists deal after they made an album this good deserves to rot in hell." -- Charles Earle (who ranked the album #1 in Country/Americana for 1999)
"Have always enjoyed Marty Stuart, this album just renewed my appreciation for his voice and talent." -- Tonia
"The story that is woven throughout this album is spellbinding. The music is so good that I often have to repeat a song. Marty Stuart tells the story in a descriptive, melodic way. I can feel the different emotions he is conveying as he tells the story of ''The Pilgrim.'' Each time I listen to the CD, I find something else to like." -- Anne Marie
"Though it came out a while ago, Marty Stuart's latest effort, The Pilgrim is the most under appreciated album of the year. Most artists record their whole lives and never even come close to the magic that Marty has laid down here." Ken Churilla
"Marty Stuart has quite obviously made the best album of his interesting career. As a mere sprout he tours with serious bluegrass and country veterans and grows up to tuck his tight pants into his boots, slip into a short custom made Nudie-style jacket , get his ha'r all whooped up bigger'n Rod Stewart ...hey...wait a minute...that' s it...Marty Stuart is the Rod Stewart of country...although Marty is better at it. Like Rod, Marty was known for his well-written countropopabilly party songs...well...maybe not Rod...anyway Marty goes and makes this really great epic of an country album...one of the finest by anyone in a couple dog years at least...then Marty get's dumped by his label headed by one of Elvis's old piano players. Goes to prove even Elvis wouldn't get a break today. And that's a damn shame. But I digress. In the last couple years a few very fine country folks have made some very fine, smart, serious, fun classic and Adult country albums: Merle's "If I could only fly", George's "The cold hard truth", Johnny Cash's last three, Dwight...almost always, and now Marty Stuart has entered into the pantheon of Great American Music Nobody's Heard. Shameful really. Seem's most of us don't have time for good." -- Rick Saunders
"Marketed as a concept recording, Pilgrim is right on the mark. Even if it had simply been marketed as a new release by Stuart, it would have still been a keeper. Pilgrim is based on a true story about love, deception, betrayal, passion, loneliness, and redemption. Stuart wrote or co-wrote and arranged all the selections and his intimate familiarity comes through loud and clear. The 'keeper of the hillbilly flame,' as he is described by no less than Emmylou Harris, has assembled musicians who, like himself, are pilgims as well, if not by action, then certainly in spirit. But dont be taken aback by the hillbilly label. All that means is that Stuart practices what he preaches about the music that matters, music of the heart and of the soil. Harris, George Jones, Pam Tillis, Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, and Tony Brown lend their considerable talents to a project that deserves some space in your CD collection. Whether your musical taste runs from country to contemporary, there is something in this recording for everyone--especially Cashs reading of an excerpt from Alfred Lord Tennysons 'Sir Galahad.' Get the headphones out! (By the way, with 20 cuts youd better reserve an afternoon for your first listen.)" -- Tim Anderson
"I've listened to this CD dozens, maybe even hundreds of times since it was released, and the quality of the songwriting and performances continues to knock me out. It's unfathomable that a record this great resulted in Marty's being dropped by MCA. Their loss, and ours too." -- Amy Haugesag
"I absolutely loved Marty Stuart's The Pilgrim. I couldn't understand why it flopped with so many traditionalists on a mission. It was heart wrenching because it brought back the old days so vividly. I do agree that the single/singles (how many?) that were released were my least favorite but I'm told that they were the most "radio" friendly. I am totally suprised that The Pilgrim did not make history for the greatest achievement-award winning album. I don't often have such passion toward an album, but with that one, I did. I guess the songs that I loved on that album would not blend with today's radio. That's too bad. I was hoping that this generation would be exposed a bit to that style. They might have appreciated it like I did. Still, I love the music of the past and the present, the traditional and the new." -- danchng
"From the Tennessean review of this weeks Bob Dylan concert: 'Near the end of their performance of 'Tangled Up In Blue' last night at First American Music Center, Bob Dylan and guest musician Marty Stuart turned the song into an acoustic rave-up, dueling on harmonica and mandolin, respectively. When they finished, Stuart, free of the decorum expected of regular members of Dylans band, pointed at the leader as if to say, Get a load of this guy. Dylan, grinning, pointed back at Stuart, clearly delighted at what they had accomplished together on the song, and relishing the added dynamic incentive Stuart supplied as he sat in with Dylans band throughout the evening. Whether adding acoustic fireworks to Ralph Stanleys gospel number, 'I Am The Man, Thomas' the nights opening number, or knifing through electric versions of 'All Along The Watchtower' or 'Highway 61 Revisited,' Stuart fit in well with regular guitarists like Larry Campbell and Charlie Sexton .overall, Stuarts presence made the evening a memorable interlude in Dylans never-ending tour.'
I quote this not just because it is a credit to Martys musical skills -- not to mention showmanship, but because I think The Pilgrim is a memorable interlude in Martys hopefully never-ending run over at MCA Records. In this artist-disposable town, weve seen MCA allow Marty to chart his own musical course, radio airplay or not. Of course, anybody who can get Bob Dylan grinning and horsing around on stage can probably get Tony Brown to do damn near anything.
Im glad I listened to this CD without reading the liner notes first. The collection tells a compelling story, but if the songs couldnt stand alone, this wouldnt work. The first time I listened I wasnt even thinking about the story or about the fact that all these songs were marching through a dark Southern tale of rage and redemption, dark souls and murderous hearts. The songs killed me on their own before I even knew the story of Mississippi madness.
The styles run from honky tonk to rock to turbo twang and back again and it all works seamlessly. In addition to Martys band, the Rock & Roll Cowboys, musicians include Mike Campbell on 12 string acoustic guitar and electric guitar, Tony Brown on piano, Barry Beckett on the B3 organ, Stuart Duncan on fiddle, Earl Scruggs on the electric guitar and banjo, Uncle John Graves on dobro, Rusty Golden on piano, Carl Marsh on calliope & organ, Mike Bub on upright bass, Jim Brown on B3 organ & piano and Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys. Guest vocalists are: Johnny Cash, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, and Pam Tillis. Marty plays acoustic and electric guitar and mandolin on the record. Theres not a weak link in this chain, but if I had to single out some favorites theyd be 'The Observations of a Crow,' 'Goin Nowhere Fast' and the honky tonker, 'Red, Red Wine & Cheatin Songs'. -- Patsi Bale Cox
"The Pilgrim is a CD full of treasures disguised as songs that tell a true story written by Mr. Marty Stuart. He is such a brilliant artist, and he amazes me with all of the things he has accomplished. I wish him all the best. Thanks." -- Carol Slemmer. Ramona, CA.
"This is Marty Stuart's best work yet. The story is very touching and memorable. There is a great range of music here, and it all blends to create a great-sounding album. Although it may not be received by the "Country Countdown" crowd, it is definately worth having--the best country album I've bought in years. It feels like Marty has reached down deep and come up with his best work. It runs the gamut from soulful to playful, yet never loses the thread of its message. The vocals are very good, the lyrics have real emotion, and it has a sense of history not found in any other recent album."
"Not since I first heard Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger way back when have I been so totally overwhelmed by a first listening of a country album. Like a prior reviewer, I have been a fan of Marty's for a long time through his Hillbilly Rock stage, but one always knew that there was something beyond the commercial type music he was making. This proves it. To quote Yogi Berra, there is 'deep depth' here in the lyrics and musicianship. If Nashville would sit up and listen to this and realize that the real country fans are sick of the same old sound, maybe there would be more risk takers and less Life of Chris Gaines." -- Matthew Longino, Jacksonville, FL
"This is an album that makes you glad there is a Marty Stuart and makes you realize how far left of center country music has gone these days. This brings a reality check to country music fans and let's them know that what they are hearing on the radio these days is not what country music is all about. Hell, there's only one song that is actually getting air play these days that I would consider to be straight forward country and that's Pop-A-Top by Alan Jackson. Buy this album and give it a spin, you'll be hooked from the first note. Five stars plus!"
"Marty Stuart has deep roots in the kind of country music I used to hear. There's not much 'radio material' for a single on this album and for that I am grateful. Marty isn't making music for top 40 country; he's giving you the history of country music every time he records a song and we reap the rewards with his latest effort. His showmanship on the mandolin shines on this CD and every feeling he can put forth into his music oozes out of your speakers. Sit back and be educated." -- Shannon Kinney, Stillwater, MN
"I cannot get enough of this album. The more I listen, the more I enjoy it. There is so much to listen to, from the backing vocal of Pam Tillis and Emmylou, to the traditional country of Ralph Stanley. And the fine mix of the classical strings with the traditional bluegrass instruments. One of the finest three-act plays I have ever experienced. I've been waiting a while for some more music from Marty and he really came through on this album."
"We were introduced to this album and the artist on the Imus show. It is as promised; great tunes so very well done. Old "Oprie" feel mellowed out for the current time."
"WHAT?! a country album that sounds as if it actually had some thought behind it!!! Thank you Marty, this cd puts you W A Y ahead of the boring Nashville cookie cutter crowd (not that you were ever a part of that scene).Please, please, i hope the rest of the country music scene will listen to this record and take notes!!!
"For those of you sensitive to sacrilege, prepare yourself: Stuart's The Pilgrim is the best concept album since Willie Nelson's Red-headed Stranger. The story is masterfully told from beginning to end, and the melodies are consistently haunting and beautiful. The music is a perfect blend of old-time country (I bet Ralph Stanley wishes he wrote "Harlan County," which he performs on this album) and contempory honky-tonk, and his slow ballads and uptempo rockers mesh wonderfully. Marty brings his bluegrass roots to bear on "The Greatest Love of All Time," and "The Observations of a Crow" even brings jazz into the mix (and it's exactly the kind of song you'd expect a crow to sing)." -- William Adair, Logan, UT
"Recently, I caught Marty Stuart on Austin City Limits. What I heard was quite astounding. I had always admired Marty for his tele-guitar licks, sequined jackets, and rockabilly sound, but I did not realize what an exceptional talent he really is until I promptly went out and bought The Pilgrim. Let me assure you, it's awesome. This album has some slick production, (Tony Brown, of course), along with a story every country fan will find simply unforgettable. Add in Emmylou, Ralph Stanley, George Jones, and Pam Tillis, and you have a collection of pure country at its best.
From the opener 'Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain' to the haunting 'Harlan Country' and 'Red, Red Wine' (honkytonk to the max), you will hear what a real country album in the year 2000 should sound like. I now realize Marty is a super songwriter, as evidenced by 'The Observations Of A Crow'. This album will give you cold chills, especially when you hear Johnny Cash's short vocal recital near the end. Stuart and Earl Scruggs tear it up in the finale 'John Henry, The Steel Drivin' Man', an instrumental the likes of which I had never heard. Country radio could play at least four cuts on this album. I hope and pray they will. One prerequisite: You must read the jacket before you listen. The only other thing I can say is, Party on, Marty! I'm with you, brother." -- Marty Garrett
"I just had my first exposure to Marty on Austin City Limits a couple of nights ago. I was hooked immediately. I went out and bought The Pilgrim the next day and haven't stopped playing for days. I'm a born and raised San Francisco boy weaned on jazz and rock. I'm also an amateur musician. Country has never occupied a big place in my musical universe -- until now. Marty & Co. have changed all that. I'm well plugged into the local music scene around here and personally know some pretty famous musicians. I've played The Pilgrim for a couple of them in the last few days. Suffice it to say, their reaction was the same as mine. They were blown away! I'm playing this album for everyone I know, and I'm damned sure going to generate a buzz about this absolutely brilliant piece of work, come hell or high water. Stuart deserves both critical and popular praise for this modern musical masterpiece. Just you watch, he's gonna get it. Better late than never. God bless you Marty." -- Kim Burrafato
"It's taken me a few days to put my thoughts together on this one. The Pilgrim may not have been a commercial success, but I have heard Marty say himself that that wasn't what he set out to do anyway. Marty had a story that was begging to be told, and he had the integrity to do it right. The music on The Pilgrim came straight from his heart and straight from what he knows to be true - the real soul of country music. I have never before heard a piece of music that reflects the artist's committment to his craft and his love for the music the way The Pilgrim does. We all know that Marty is instumental in helping build the new Country Music Hall of Fame museum. In making The Pilgrim, he took the history of country music (and I suspect a little history of his own) and put it out there for us to take a listen to. It was his way of making sure that we didn't forget where country music came from - in a day when it's hard to tell where it's going. I am proud to be a fan of a man who wasn't afraid to "draw a line in the dirt" and make the kind of music his heart told him to make. Thank you, Marty!" -- Joyce Porterfield
"In this age of this over-pasturized, self-important whatever, this is music. Marty reminds us that we can't go forward unless we know where we come from and that's what he tries to do with The Pilgrim. He takes you on a trip from the birth to the death of a lonely man who got shunned for dating a woman he didn't know was married. From "Sometimes the Pleasures Worth the Pain" to "Red. Red Wine and Cheatin Songs" to "Hobo's Prayer" ending with "John Henry", Marty makes you feel every bit of pain and sorrow this man encounters with every step. One thing I have to mention is that this is an album to be listened to track by track, beginning to end. It just doesn't sound right skipped around. In closing, just think of it as country's Tommy." -- daveh2
"An old adage goes, "Don't judge a book by its cover." Thats exactly what I did when I bought this cd. I judged it immediately as something different and wonderful. After all, theres Marty, wearing a black hat pulled down over his face ala Dwight Yoakam, wearing the look of the "Man In Black," Johnny Cash. Dark, somber, reflective tones set in browns, blacks, tans and grays.
Further examination showed an unbelievable cast of supporting talent: George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash, Pam Tillis, Mike Campbell (from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers). Without doubt, this was a CD I just knew was going to be different.
The Pilgrim is a concept album. It is a true story of a man who kills himself in front of his wife upon learning of her infidelity. Marty runs the table of styles within the genre of country without once sounding too commercial. In fact, chances are good that you will not hear this cd on your local pop country station its something that would be more comfortable on some kind of underground FM station pre-dating the bubble gum radio sound of the past two decades. This is the only place this CD fails, at the commercial level. There is not a visible flaw anywhere on this release, unless its that The Pilgrim is not a CD full of singles written and produced for commercial success.
The night I sat down to listen to this CD I was stunned. I immediately turned down the lights, lit some candles and laid back in my chair with my eyes closed so my ears could see the story. Instruments are woven in and out of the pieces, themes are presented and reprised and Johnny Cash brings it all to an amazing end. The Pilgrim is beautiful in the way Dark Side of the Moon was beautiful and should be enjoyed that way." -- aliencowboy
"One listen to this album is like watching a movie that you know you'll want to see again. From start to finish, The Pilgrim is a story whose characters weave their way into your life in one way or another. Each song stands alone but, when listened to sequentially, become a story that is as American as apple pie. Marty Stuart is an American treasure. Listen and listen again. Each time you'll hear something you didn't catch before. And best of all, it's country." -- countrydrmr
"A return to the country of old. Song for song, this is the best album I have heard in a long time. The songs mix well with the storyline. It's great to hear country music return to its roots." -- Bocephus
"The Pilgrim is unbelievable. When I played it through the first time, I actually got a little teary-eyed because this album is so completely Marty. Somehow he pulled together all the different styles of music he is so proficient at and made it so seamless and smooth. It's hard to imagine any of these songs existing without the others; yet, when I've heard him perform them independently, they are just as moving. I need to go out and buy another copy because I think I'll wear this one out soon." -- Melissa Robertson
"Just picked up The Pilgrim CD a few days ago. It is wonderfully creative and beautiful music. I loved the way the songs all followed the story line and such daring variety in the music--Earl Scruggs & Alfred Lord Tennyson on the same CW CD - Wow! I hope there's more as good coming!" -- Betty R.
"I bought the CD when it first came out and I cannot stop listening to it. I keep trying to figure out which song I like the best. That is very hard to do, since I like all of them. But if I had to pick two, the first one would be 'The Observations of a Crow' and the second would would be 'Hobo's Prayer.' Of course, that is after listening to it today. Ask me tomorrow and I will probably say 'The Observations of a Crow' and another song. I went up to Santa Ana to see Marty at the Crazy Horse and, after the first show, he had a meet and greet. I got Marty's autograph on the CD and told him how much I liked it. Marty, you did it again with an outstanding CD called The Pilgrim. Keep up the good work. I hope to hear it on the radio stations in the near future and to see you accept an award for it at the CMA Awards in the year 2000." -- Carol Slemmer
Here are more fan reviews from Amazon.com:
"This album has got some real meat on its bones. While Marty Stuart's last couple of discs were good, with nuggets of genius in each, their entire collections were not exactly 'great.' But Marty Stuart really comes back and outdoes himself on this one! The songwriting here, for the most part, is nothing short of brilliant--the songs truly flow, one into the other--and carry the mood of the saga from the heartbreak of its tragic beginnings, through to the majesty of the hope that rises from the ashes at the end of fortysomething soul-searching minutes. On this musical pilgrimage, Stuart visits traditional country, honky-tonk, bluegrass, blues-y-funk, rock-n-roll, hillbilly rock, recitations, string sections, instrumentals, and folk-flavored finger-style. And he is accompanied by a number of the musical friends who've influenced the paths he has chosen along the way (namely Cash, Harris, Scruggs, Stanley, Jones, Tillis, and even Mike Campbell of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers), who collectively put the crowning touch on this incredible album. From 'Reasons,' the ultimate traditional country weeper--with its glorious steel guitar wailing front & center--and the super-infectious, rollicking, honky-tonk beat of 'Red, Red, Wine and Cheatin' Songs' (both featuring the magical 'milk & honey' vocal blend of Stuart & Tillis)--to the heart-stopping, soul-filling finger-style of Stuart on 'Hobo's Prayer'--and the spectacular bluegrass--...to just about everything else on this album--this is a most-enthusiastically welcomed addition to my collection!! Highly recommended!!"
"This was the best surprise I have had in a long time. I received the CD as a gift and didn't recognize any of the songs but I love Marty Stuart and I was sure it would be good. Good is not a word to describe the heartfelt love in this project. I read the CD cover and could not wait to put it on I haven't taken it out of my CD player since I put it in."
"This is a truly wonderful musical narrative of an everyday story. I have been a fan of Marty Stuart for many years. I even had the privilege of doing work on his stage at a show in Alexandria, LA, a few years ago. His use of various elements of country styles, including his signature 'Hillbilly Rock," was a masterful stroke. When I hear Johnny Cash reciting from Sir Galahad at the album's end, chills cover me. If this album is not a commercial success, it would be a shame. However, it is an artistic success, no matter what!"
"This is a truly artistic, thoughtful, and heartfelt album from an underrated artist. While each song stands on its own, it's the whole album, listened to without distraction, that will bring it to life. The whole album flows and tells the story of The Pilgrim. It's a story exceptionally well told - a story of pain and rebirth. A story of evil and good. A story that will touch your heart. Don't even hesitate to purchase this CD enabled CD. See him in person. BUY IT! Oh yeah - please do not put your CD player on 'random' for this album. You'll miss the message." -- Dan Hermann
"I think Marty Stuart's CD, The Pilgrim, is a once-in-a-lifetime CD. It's like a diamond with its many facets. As you hold a diamond up to the light, you can see many colors. Every time you listen to this CD, you'll hear something different. I think this shows the depth of Marty's passion for country music the way it should be...not the way it is today. HATS OFF TO MARTY STUART!"
"I had been a fan of Marty for a long time, but for some reason had never owned any of his recordings. I was so impressed with the reviews on The Pilgrim I decided to give it a shot. It knocked my socks off and now is at the top of my list as most listened to CD. The musical narrative is riveting and all the songs well crafted. Of course I'll buy anything that Emmylou Harris is even remotely associated with. Thanks Marty, great work."
"Marty Stuart has a winner on his hands. This a great CD - I've always enjoyed Marty's music but this is a grown up Marty Stuart. Enjoy the part his guests make on the CD - Emmylou, George, and especially Johnny Cash at the end!! GREAT CD!!!!!"
"Marty Stuart made it big by playing his style of hillbilly rock, hence the band name of Rock and Roll Cowboys. The last two CDs Marty has released, including The Pilgrim leave me wondering whatever happened to Marty Stuart. In the early 90s, I went to Marty Stuart concerts in honky tonks knowing he was going to plug in the guitar and burn down the house. But like many artists who feel a need to reinvent themselves, Marty seems to be struggling to find a new niche. First of all, his voice simply isn't good enough to carry ballads and slow songs, but that never mattered when he was hillbilly rockin'. The Pilgrim is interesting, if nothing else, but it's not Marty Stuart music as we know it. Sure, there are a few songs that harken back to the glory days, but if I want to listen to Ralph Stanley sing an entire bluegrass song, I'll put on a Ralph Stanley CD. The Pilgrim gets bogged down while trying so hard to tell a story and take listeners through every conceivable mood. It made me break out the old "Hillbilly Rock" and "Tempted" CDs and remember the good old days. Where have you gone, Marty Stuart?"
These two letters appeared in the October/November issue of Country Music Magazine:
"Thanks for the great review of Marty Stuart's new album. The Pilgrim is something that all country fans should have in their library. What a great impression he'll have left. Marty is an artist to be proud of. This not only shows his ability to write, but the heart-stopping, soul-searching ability to pick. Marty truly has the God-given music in him." -- Rosalie Keough
"Craig Havighurst's review of Marty Stuart's The Pilgrim brought tears to my eyes. The Pilgrim is one of the most beautiful collections of music I've ever had the privilege of listening to. I'm thrilled to see that Country Music is supporting this wonderfully talented artist. Thank you!" -- Sonya Carrington
Here are some comments from AOL'ers:
"I absolutely love The Pilgrim album. It is pure Marty Stuart. I am so impressed with the songs and the fact that Marty wrote everything. There is a lot of his mandolin playing on here and I really enjoy that. This album is hardly ever out of my car's CD player. Everyone should listen to this album at least once, I am sure you will want to listen again!" -- Pat Johnson
"The Pilgrim is Marty Stuart's best work yet!!! With his rich heritage, he can only get better and better!!!! I give it a 10 out of 10!!"
"This is the best Marty Stuart album I've ever heard. It comes straight from his heart and soul ..... he is the greatest musician on this planet and anyone who loves good music should hurry and buy this one." -- Hattie
"I just got The Pilgrim thru Amazon.com and tell Marty it is not only unusual but very enjoyable. I am not some teeny-bopper, but rather a 60-year-old retired cop that enjoys real country music and Marty does push the real country music. He does slip in some Rock once in awhile, but I enjoy most of his stuff and have all of his albums to add to my collection of George Jones, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, etc. Thumbs up for The Pilgrim." -- Randy Sillavan
Here are some comments from fans visiting Amazon.com:
"Marty and his friends tell a story of the pilgrim. The album takes you from the beginning to the end of a story. The Pilgrim falls in love with a woman that he did not know was married. They had an affair, her husband finds out and kills himself in front of them. Her lover in dispair of the whole thing becomes a traveling Pilgrim. Eventually they reunite and get married. The album takes you on a journey. Marty also invites his friends, Pam Tillis, Emmylou Harris and George Jones to help him with the journey. It's really hard to put into words how excellent this D is. You will not be dissapointed!" -- Christine Johnson
"Marty is so much better than the conveyor belt pop emanating from Nashville these days and this album says it all. The whole album has been put together with love and respect for the genre by a guy who knows it inside out. Including Johnny Cash's reading from "Sir Galahad" was a touching masterstroke. I hope Marty returns to the UK soon so that we can hear at least some of the songs live."
"Marty Stuart has a reputation as one of country music's leading historians, and in The Pilgrim he pays homage to the roots of country and its evolution without pandering to the pop/country fizz currently dominating the charts. He draws on those artists who have paved the way in country and his writing is exceptional, as well as his picking, especially the acoustic guitar and mandolin pieces. Although I never felt he was as strong a singer as some other artists, his voice serves Marty well on The Pilgrim, which ranges from hillbilly to bluegrass to rockin' country. There is depth of character and soul as he spins the yarn of a lost soul's eventual redemption. OBSERVATIONS OF A CROW has the same off-beat, funky feel as SISTER SHERYL CROW...from the last album, and one should definitely read the lyrics several times to appreciate the layers of his poetry. This is an album for every Marty fan and certainly for every fan of grassroots country." -- Marsha Goldstein
"The 'Marty Party' is happenin' again! Ambitious? Yes! Does it succeed? The Pilgrim achieves lofty comparison to such musical landmarks as Bobby D's Blonde on Blonde and The Beatles Revolver and/or Sgt. Pepper's... . SERIOUSLY! Upon repeated listenings, this one takes upon it a depth of meaning and, that is not even mentioning all of the mighty fine pickin' & singin' - repeated listenings only heighten the appreciation of the musical grandeur of this noteworthy project. THANKS Marty & "R'n'R Cowboys" (+ friends)! It was worth the wait!!! ROCK-A-HULA!!!"
"This may be the best album I've heard all year, barely beating out Electric Shaver by Billy Joe Shaver. Easily Marty Stuart's best album. I don't think it is a coincidence that Marty's best album is also an album that he produced himself. Without the tamperings of one of Nashville's producers...Marty Stuart was able to create an album that is not 'overproduced'. The music is straightforward, the vocals are clear, and the music feels somewhat 'stripped' for lack of better word. The production mixes well with the story of the album. There is only one song I could do without and that is the second cut on the CD. Everything else on the entire CD works. The story it tells is very compelling and you really get involved with the overall narrative. It's not Red Headed Stranger...but it's as close as anything is likely to come to it. I had been a big Marty Stuart fan, but had been turned off by his last 2 albums. This one firmly re-establishes Marty's country roots. Great album. It will most likely go unnoticed in the music industry...which is a shame. Albums this great are not made often."
"Marty Stuart has built this album around the true hometown story of a tragic love affair and how it affected the life of one of it's principals. While this CD follows a story, each song stands on its own and this makes the album wear well over repeated listenings. I thought 'ahh, after I hear this story 3 or 4 times I'll be sick of it,' but that has not been the case at all. Musically it includes a wide variety of country styles from powerhouse strings to solo mandolin jammin'. I enjoyed 'Observations of a Crow', a quirky laid-back number in which the Pilgrim rates one line only. Ralph Stanley picks a little bluegrass, and Johnny Cash reads a little poetry in a Moody Blues kind of turn at the end. Several other guests pop up along the way, adding to the country-wide feel. Old, new, fast, slow; you've got it all here. And it's good!"
"Marty Party has abandoned the last refuges of his adolescence and has grown up on this album. He's written a lean yet rich thematic album, lushly produced by Tony Brown, with powerful guest appearances by Earl Scruggs and Johnny Cash. I bought this album one week ago and find myself humming a number of verses of different songs; I can identify with many of the lyrics and moods of the characters. Marty probes the emotional psyche far beyond the typical contemporary country songs which all too often focus on pop melodies and not the lyrics. This really is an album about redemption, hitting bottom and coming back, maybe by someone who's been there himself. Congratulations, Marty."
"It's a work of art and Country Music should get on track with where Marty is headed! He'll take any true country music fan on the ride of their life with THE PILGRIM. It's an amazingly visual concept he's developed for country music... and should they decide to take his lead and go with it...Country Music will be all the better for it. Marty, you are a true Pioneer... and a Pilgrim! God Bless You!" --Elizabeth Stone
"I finally got The Pilgrim CD. Bought the last one they had at the Wherehouse. I've always liked music because of how it makes me feel. Even if the feelings and emotions are sad, like the song 'Reasons.' That song made me feel so sad. I really like the song 'Goin' Nowhere Fast,' It reminds me of myself! But my favorite song of all is 'The Greatest Love Of All Time,' I love that song. I wanted to get the CD before I saw him at the Crazy Horse. I want to get his autograph on the cover." -- Patricia Dalton
"THE PILGRIM is the best CD that I have ever purchased. I have one in the truck, I have one in the house, and I have one in my headset. Wherever I journey, THE PILGRIM is there. I listen to it all the time. It is far better than great and a country mile past awesome." -- Jeff Small
"I think THE PILGRIM is one of those once-in-a-lifetime CD's. It's sort of like a diamond. When you hold a diamond up to the light, you can see so many colors and facets. Every time I listen to THE PILGRIM, I hear something new. My favorite track is 'GREATEST LOVE OF ALL TIME'. The mandolin playing in that song just gives me goosebumps. I can't wait to see Marty to tell him how wonderful this collection is. Sometimes, I sit alone in the dark, and through Marty's wonderful use of lyrics, I can actually picture what's happening. I hope that this will be the breakthrough album he needs. If he doesn't win any awards for this, it'll be the biggest crime since the OJ Simpson case. The Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music better sit up and take notice...THE PILGRIM HAS ARRIVED!" -- Nancy Stefanik
"I've got The Pilgrim and it has to be the most totally awesome new CD to come out in a long time!! I just hope Marty FINALLY gets the recognition he deserves!!" -- Nancy Day
"Interesting CD. Awesome arrangement! Marty never ceases to amaze me. His talents go way beyond people's expectations. This is the kind of album that you listen for meaning.......story. Marty's view of this character......it's REAL! Not 'plastic' like everything else that comes out of Nashville these days." -- Matthew Listenfelt
"I listened to my new Pilgrim CD during our entire four-hour trip home from Smiley Hollow and really enjoyed it! Not only is the music of The Pilgrim great, but also the story it tells. It was done very well and in a little different style than we have heard before. We love it and we love you - thanks Marty!" -- Karen Ross
"Marty's creative genius just gets better and better. We sat down and listened to the CD immediately after it came. Then we listened to it again and, yes, one more time. 'Observations of a Crow' we repeated several times. His work is beyond description with special attention to 'Observations of a Crow,' 'Hobo's Prayer' and 'Reasons'. The flow of the story follows very closely to others who have brought in a new direction to and for country music like Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash. THE PILGRIM is what country music needs right now to grow and once again become the power of the nation. Marty has shown us (as he calls it 'an Opry') that spans the styles, variations and the sheer will of country music. Linda has always heard a special something in Marty's voice and his music. Marty's early years is when Linda noticed 'something special'. She could not put her finger on it but she knew it was there. She even told him in person that she 'could not explain' after the last concerts in Sparks. Now I know what Linda could not explain. It goes beyond being a great writer and performer. THE PILGRIM brings together the voice and the talent that brings about change. The Rock and Roll Cowboys were an integral part in the making of THE PILGRIM. Their talents as musicians were an outstanding contribution to the message of Marty's new direction. They also deserve due recognition. Once again, this is not just another country music album. It stands out and above just as the Pilgrims before it to bring us the change of direction. To Marty......Linda and I believe in the work you have done. God bless you and may THE PILGRIM be heard as the new beginning that it is." -- John & Linda Ammons
"It has only been hours since I had my Marty Stuart 'PILGRIM' experience...and haven't yet recovered. I haven't bought the CD yet, but Eric has....he gave it to his sister, Christy, to hear and she just brought it to me this weekend for me to hear...It touched Christy so much....she had never really been exposed much to the type of music on the CD....and it moved her ....she listened to it all the way to Chattanooga...read the cover stories, etc...and read me most of it....but here's my story...
Christy started playing it for me...not expecting my reaction...my emotional reaction surprised ME. I was totally unprepared for those feelings...it was painful, yet heartwarming....never realized that I could feel so homesick and lonesome for my own Daddy and childhood so strongly...he's been gone so long...but there it was and I couldn't do anything about it....I think it scared my daughter to see me break down and cry like I did....she wouldn't complete the songs....only excerpts, bits and pieces....I would pucker. Sounds silly now, but she would move on to the next. My husband was sitting beside me, speechless, himself...it took him to the same place it took me....he was even late for work, not wanting to break away....Christy took it back with her...she had to get back to Nashville and was actually uncomfortable leaving it with me..she doesn't realize that it's ok and a good thing to go back sometimes.....thinking it would hurt me to listen to it all by myself.
I still feel that warm feeling inside...love, blue and all....Christy said, 'It takes you to somewhere, doesn't it?...whether you want to go there, or not.' She was just petting me, hugging me. I remember what it was like to see my mother cry....i didn't like it either but Flatt & Scruggs and Porter Wagoner on EVERY Friday night TV with my daddy glued to the set...the sounds, the feeling, even brought back the sense of the light in the room...spooky...but good.
She was amazed at Marty. She said that he is so full of wisdom...intelligence. It made me smile to hear her praising him like that. The way the CD was put together....like a play...real life. She read me the true story of the pilgrim. She even felt the emotion in all the different voices...and she said about Marty, 'Have you ever seen anyone so beautiful?' And she read his dedication to his wife....well I could go on and on and on....yes, I would say that we LOVE Marty, even more than before....more than just as an entertainer and a legend...but as part of our family....really love the man....you can say we had a Marty Stuart revival meeting....almost spiritual....with everything except the shouting...and it wouldn't have taken much to get that going.
This CD has to win awards. I had just expected another great Marty CD....you know...but it's more...so much more...people have to know and be told to just experience it...it is an experience...I don't know how I will feel after I buy it and listen all that I want to....I imagine the impact will lessen, but never fade completely....I'll soon find out....boy oh boy. I'm still holding a revival meeting......" -- Nola Heatherly
"I just want to comment on The Pilgrim. I love the new hit song. Marty has muchos cahonas for releasing a song that actually is a 'country' song. 'Bout time somebody did it. Drinkin' and heartaches, it always cuts through all the muck, it may not be 'PC', but it feels great. This song reminds me of something Harlan Howard might have wrote, and I guess that's a compliment, right? Gary Hogue's steel is unmatchable (as always), which gives the song such a great flow. At first listen, one might attempt to "lump" The Pilgrim in some category of 'storyline' albums, but with each successive listen, it begins to reveal itself in layers, as a budding flower. A hard ear may be pressed to this CD many times without really hearing the same thing twice. It is well worth the time to sit down and read the lyrics. 'Observations of a Crow' lends itself artistically in a way I have not seen Marty approach previously. Congratulations! (On being a 'crowologist': it is hard to not wonder at times what these birds must be thinking.) Glad I got to hear a 'preview' of this song in November live. That definitely adds one to the old memory banks." -- Lori Weitzell
"The Pilgrim is AMAZING! I can't stop listening to it. I have to put it on every time I get in the car. I just love it. My daughter who is 7 and who has leukemia just loves Marty and loves to listen to The Pilgrim too. We just went this past Friday to the hospital which is about a two-hour drive one way to have one of her treatments and we listened to The Pilgrim going down and coming back (all of the time) Marty.....Sabrina and I just love you and love your music. I had gone the end of May to Ramblers Ranch with my son who I have to say listens to your music too and his favorite song is 'Hillbilly Rock.' Next time (and I hope it's in the near future) when you're up this way again, I want to bring Sabrina. She sure would get a big kick out of seeing you. Again, we just love The Pilgrim. Thanks Marty. -- Sally Milarta
"I bought The Pilgrim this afternoon and have probably listened to it a half dozen times. I am so impressed with the way Marty tells the story with songs. He truly has captured the essence of human frailties and strengths through the beauty of his words. I heard Connie Smith comment that Marty has an 'old soul'. What wonderful insight - when you listen to The Pilgrim, you'll believe it." -- Sandy Meredith
"Just got Marty's new CD. I love it!!! It's the best yet. If radio doesn't play this CD, they're the losers!! With all this crossover stuff they call country, it's so refreshing to hear actual country music. Leave it to the ambassador of country music to remind the world what country music should sound like. Thank You, Marty!!! Country music needs more people like you!!" -- Jeanette Marcel
"I think The Pilgrim is just great. It plays on my computer CD all the time while I'm typing away. Now just have to get the tape for the car (in which I spend 3 hours or more a day). I think my favorite song is 'Reasons' or 'Greatest Love of All Time'...my kind of songs. My husband compared The Pilgrim to Jesus Christ Superstar (coming from a man of the '70s). I already knew you can't get any better than Marty. One day he will get what he deserves. He's certainly not one of the cookie-cutter boys." -- Ruth Gross
"The Pilgrim is one of the most interesting, enjoyable albums that I have ever listened to. I love listening to this album. It takes me back to my own Pilgrimage from my brother's illness to my present life. I never thought that anyone would ever produce or come up with a 'concept album' as great as this one is. I would recommend this album to any and all country music fans. Marty sure has outdone himself and if there was one song that I'd wished to have played at my brothers viewing, it would be 'The Pilgrim.' Marty stirred deep feelings that I thought were long since dead and now I know that everybody whom listens to this album will experience their own Pilgrimage." -- Dawn Watson
"Marty's new CD THE PILGRIM is the greatest. Every song I can listen to over and over. My favorite is "THE PILGRIM" song he has been singing in recent concerts and at the '99 Fan Club Party. Each time I hear the song, I think of my father, whom has been deceased since January, 1982. I think of all the memories I have of him. I really appreciate all of Marty's music, but this CD is the best ever!!! Wish there was a way I could listen to it while I am working, but unfortunately, I can not do so. So as soon as I get home in the evening, I listen to it. It stays in my CD player constantly. My husband, Joey is listening to it when I am at work. It is his favorite CD also!!! Keep up the great work Marty!!!" -- Evelyn Totty
"WHAT AN ALBUM! Over the course of many albums and throughout the years, the people who have listened to Marty's albums have certainly found out what they could and can expect from him, recording-wise. But this album by far surpasses the high expectations I had. It is different. It is special. It is as much a work of love as it is a piece of art. As a concept album, it marks the long-awaited return of Country Music to this type of album. The songwriting is outstanding, and so is the picking and singing, and so is the list of guests (and the long list of historic instruments used). I find it hard to single out songs that I like best. The songs are so closely connected to each other that I find it is a sin to disconnect them. Separating the songs breaks up the story, and what a story it is! As we follow the pilgrim through his life, through ups and downs, pleasure and pain, love and broken hearts, Marty takes us on a trip through Country Music. Picking-wise, one of the highlights has to be the melody and guitar break of 'You Are My Flower' woven into the song 'Truckstop'. Also, Marty has found a way to find the ultimate guests to fill the spots he wanted to be filled by others. And who could better recite those two verses from the poem than the owner of the most fascinating voice I've ever heard, Johnny Cash. As a longtime Marty Stuart fan, I'm proud of him for this album. I've always been proud to be a Marty Stuart fan, but never more than now. God bless you for this masterpiece, Marty! Thank you for sharing this wonderful music with the world! P.S. '..... and maybe every year or so, I'll drop a card to to you, to tell you I'm still listening, so sing it pretty.....' well, you know the rest."-- Your friend Bernd Wolf, Hennef, Germany
"The Pilgrim is an amazing album. If awards are not won for this album I will be very surprised. I think it should be classified as a musical production, and I could see a stage production being made from it. It isn't just a collection of songs, it follows a theme and is wonderfully done. "The Pilgrim" is my favorite song. It brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it. This song appears to have a great impact on a lot of people. I noticed at Fan Fair and the Superstar Spectacular when Marty started to sing this particular song everyone (at least around me) got so quite you could hear a pin drop(!) and then exploded into applause. I will be purchasing another copy of this album, because I know I will wear it out." -- Pat McLaughlin
"As I sit here listening to The Pilgrim as I write, it is so hard to choose a favorite, but I will try, but instead of skipping over to "Greatest Love"....I'll try to start at the beginning with "Sometimes the Pleasures Worth the Pain" and it's grand intro. You can see through the Pilgrim how it all began, maybe he was wishing at times it never had started or that it should end, but he was always being drawn back to her. Isn't that the way with love? Emmylou gives us just one little inkling of Rita's view too. Did we ever wonder how she might have felt? And was she and the Pilgrim ever alone in their journeys after all this happened? They still had their love for each other with them wherever they went on their journeys, or they'd have never gotten back together after those years of wandering. With all the tragedy and pain in their lives, they found each other again and were able to repair all the damage and be happy again. That is truly a nutshell view of the story. But it is a beautiful ending to a tragic story.
He carried us through this album; through the love, the tragedy, the pain, and back to love. My favorite song on the album is "Greatest Love of All Time" and if it isn't a single with a video to carry it along it will be a shame. Marty has outdone himself on this song and this album. It carries you through all sorts of emotions; the elation of the beginning of love, the heartbreak of a tragedy, and finding out the truth; the sorrows and regrets that are endured, and finally the realization of the love that is there -- regardless of the circumstances.
Not much more I can add to that. I am just so overwhelmed by this album and nearly wore out a tape coming home. I bought my first CD at the party and had another waiting for me from CDNow when I got home! Hey, just can't get too much of such a talent! Right?
Mesmerized." -- Mary Runyan
"Thank God for Marty Stuart! He's the keeper of the flame of traditional country music, and he does it so well. These songs are unbelievably real and endlessly compelling. There is no greater ambassador for country music today, and The Pilgrim is evidence of that fact." -- Macreena Doyle
"The Pilgrim has got to be Marty's best effort yet. While it may not have the 'ear candy' that radio loves so, this is obviously an project not only written from Marty's heart, but his soul as well. The love triangle/suicide could have been considered by critics as a great angle, had it not been true. Not only does the story become so heartbreaking through the music, but it would make a wonderful movie of the week or a play (this is something Marty should have considered!). While "Red Red Wine and Cheating Songs" isn't seeing much commercial success, it's an wonderful song. The next single could be either "The Greatest Love of All Time" or "Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain". I give this album five stars. The best." -- Sherry Wise
"Awesome" -- Rita Marshall
"I love it." -- Patty Double
"The Pilgrim is terrific. Marty can be real proud of it." -- Donna Schmehl
"Well, I went immediately after work today and bought my copy of the CD. am even more impressed now than when we heard the CD in Sparks, NV. I liked many of the songs when I heard it then, now the whole project just flows together just as I am sure Marty had envisioned this project. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite song. Although 'The Observations of the Crow' might be a frontrunner, as well as 'Reasons,' 'The Pilgrim' and 'Draggin' Around These Chains of Love," and then of course what could be my life theme song 'Goin' Nowhere Fast.' I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I did. The man is definitely under appreciated by the powers that be. So much talent." -- Deanna Stevens
"This album has several very creative layers. It is so much more than an album of music. It is very eclectic as far as different styles of country music. From country the way Jimmy Rogers might sing to echoes of 'Tempted' to Honky Tonk etc. It combines instrumental, verse and song and knits them into a beautifully told story. Each song seems to tell different emotions that those involved in this sad tale must have felt. But even with a story that has alot of sadness in it Marty managed to put a little sparkle of humor in it with 'The Observations of a Crow.' He is very good at that! I have always loved Marty for the instrumental choices he uses in his music, The choices he as made in this album are extremely wonderful. The intro really draws you in, Emmylou singing the first part of 'The Pilgrim' is beautiful and haunting. And the far echoes of train whistles in certain places in the album make you feel like you are with the Pilgrim as he wanders. I also feel that as Marty has matured and his life has become richer and fuller, so has his writing. His songs have a more finished and complete feel to them." -- Jana Jeffs
"I have got to say that this is a truly remarkable and OUTSTANDING piece of work!!! AWESOME CD!!! Best I have heard from ANYONE in a very long time! I dearly hope he gets the recognition he deserves for this! This is TRULY a CLASSIC!" -- Justina
"I just got The Pilgrim today and WOW! What a great project. I love it. I think you've done gone and moved up to a higher level on us with this one." -- Greg Moody
"The new album is fantastic. It's not just an album, it's a masterpiece! The entire story flows and I can't stop listening to it." -- Margie Sullivan
"I love the album, it is fantastic. The instrumentals are absolutely awesome." -- Eve Semanie
"I love it and I have played it at least 10 times. I wish there was a way to have it heard everywhere! I think Marty is great. After all he does he should be more recognized!" -- Kim Moore
"It is absolutely FABULOUS! We were awed by the story, the instrumentals and the whole thing. Marty has got to win an award for it." -- June Yovanovich
"The Pilgrim is the best yet from Marty!! I am wearing out the CD and tape...but that's ok... I can always go buy another... -- Bobbi Johnson
"It's an awesome 'story' album. Marty has created a masterpiece." Toni Marteney
"The new CD is incredible and I just can't stop listening to it. Must've listened to it at least 20 times (or more??) since last Monday. Don't think I will ever get tired of it. Still trying to decide if I have a favorite song. So far, can't pick just one! Marty's talent and dedication to tradition goes way beyond anything else out there in country or any other type of music. Let's just hope this album gets him recognized for that." J.H.
"As for THE PILGRIM........it has to be the most amazing album he has done. What a historic event. It makes me cry, laugh, and realize how wonderful life is. I hope the world knows about this album and it flies off the shelves. He has to be the most talented individual in the business right now. His honesty, compassion and his undying love for the tradition of country music can be matched by no one!! What more can be said except AMEN!!" -- Reneé Ollhoff
"As for The Pilgrim - what can I say that you all haven't said already - I love it." -- Jill Brown
"This is the most wonderful piece of work by any artist in a very long time! I only hope that it receives the recognition that it deserves. I have never listened to a CD that flows so nicely and that is so cohesive. Marty is truly an amazing talent." -- Kathy Vierra
"There are not enough words of praise to describe this tablet of heart-wrenching emotion. If this album does not bring down the wall of MCA nothing will. I have been searching for a way to really show Marty how much this masterpiece really means to us, but I have fallen short. If anyone can come up with a sincere way to express our appreciation please come forth and share it with all of us. I have yet to listen to anything that can compare to the magnitude of this album, I guess the real question is.............how can he outdo this one?" -- Penny Risk
"There are no words that can do justice to The Pilgrim. The more you listen to it, the more you get hooked on it. I was from the first time I heard it. Where does Marty keep coming up with all this talent? Writing music, playing it, recording and producing plus his genius with the camera. Not to mention his rapport with people (his fans especially). What's next?" -- Brenda Metz
"This has got to be my new favorite album. This is Marty Stuart at his best. Just when you think he is at his best, he goes and outdoes himself. I love the idea of a concept album. The traditional country sound is alive and well on this album. The songs flow together so well. You can close your eyes and imagine all this taking place. The whole album tells the story so well. Even if I hadn't heard Marty tell the story of the album, I think I could have understood it just as well. I would love to see this as a movie or play or both. The booklet that comes with the CD reads like a script or play, when you read the words of each song. This album deserves all the thumbs up and stars that you can give it. Leave it to Marty to 'Keep it Country.' Just the way we like it." -- Bev Kerr
"I asked (my son) Nick this: What would you say about Marty's new CD? His reply 'I LOVE IT!' And I totally agree! This is excellent music! It's been well worth the wait. We play the CD over and over again and when we're not playing it, the songs are still going through my head. I couldn't begin to pick a favorite - so far every song is my favorite. I'll have to admit I wasn't sure about this concept album idea when I first heard about it and wasn't very hip on the idea of it being called The Pilgrim, but after hearing it and reading the booklet, it all makes sense. Marty just has an awesome ability when it comes to interpreting a story into music. I can't wait till next years Grammy Awards when we all see our man Marty accepting his Grammy for The Pilgrim!" -- Lori Shirley
"I will probably have to say that I think that this is my favorite of all of Marty's CD. But, I also said that about all the other ones he had. He seems to just improve on each and everyone. When I listen to it (which is all the time), I can just picture like a movie in my mind the events unfolding. "The Observations of a Crow." I can just see Marty as the Pilgrim and walking below the Crow in that long black coat. I love all the songs on CD but I would have to say my two favorite songs on it would have to be 'The Greatest Love of All Time' and 'The Pilgrim.' I love the Mandolin playing on those two songs. Marty just amazes me with his talent on it. I think that this CD would make a great movie." -- Tracy Slone
"Oh yes, my friend, I have a copy and have played the fire out of it!! Let me see......Not only do I think it is a BRILLIANT piece of work about Norman and Rita, I think I see a little bit about Marty himself in it as well. Can you feel the loneliness of a small boy leaving home at a such a young age and going from place to place, knowing he is a circle in a world full of squares, following his heart and not conforming to the rules and regulations of the Nashville sound. Marty told me himself he has had broken commitments and that don't feel too good, 'Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain' sums that up. When he had doubts back in he late 80's where did he go but home to his mama and the Lord -- that rips at the heart strings. 'The Greatest Love of all Time' of course is Connie, that is evident just by looking at them. I see the crow as watching over us sort of like the Lord. He knows what's going on. The Pilgrim, like Marty, knows where he has been and knows where he is going and has a steady hand to guide him. Marty in this album has followed his heart and and has put the roots of country into the music as well. This album should go down in the history books as one of the greatest ever recorded." -- Sheila Walters
"I am thoroughly enjoying The Pilgrim. Each time I listen to the CD, I get a little something different out of it. I think I am responding more and more to the story each time. You know, Marty has so much talent and vision, that sometimes I think radio and media are afraid to take him on!! I enjoy all the songs, but one of my favorites is 'The Observations of a Crow'! What a vision!! 'Draggin' Around These Chains of Love' should definitely be released as a single! The Pilgrim has once again reminded me of why I am a TRUE Marty Stuart FAN and will always remain one! The Pilgrim is and will remain truly a MASTERPIECE!!" -- LaDonna Cable
"Well, what can I say about The Pilgrim. When I first heard a couple of songs, 'The Pilgrim,' 'Sometimes The Pleasure's Worth The Pain,' and 'Red, Red Wine and Cheatin' Songs' that were going to be on The Pilgrim album, I was dying to hear how Marty would put them all together. Then I got to hear the completed album when we were in Sparks.....what can I say?!?!? I am still in awe of the genius it took to bring this project to life. The cut 'Observation Of A Crow' is a wonderful example of the great writing on the album. It is an amazing story to begin with and the way that Marty took us through the story is great. Marty is such a wonderful story teller as we all know, and the songs on this album are no exception. He continues to grow and mature in his writing. I am so very glad that MCA allowed him to do this album and give him the freedom that they did. I can only hope that radio and the fans in general embrace this album for all it is worth. There are a couple of very radio-friendly songs on the album. 'Goin' Nowhere Fast' and 'Red, Red Wine and Cheatin' Songs' are the top two that come to mind. And then there is one of the best wedding song ever in 'The Greatest Love Of All Time.' That is the song that I will play at my wedding some day! I hope that all country music fans get this album and get all the messages that Marty intended out of it." -- Heather Rusché
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