Marty Quotes

On being at The Rolling Stones concert in Nashville in October 1997: "It's the first time I've ever paid $70 to be kicked in the butt. And I enjoyed it. They totally rocked this town. I loved it."

"If I HAD TO do it again, I would not have said 'old fart' onstage on the night I was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. I was referring to the older country music audience. It was the night after Roy Acuff had been buried. I'd been praising all of the new converts that country music has, but then I played an old traditional song. I think it was 'Long Black Veil.' And I said, 'I'd like to sing you old farts a song.' Right there in church.

On Johnny Cash: "Wherever you get on the Johnny Cash train, just keep going. There's a whole lot more to him than what you see. Johnny was a master showman. He set it up that way, to be remembered, so there'd be plays and box sets and all that jazz."

"What the Ryman does to me is it brings country music back into focus. We almost lost it a time or two. That scared me to death."

"From watching Lester (Flatt), I learned that it's important to be loyal to the people who made you and bought your music. He called me up to the front of the (tour) bus on the very first trip I went on with him. Lester pointed out two elderly people who were walking towards the but. He said, 'Those two people have been coming to see me since the mid 40's. That's what a country fan is all about.' "

-- Marty Stuart, 1994

"Clarence was a major influence. I never heard guitar played like that before. I was really into Maybelle Carter, that simple autoharp kind of guitar. Clarence’s syncopated rhythms just moved me; it was bluegrass that went to another level. When I saw him perform, I thought his personality and the way he looked was so cool. He was James Dean cool. He was Bob Dylan cool. He instantly became my idol. I really tore into his style of acoustic playing and tried to make it fit into what I was doing with Lester Flatt, which was hard to do. But what really threw me for a loop was Sweetheart of the Rodeo, especially the song “One Hundred Years from Now.” That bender was just incredible.

Somebody once called his style quirky, and that’s about the best description I ever heard. It was the way he placed his notes. As a country player, he was a monster. As a rock and roller, he was so original. Had he lived, I’d have to believe that Clarence would have eventually wound up in a country band, and I think that, hands down, he would have been the greatest guitar player there ever was.

I have his Telecaster, and that guitar has a following. Almost everywhere we play, people come up to me and want to touch it. That guitar is always welcome to anyone who wants to play it. That guitar is to be shared. I feel lucky to even be holding it."

"To me, it's like busting down one of the national monuments in Washington." (on the news that Gaylord Entertainment was considering changing the format for WSM-AM radio--home of the Grand Ole Opry and classic country music)

--Marty Stuart (1/4/2002)

On the late June Carter Cash: "Her contributions to our culture will forever be regarded as timeless."

Marty Stuart (05/16/2003)

"The truth of country music, the real stuff, will prevail ..... generation after generation."

Marty Stuart (2003)

On WSM-AM disk jockey, Eddie Stubbs: "Everybody understands that he knows more about it than anybody else, and they just defer to him, He's a beacon. He's a reminder of greatness. Any time you need to know where the standard lies, tune in. I really get a kick out of listening to him when he has to announce a contemporary country artist. It's like pulling gravel out of his mouth. It just doesn't come out the same as when he's talking about some obscure dead hillbilly."

Marty Stuart (2003)

On the great Sam Phillips: ''He left a lot of footprints for a lot of us to follow. It had a lot to do with the word 'freedom' -- no boundaries. It's what's in your heart and what's yours alone -- what your natural thing is. That's a good lesson for all of us to live by. What I see is that set of footprints...a total individual...a total american innovator...a revolutionary and a peace maker. And he did all these things with music."

Marty Stuart (August 7, 2003)

"I have lost one of my best friends It leaves a dark void in my life that is blacker than any coat he ever wore. He is irreplaceable. Even in death I have no doubt that Johnny Cash will continue to live on as an inspiration to musicians and songwriters and all of America."

Marty Stuart (September 12, 2003)

"The electricity around Gary Stewart was so powerful that it was hard to stand next to him. He had so many sparks flying off him. And when he'd get through with a three-chord honky-tonk song, he'd poured so much of himself into it that he was basically just shaking and had to go hang onto something when the song was over. He had a powerful energy about him."

Marty Stuart (December 17, 2003)

On the news that WSM-AM had dropped Eddie Stubbs' "Classic Country" program from their airwaves, "This is a brokenhearted affair. It's the homogenization of America and WSM has fallen suit. I believe in the future of country music as much as the past. My question is, 'Why do we have to disinherit our forefathers and put all that in the dumpster to put a new face on the station?' Shame on WSM."

Marty Stuart (March 2004)

On the death of Ray Charles: "People remember the big hits and the visual image of him, but they forget what an innovator he was in the 1950s as a jazz musician. He made inroads for all of us when he did 'I Can't Stop Loving You.' It took country music to places it hadn't been before."

Marty Stuart (June 11, 2004)

On the great Earl Scruggs: "There's nobody left in our town of his ilk and his magnificence. He's left such a profound influence on so many of our lives."

Marty Stuart (September 2004)

"I love crows. They are strange birds and they dress like Johnny Cash."

On the great Jimmy Martin: "Jimmy was always too much of a rebel. He was too strong, he was too pure, he was too real. He didn't have enough sense to tone it down. Thank God! He's a stone-cold musical genius."

In the liner notes of Martina McBride's Timeless CD, "The silence of the falling star, the sound of a lonesome whippoorwill, a purple sky, the cry of a train … the beat of your heart against a gentle Southern breeze are all but signs of assurance that you are at one with the heart of country music; and at the heart of country music, I feel God."

On Janette Carter: "She drank of the original cup and she is now the foundation that sustains us as our spirit grows thirsty in a sea of musical conformity."

On John Carter Cash: "He's come a long way from the days when he'd walk around Lower Broad with an iguana on his shoulder. I could not be prouder of anybody than I am of John Carter. To go through what he endured in a year's time and then have the entire circus dumped on his shoulders, that would not be an easy place for anybody to be. But you know what? He's truly become his father's son. He's at peace with himself and what he has to do." John Carter became a source of friendship and strength to lean on when Marty faced his own problems with backsliding into alcohol and drugs. " He was a beacon I turned to. He gave me worlds of encouragement when I most needed them."

On his return to Nashville from performing a show in Norway on July 8, 2006: "I arrived home on Sunday. The rest of me will be home today (Wednesday)."

On the death of Josh Graves, Marty said, "He brought the Southern blues style to his instrument and gave it an elegance. "Whatever he played, it always came out as blues. Lester Flatt used to say that Josh could make a blues out of 'The Old Rugged Cross'."'

On the passing of Buddy Killen: "Pioneers like Buddy Killen came to this business with a vision and he knew how to Sheppard young songwriters and knew the worth of a good song. He was a country boy with a big city understanding when it was still just a mom and pop business. Buddy Killen should always be remembered as a pioneer and a good man,”

On the dealth of Del Reeves: "He epitomized the '60s country star, from the clothes to the demeanor to the hairdo to the guitar to the pointy-toed boots. And at a time when Nashville was known for 'twang,' he was the king of that. The word is 'entertainer.' Give Del Reeves a microphone, a light bulb and an audience, and there was no doubt that there was going to be a show. That man knew what to do. He was a pro."

On bluegrass great Rhonda Vincent: "I wish the world would go ahead and let her in because she's been knocking on the door a long time, and she's going to get in one way or another."

On the legendary Loretta Lynn: “She truly is an American folk hero. She’s the personification of the American dream.”

On George Strait: "Every hat act that has crossed the Red River since the early '80s owes a debt of gratitude to George Strait."

On Mother Maybell Carter: "I loved her autoharp kind of rhythm"

On Manuel: "He's like my brother. He just happens to be a brother that makes costumes."

On The Sullivan Family: "They were kind enough to give me my start in the music business in 1970."

On Merle Haggard: "He is the truth and he is beyond trends. He's a well-traveled liver of life, a rascal, a poet, a picker, our singer, a cat among cats."

On Dolly Parton: "She's a great business lady. When she comes into a meeting, you're gonna leave seein' it her way and glad you saw it her way ... 'cause she's brilliant."

On the great Gene Watson: " Gene Watson is as authentic as Texas rain and is a true master of the country song."

On Manuel, the clothier, "His clothes and his designs come from the heart, not the assembly line. He's my brother. He's never wavered in the best of times or the worst. I love him."

On today's kids performing at bluegrass festivals: "Right there’s a case in point of the tradition being alive and well. Go to bluegrass shows. Those kids can really play banjos, sing lead and write songs.”

On Everett Lilly: "I think when we all get to Heaven we’re gonna find out that Everett Lilly is God’s favorite mandolin player — and mine, too."

On Doc Watson: "Here was this silver-haired man looking like the patron saint of mountain music."

On the late, great Eddy Arnold: "I think he was absolutely one of the people at the forefront. When he dropped the moniker 'Tennessee Plowboy' and put on a tuxedo, that said it all. He made Dean Martin and Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra notice that country music was serious in a whole other way instead of just hillbillies."

"A Johnny Cash record without Luther Perkins on it was only HALF a Cash record."

On the late, Don Helms (great steel guitar player with Hank Williams, Sr. and who played on so many hit records), "In my mind, he was the dean of Nashville musicians. He served at the foundation level for the family of country music. He kept that same steel under his bed. I'd go get that guitar and hand him his picks and he'd play 'Walkin' After Midnight' and 'Cold, Cold Heart' and just freeze me to death. When he was through, you realized 'There wouldn't be this part of country misic if it hadn't been for Don Helms' He truly was an essential part of the Hank Williams legacy. The story I hadn't heard until recently was about the last time he saw Hank. Somebody asked him about it on one of those Q&A panels we often have here. He said they were recording and Hank walked up -- he called him Shag because of his curly hair -- and said 'Shag, I got a new song I just come up with. I want you to give me a pretty kickoff for it. It goes something like this.' Don said, 'We recorded the thing, we did it in one take, then Hank said 'I'm tired' and he left the studio. That was the last I ever saw him. The song was 'Your Cheatin' Heart.' " That was in September 1952. The record was released posthumously and became one of Williams' biggest hits."

On Tom Brumley: "I grew up watching The Buckaroos. To me, they were country music's answer to The Beatles. Tom's steel guitar parts stand as monumental and foundational works that are considered textbook in the vocabulary of country music. He was also, in my opinion, one of the cornerstone guys that kind of bridged country music and rock 'n' roll, as well, with his Ricky Nelson works."

On famed songwriter and guitarist Tim Krekel: "Tim was a musical citizen of the world. I always called him Mr. Louisville after he left Nashville. A lot of musicians and songwriters in Nashville lost a friend, but Louisville truly lost a musical citizen, one of their main warriors. Tim was the tollbooth to Louisville. You had to go past his gate to get to the real stuff."

On the first Opry show (May 4) after the great flood of 2010, "Our family, our songs, and our spirit live on."

"Country music has lost one of its royal figures," on Charlie Louvin who passed away on January 26, 2011. Another quote from Marty: "Growing up in the South, the Louvin Brothers were part of the atmosphere; like the scent of magnolias, they were part of the breeze."

"I feel that I'm at the dead center of my destiny. I've got the best band I've had in my life, and I don't have to pander anymore to stuff that I don't believe in. I follow my heart. It's that simple."

On the great Earl Scruggs, back in 2000, Marty said, "The music pioneer would play with anyone who would have him — everyone from Bob Dylan to Elton John. He was the man who melted walls, and he did it without saying three words.”

On Doc Watson: "Doc's probably one of the purest pieces of American folk music we have. He really has become a figurehead, in my opinion, for that style of music. He's the Satchmo of folk music. He's a beautiful person."

On the passing of George Jones: "[George Jones was] the third wave in country music. The first wave was the Carter Famiy and Jimmie Rodgers, and then Hank Williams revolutionized the music. After Hank there were a lot of people who were still under the sound of Hank Williams and taking their persona from that. When George came through, his originality and genius appeared and his unique perspective came through, and country music had a new singer that to this day is unparalleled."

On Willie Nelson: "What a timeless character! Age is just a number that slides off of Willie like butter off of Teflon. Man, I can't imagine the world without Willie and his perspective. My wife Connie and I were coming back from Mississippi the other day listening to some of his earliest recordings when he was just writing songs before he ever had a hit. He had it together way back then. He saw things and heard things that it took others a while to get to. That's the definition of a visionary. I love his soul. I love Willie's spirit. He entertains me and he is my friend."

On the great Ray Price: "Ray's last recordings are a powerful bookend to one of he greatest bodies of work in the history of country music. What a treasure."

On great blues legend B.B. King: "As a fellow Mississippian, I'm so proud to stand in his shadow as I walk across the world."

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