Marty Stuart

This appeared in the book New Country: Today's Brightest Stars

If there were an embodiment of the phrase "new traditionalist," it would be the person who is Marty Stuart. He is a New Country star conscious of country music roots, who has played with some of the most influential gospel, bluegrass, rockabilly and country acts. He reveres that upbringing and he maintains the tradition.

Marty was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi and showed an early aptitude for music. At the age of 12 he was hired to play mandolin with the Sullivan family gospel group that played in the bluegrass style. A year later, Marty's proficiency on the instrument led him to Lester Flatt's touring group. The legendary master of bluegrass took Marty under his wing as they toured for about eight years. After Lester's death in 1979, Marty played for Johnny Cash six years, joined the "bluegrass fusion" movement with the likes of Vassar Clements, and recorded a couple of albums--Marty: With A Little Help From My Friends, self-recorded on Ridge Runner Records, and Busy Bee Cafe on the regional Sugar Hill label. Nashville was taking notice and, in the mid-1980s, Marty recorded a couple of albums for Columbia, but only one was released and poor promotion temporarily interrupted Marty's rise.

He returned to Mississippi to take stock of his roots and to rejoin the Sullivan Family. Then, readjusted, he returned to Nashville. Marty signed with MCA Records and almost immediately took off like a rocket with his first albums Hillbilly Rock, Tempted and This One's Gonna Hurt You. "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' " was a number one single, a duet with Travis Tritt off the latter's album "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time)" was a Tritt collaboration off Marty's album. This song received notice as the freshest New Country activity in years. The pair received the "Vocal Event" Award from the Country Music Association in 1992. In a sense, Marty Stuart has joined country music legends; it's where he wants to be and where he belongs.

Return To Articles Return To Home Page