Melody Fair: Marty Stuart

This article appeared in The Buffalo News - August 18, 1995

Waylon's the man but Marty Stuart is the "king." The hot string-bender with the Elvis stage persona stepped up to headline Friday night at Melody Fair when maverick country legend Waylon Jennings canceled his show due to illness.

Like Waylon and outlaw compadre Johnny Cash, Stuart favors rock-hard music that grows out of country roots and honky tonk.

As a 13-year old mandolin whiz, Stuart served his apprenticeship with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt, joining Johnny Cash's band when his mentor died.

His "hillbilly rock" style is founded on the bedrock of bluegrass, country and rockabilly. The star-spangled cowboy with fretboard narrow legs rocked into "Swinging Doors," an ode to the hard-drinking honky tonk life, cranked up the rockabilly "Shake That Thing," and moved on to "Western Girls," a cow-punk screamer that had the line-dance queens strutting outside exit three.

"Wild One" evoked the Brando film classic with a rocking theme while "Little Things" combined a Beatles flair with country twang. "Wayfaring Stranger" and "Long Black Veil" were part of a Stuart tribute to all the bluegrass legends whose spirit he keeps burning brightly. He even drives in the tour bus that belonged to Ernest Tubb and plays Hank Williams' old Martin D-45.

Review written by Jim Santella

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