Marty Stuart: My Nashville

This appeared in Country Music Today - July/August 2003

Honky-tonk troubadour Marty Stuart was born in Philadelphia, Mississippi in 1958. In 1972, the 13-year-old mandolin prodigy moved to Nashville and soon joined bluegrass legend Lester Flatt's band. His new album, due in July, is simply --and proudly -- called Country Music. And this summer, he'll be heading up the CMT-sponsored Electric Barnyard tour, which will feature Merle Haggard, Rhonda Vincent, BR549, Old Crow Medicine Show and Connie Smith (Marty's wife). When considering all that Music City has to offer, Marty, who lives north of the city on Old Hickory Lake in Hendersonville, says, "I long to find the real stuff." From scouring local record shops to stargazing at his neighborhood grocery store, here's how Marty keeps it real.

Favorite historical spot that not many people are aware of: Jimmy Martin's tombstone! (Spring Hill Cemetery, 5106 Gallatin Road). [At 75 years old, Jimmy a/k/a "The King of Bluegrass," is alive and well. He paid for the marker himself and had it placed directly from Roy Acuff's grave.]

Favorite place to spot celebrities: Kroger (170 East Main Street, Hendersonville)

Favorite clothing store: Manuel's (1922 Broadway)

Favorite record stores: Ernest Tubb's Record Shop (417 Broadway) and The Great Escape (1925 Broadway)

Last great find: I found a nice copy of "Honky Tonkin'," a very obscure Sterling recording of Hank Williams before he was on MGM. It's kind of like the early Elvis recordings on Sun. Those are really hard to come by.

Favorite bookstore: Elder's (2115 Elliston Place)

Favorite restaurants: Upscale: F. Scott's (2210 Crestmoor Road); Sunday Brunch: The Palm (140 - 5th Avenue South); Moderately priced: Granite Falls (2000 Broadway); Greasy spoon: Swett's (2725 Clifton Avenue and 900 - 8th Avenue North); Best kept secret: El Alteño (900 Conference Drive, Goodlettsville) It's a little Mexican restaurant in a shopping center. Connie turned me on to it.

My Saturday routine: I'm an early riser. I love to get up at 7 in the morning, make coffee, turn on WSM-AM and listen to Eddie Stubbs 'til 10 o'clock, wash my car, watch TV and hang out with Connie Smith.

Favorite fishing spot: I love to watch people fish. I fish in my mind a lot. I see people come by in their boats, and it's such an art form now, and such a business. But my idea of fishing is a cane pole, a line, a cork and a worm.

Favorite view: You turn by the Mason Motel (900 South Dickerson Road) and go down Old Dickerson Road about sundown and just drive until you see the city pop up over the hill. It's a beautiful spot.

Favorite Nashville spot that brings back fond memories: The Ryman Auditorium (116 - 5th Avenue North). It's the first place I ever played in Nashville, I was 13, and Lester Flatt introduced me and let me play a song. I was so little, I had to stand on my tiptoes to get the mandolin to the microphone. At the end of the song, I encored. I thought I had done something wrong. I looked at Lester and I said, "What do I do?" He said, "Do it again." I couldn't have asked for a better entrance into the town.

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