Marty Stuart Welcomes Eric Church, Charley Pride And Many Others To Annual Late Night Jam

This appeared on - June 11, 2015

After the CMT Music Awards last night (June 10), the 14th annual Marty Stuart’s Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium skillfully mixed current and legendary talent for an event like no other that played into the wee hours.

Backed by his ace band the Fabulous Superlatives, Marty showcased his instrumental prowess and wisecracked with the host, Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs, between songs. Marty’s wife, Country Music Hall of Fame member Connie Smith, made regular appearances to duet, dance or sing solo (like her always-powerful version of “How Great Thou Art”) with her own band, the Sundowners—now including Hall of Fame pianist Hargus “Pig” Robbins.

Talent represented all points along the spectrum, including rising acts like Brothers Osborne, New Zealand folk-rockers The Bads and 10-year-old ukulele-strumming torch singer EmiSunshine, who belted the blues like a lost star of Chess Records. At the other end, the legendary Charley Pride delighted the crowd with “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’,” and songwriter Jimmy Webb recounted meeting Frank Sinatra and working with Glen Campbell between renditions of “Wichita Lineman” and “Highwayman.”

Headlining the event—a benefit for MusiCares—was Eric Church, who certainly lived up to the event’s “Jam” moniker with a loose, freewheeling set of tunes. After singing with Marty on the Travis Tritt collaboration “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’,” Eric introduced Chris and Morgane Stapleton and Little Big Town’s Phillip Sweet and Karen Fairchild to the stage for a romp through The Band’s “The Weight” and Little Big Town’s “Girl Crush.”

Just before 2 a.m. the show wrapped, as always, with the traditional performance of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” led by Marty. Late night and all, it was an excellent way to get in the spirit for the rest of CMA Music Festival week.

By Jon Freeman

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