Marty's Party Plays It Strait

This appeared in Sun Media - December 6, 1998

Every country fan knows that there's nothing quite like a Marty Party -- Marty Stuart that is.

And we're all in luck because Stuart's bringing his awesome stage show to Strait's Dance Hall & Saloon in Bells Corners tonight.

Known for his cutting-edge country and spectacular live shows, Stuart has successfully bridged the gap between traditional and contemporary country for years.

Oh yeah, there's also a penchant for eye-popping suits.

Stuart's taking a couple of days off from a hectic studio schedule to knock off shows in Connecticut and Ottawa but he's set to get right back to work on his new CD -- which he says is something of a departure.

"The project is called The Pilgrim and it's a concept record. I've been writing material for it for over two years. The story line is a tragic love story with a happy ending set to the backdrop of country music style starting at A.P. Carter's front porch and landing out there at the mysterious edge of the 21st century," Stuart says with a laugh from Nashville.

"Along the way we've had some amazing talent come into the studio to give us a hand. Pam Tillis, Emmylou Harris, Ralph Stanley, Earl Scruggs and that's where we are at this point."

Stuart says he figures the idea of a concept album seems appropriate and his record company -- MCA Nashville -- has taken to the idea as well.

"I approached them about it around two years ago and frankly I figured they'd probably have me escorted out of the building by armed guards but they said go for it."

In today's hit-oriented environment, you might think Stuart's going out on a limb with the concept disc but he reminds us that the format is still hit-single-friendly.

"Just remember that Willie Nelson's Red Headed Stranger had "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain" and Pink Floyd's The Wall had "Comfortably Numb." So I think when we get The Pilgrim out, people will find there are some commercial moments contained there. I'd say there are at least three songs that look to be ready for radio."

The other thing Stuart noticed is that, because of Nashville's current assembly line mentality, his studio musicians are getting a blast out of going into reasonably uncharted waters with this session.

"I was just saying to my wife Connie (Smith) last night that this is the first album I'm ever recorded where the players have actually come up and thanked me for doing it."

By Rick Overall

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