Smith, Stuart Still Carry The Flame At Fair

This appeared on - September 2, 2011

The Du Quoin State Fair turned into the Grand Ole Opry for just one night.

Two keepers of the flame of traditional country music, Marty Stuart and Connie Smith, performed classics new and old for the Thursday night Grandstand audience.

Smith's opening set - smooth and soulful - was a perfect compliment to Stuart's more rowdy brand of hillbilly twang, giving listeners an introductory course of the history of country music.

Smith's ballads were the highlights of her set, such as the song "Lookin' For a Reason," written for Stuart, her husband of 14 years.

A rendition of "Amazing Grace," Smith's closing song, she called the story of her life.

For his part, Stuart took the stage and opened with a raucous version of the country standard "Stop the World and Let Me Off," setting the pace for the rest of the evening with spirited guitar interaction with guitarist Kenny Vaughn.

Before launching into his next song, "Sundown in Nashville," Stuart praised Smith, saying she was the best singer in Nashville.

"I might have married her once," Stuart joked.

Throughout his lively set, Stuart's band, The Fabulous Superlatives, displayed their incredible musicianship on hits such as "Tempted," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' Anymore," and "This One's Gonna Hurt You (for a Long, Long Time.)"

Smith is on tour to promote her new album, Long Line of Heartaches, her first album of new material in 13 years, and only her second since 1978. She's been on tour to promote the album, and her tour and Stuart's happened to intersect in Du Quoin.

"We're glad we can meet in the middle," Smith said backstage before her performance. "I love doing shows with him. I feel more like I'm home when he's around."

Smith said she was very happy with her new album, which was produced by Stuart, because she is able to present new material for her fans, who have stuck by her for 47 years.

"I feel like - when I quit in the ‘60s - it's a continuation of basically the same types of songs because I never changed my musical tastes," Smith said.

By Brent Stewart

Return To Articles Return To Home Page