Keith Urban, Vince Gill + More 'Jam' With Marty Stuart

This appeared on - June 11, 2010

There are always several common threads running through Marty Stuart's annual Late Night Jam, with the top two being fun and great music. This year's event was no exception. From the recognizable hits of Marty's career to the hot licks played by a 12-year-old up-and-coming guitar picker, fans were treated to an unforgettable evening of entertainment.

After performing a few songs, Marty paused to introduce "my friend Keith Urban." The crowd went wild as Keith hit the stage to sing and jam with Marty. At one point, Marty paused to say of his friend, "This man has been there to help from the very beginning when the flood hit Nashville, and he's always there when there's a cause he can help with."

Keith received a standing ovation as he left the stage, and was followed by another super musician, nine-year-old Kell Martin, the son of Marty's bass player, Paul Martin. Kell stepped forward to play 'Maple Leaf Rag' on the piano at the invitation of Marty, who was obviously blown away by the youngster's performance. A little later, Paul's 12-year-old son, March Martin, took the stage to showcase his expertise on lead guitar, keeping up lick for lick with Marty on his hit, 'Tempted.'

The night was heavy on young folks, with Marty's wife, Connie Smith, introducing the daughter of her former backup singer. "Please welcome Amber Digby," Connie said. "Amber's mother worked with me until she became pregnant with her."

"I'm not going to lie, I'm very nervous," Amber told the crowd, adding, "I grew up in Nashville and have been around music all my life but this is very exciting for me." The singer went on to do the Loretta Lynn song, 'Here I Am Again,' saying, "We've never done this together but we're gonna give it a try."

"Don't leave the stage, I want you to sing harmony with me on 'Once a Day," Connie said, introducing her 1964 No. 1 smash. "Your mama sang this one with me all the time."

Marty's first surprise guest of the evening was Gene Watson, who received a resounding response from the crowd as he walked on stage. "I can't believe I have to follow Connie Smith and Amber Digby," Gene said as he took the microphone. "It's a pleasure for me to be here with Marty, and to be on stage with these talented folks."

"Gene is a timeless singer who can tear the heart out of a song," Marty said. Gene performed his hit 'Farewell Party,' then joined Marty for a verse of Lefty Frizzell's 'If You've Got the Money (I've Got the Time).'

During songwriter Dallas Frazier's performance of 'Elvira,' another surprise guest, Duane Allen of the Oak Ridge Boys, came out to sing with him. The Oaks had the number one hit on the the song. Dallas also performed a few other tunes which had been hits for him, including Charley Pride's 'All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)' and Gene's '14 Carat Mind.'

At one point Marty turned to the audience and said, "It's nice to have legends as friends!" He recalled one of his first trips to Nashville as a teenager, when he arrived in town at 1:30 in the morning to find that his friend was not at the bus station to meet him. "I just started walking and I rounded the corner and there was the Ryman Auditorium. I was not expecting it and it almost brought me to my knees and tears to my eyes. I think for any country music fan that reaction would be the same."

Marty introduced songwriter/producer Cowboy Jack Clement as "the man who helped invent American music." Cowboy produced records at Sun Studios in Memphis before moving to Nashville to ply his trade. "I had a request to do this song so here goes," Cowboy said, launching into "Just a Girl I Used To Know." He also sang another tune he wrote,"Guess Things Happen That Way," which was a smash hit for Johnny Cash.

The audience once again came to their feet when Marty introduced Vince Gill, saying, "Talk about people whose hearts are in the right place.

"I've been knowing Marty since we were both teenagers," Vince quipped. "Only our hair was a lot darker back then."

Vince announced he was going to sing a cheating song, adding, "This is country music night so if you're with someone you shouldn't be, this song is for you." He sang 'Pocket Full of Gold." He then played a new song he has just written, saying he wanted Marty to hear it. He didn't provide the title but it was more than likely 'That's Just Who I Am.'

Gospel music is always included in Marty's Jam, and he and his band the Fabulous Superlatives did a few selections from their gospel album 'Soul's Chapel.' Marty also invited some of the previous performers back onstage to sing Hank Williams' 'I Saw the Light' and the classic 'Will the Circle Be Unbroken.'

The evening began at 10 p.m. and the last strains of music wafted out of the Ryman around 2:20 a.m. with Marty's 'Hillbilly Rock.' At the end of the night, Marty and his fans had raised more than $25,000 for MusiCares, which plans to use the funds to help the flood victims in Nashville. They also raised $4,000 for CMA's program, Keep the Music Playing, which encourages music education in public schools in Metro Nashville.

By Vernell Hackett

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