Marty Stuart In Concert - Ariel Theater, Gallipolis, Ohio on April 10, 2003

This appeared in Guitar Digest - April 12, 2003

The other night we got the opportunity to see one of our longtime favorites, the great Marty Stuart bring his version of country and bluegrass to the lovingly restored Ariel Theater in Gallipolis, Ohio. Singer/songwriter Chase Damron opened with a short, but well-received set of songs about his roots in Ohio and featured a few songs from a newly finished CD. Then Marty lit up the the stage with his new band, “The Fabulous Superlatives, and they really were!

With Marty alternating between a lovely old Gibson F5 mandolin and an equally lovely Martin D-41, and featuring guitarist Kenny Vaughan, drummer Harry Stinson and bassist Brian Glenn, the band rolled through an all-acoustic hour and a half of one great song after another. The set kept switching back and forth between acoustic versions of some of Marty’s hits like "Hillbilly Rock", 'Tempted' and 'Born to Run' mixed in with country and bluegrass classics like 'A Satisfied Mind' and 'Rock Island Line" with Marty’s buddy Travis Tritt’s “The Whiskey Ain’t Working Anymore" thrown in for good measure.

In addition to being a great guitar player, Marty Stuart is a world-class mandolin player, and on this night wowed the audience with a bunch of great solos, particularly on bluegrass standards like "In the Pines" and "Bucket of Lard". Marty started out on the road as a teenager touring with the immortal Lester Flatt and paid tribute to his mentor with a stirring version of "Who Shall Deliver Me" that featured lovely three part harmonies with Stuart, Harry Stinson and Brian Glenn. Stinson also got the chance to shine when he sang the lead on the tune “Let It Be You”, a hit he wrote for Ricky Skaggs back in the early 90’s.

Marty also showed off his terrific soulful side on the lovely ballad “Here I Am”, with the lyric “I’m No Prince Charming” eliciting a booming “Yes You Are” from a woman in the audience. The band also turned the gospel “Get Down On Your Knees and Pray” into their political statement warning Saddam Hussein he had better get on his knees and pray!!

Stuart is recently signed to Sony Nashville and debuted one of the songs from his new CD Country Music, the uptempo quasi-novelty “By George” that sounds like a surefire hit. The unexpected success of 2000’s Oh Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack brought mainstream recognition to longtime country-bluegrass stalwarts like Alison Krauss and Dan Tyminski and bodes well for the considerable crossover talents of Marty Stuart, one of those musicians who can can play and sing with best of them and has the stage presence and sense of history that makes him one of the very best country music has to offer.

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