Marty Stuart And His Fabulous Superlatives Revel In Roots Music Friday Night

This appeared on - March 24, 2007

Marty Stuart turned the Trustees Theater into a bonafide honky tonk Friday night.

The singer and His Fabulous Superlatives (best band name ever) appeared as part of the Savannah Music Festival’s Americana series.

For more than an hour, the group educated the sold out crowd in Roots Music 101. Stuart replaced his spangled jackets of the early ’90s with a black blazer and skinny leather pants but the hair remained the same – a little grayer, but still styled at full throttle.

The entire evening was an ode to traditional country music. What else but a country tune could bear the title “Great Big Woman and a Little Bitty Bottle of Wine”? Sure the lyrics were worth a listen, but the true high point of this song was the guitar duet with Stuart and Kenny Vaughan (who lives up to his nickname “guiTarzan”).

If you’ve never listened to Marty Stuart song, I suggest you start with “Country Boy Rock and Roll,” and go from there. It’s country to the core, but there’s much more to it than the usual “three chords and the truth” songs found you’ll find on CMT.

The audience seemed stocked with Stuart fans. He needed only to pick the opening notes of several songs to cause a ripple of approval through the crowd. I saw several people mouth along to the first lines of the bluegrass favorite “In the Pines.”

He also pulled a few classics off the shelf. “Whisky Ain’t Workin’ Anymore” and “Tempted” still sound fresh more than 15 years later.

Each of the Superlatives spent some time in the spotlight. Vaughan’s “Country Music’s Got a Hold on Me” featured a frenetic guitar solo. Drummer Harry Stinson led the quartet in the old-time gospel song “Working on a Building” and bassist Brian Glenn amused the audience with his inventive bluegrass version of the Bee Gee’s “Stayin’ Alive.”

Stuart, a former employee, neighbor and ex-son-in-law to Johnny Cash, paid tribute to the late “Man In Black” by playing “The Wall” and the melancholy ballad “Long Black Veil.” His own ode to the music legend, “Dark Bird,” imagined Cash flying through a “cloud of love” and emerging as a dove.

The mandolin was conspicuously absent for most of the show, but Stuart finally brought it out for the encore. He immediately ripped into a lengthy solo. The master picker, with more than 30 years of skill behind him, made the feat look effortless.

The band capped off the evening with the swinging “Hillbilly Rock,” which contains a line that summed up the night perfectly: “The people gotta have it, they wanna hear some more.”

By Amy Morris

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