Marty Stuart Opens Nationwide Tour Here

This appeared in the Times News on June 3, 1999

It wasn't the largest crowd in the short history of Ramblers Ranch in Jim Thorpe, but it was one of the liveliest. About 1,000 screaming, whoopin', stomping, cheering fans attended the Marty party, a concert by country singer Marty Stuart, last week. The show kicked off his nationwide tour to promote his newest album, a three-year project called The Pilgrim.

Stuart seemed at ease on the big stage at the Ranch, belting out most of his number one hits from the past as well as going through the album. The album doesn't go on sale until June 15. Since it contains all original material, the audience hadn't heard it before.

If there was one song which stood out in generating crowd response, it was "Red, Red Wine and Cheatin' Songs," a well-paced ballad that is as traditional as country music gets.

Another was "Sometimes the Pleasure's Worth the Pain," a more rhythmic beat but one which might still make you cry in your beer.

Stuart said in a previous interview that other venues sought his kick-off concert, but he opted for Ramblers after hearing about it from some other performer who had a concert here. Besides, he loves Pennsylvania, he insists.

He let the audience know how sincerely pleased he was to perform at Ramblers Ranch. "We used to be able to come to Pennsylvania and play at Sunset Park and Valley Forge and they tore them down," he said. "I'm glad we have a place to come and play country music."

The former son-in-law of Johnny Cash, it's obvious he keenly admires the Man in Black. He came on the stage wearing black leather pants and a black shirt with multi-colored beads.

"My ex father-in-law is cooler than anybody else," he blurted out at one point.

As another indication of his taking to Pennsylvania, he showed off his Martin Guitar. He noted that the guitar was made in Nazareth, and that the company named a guitar after him.

It was The Pilgrim which he sought most to promote. The Pilgrim is based on a true story of a man that Stuart once knew. His friend is cross-eyed, and the town is shocked when he marries the local beauty queen, Rita.

Eventually Rita met a man at work - who is referred to as "The Pilgrim" - and begins to cheat on Norman. The Pilgrim didn't know Rita was married until one day Norman visited her at work and caught them together.

Norman went into a rage and made threats. Then he pulled out his gun and killed himself in front of the two.

Rita and the Pilgrim went separate ways for a short while, but eventually their paths crossed once again.
All the songs on the album are written to form a story sequence. On the album, Stuart is joined by other artists on some of the songs including Pam Tillis, Emmy Lou Harris, and Johnny Cash.

When the concert ended, Stuart left like the Pilgrim did. He has stops scheduled in Nashville, New York City, Pigeon Forge, and numerous other cities.

Judging from the reception he got at Ramblers, Stuart - also like the Pilgrim - might be back.

By Ron Gower

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