Marty Stuart Leads Steve Miller, Laurence Juber In Superlative Met Museum Show

This appeared on - October 8, 2014

Steve Miller, who introduced Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, said it was the “greatest country musicband in the world right now.”

They were both right.

Stuart, whose new double-album with His Fabulous Superlatives Saturday Night / Sunday Morning is just out, proved it once again with an inspiring acoustic set featuring songs from the country half of the new set (Saturday Night’s cover of Charlie Rich’s “Life’s Little Ups and Downs”) and the Sunday Morning gospel half’s (“Angels Rock Me to Sleep”), along with other material that lent itself to the acoustic format.

The set followed a dazzling instrumental display by former Wings lead guitarist Juber. His original “Catch” mixed jazz, country and boogie-woogie as both hands fingerpicked up and down the Martin acoustic neck. He gave “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” a nice touch by slapping the strings hard and then softly; on his own "Cobalt Blue” he finger-picked with his left fretting hand while beating percussion on the wood with his right picking hand.

Indeed, Juber was so good that he played “Won’t Get Fooled Again”’s opening keyboard figure on guitar, then threw in a token Townshend windmill in the middle of the song. When Miller came out to join Juber, he conceded that he was merely “the guy in the middle of a music sandwich” and “slowed things way down for humans to play” on his instrumental “Slinky,” with the also slowed-down Juber accompanying. The pair also played Miller’s hit “Take the Money and Run.”

Miller returned towards the end of Stuart’s set for “Jet Airliner,” Stuart playing mandolin on the classic Miller hit’s opening guitar riff while Miller and Stuart’s own extraordinary guitarist Kenny Vaughan doubled on acoustic guitar. Vaughan, incidentally, sang on his country swing tune “Hot Like That,” while drummer Harry Stinson, who brushed a single snare slung around his waist, took lead vocal on the gospel standard “I’m Working On a Building.”

Encore “The Joker” brought Miller back, along with Juber, to play on his big hit, after agreeing with Stuart that “it so needs a mandolin.”

The program was presented in collaboration with the Met’s Department of Musical Instruments and in conjunction with the exhibition Early American Guitars: The Instruments of C.F. Martin, on view through December 7, 2014. The exhibition is made possible by the Martin Guitar Company, whose instruments were exclusively on display and in hands on stage.

By Jim Bessman

Return To Articles Return To Home Page