The Life And Times Of Marty Stuart

This appeared on - August 15, 2006

Marty Stuart was born on September 30, 1958 in Philadelphia, Mississippi. Stuart loved country music as a young boy, and he took up playing the mandolin and the guitar. Those musical instruments would end up taking him all the way to the hallowed halls of the Grand Ole Opry. This article is about the the life and times of Marty Stuart.

By the time Marty Stuart was a teenager, he had mastered the mandolin and the guitar so well, that he got a gig playing with the Sullivan Family Singers. While he was playing at a bluegrass festival in Indiana in 1971, he met Roland White. White played a mandolin with Lester Flatt's Nashville Grass band. One thing led to another, and when Lester Flatt heard how Stuart could make the strings of a mandolin and a guitar sing, he immediately offered him work as a guitarist.

Besides being his boss, Flatt also acted like Stuart's father in many ways. For one, he ensured that the teenager finished his education.

Marty Stuart played in Lester Flatt's band until the leader became ill in 1978. (Flatt passed away in 1979.) He then moved on to play with Vassar Clements and Doc Watson. He also did some studio sessions playing his mandolin and guitar. In 1980, Marty Stuart signed up with the legendary Johnny Cash's band.

Now in his early twenties, Marty Stuart moved upwards in the country music world by recording his first album titled, Busy Bee Cafe in 1982. The album was made on the Sugar Hill label. The album was actually a jam session where Stuart was joined by friends Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs, Doc Watson, and more. Marty Stuart had kept his job with Cash, and it was a good thing, because the album didn't sell well.

But, things looked up in the musician's personal life. He had started a relationship with Cindy Cash, one of Johnny's daughters. The two ended up getting married in 1983.

Marty Stuart tried his talents again in 1985 when he finally left Cash's band and struck out on his own. He released a self-titled album in 1986 through Columbia Records. One of the songs on the album, "Arlene", climbed onto the Top Twenty chart. Otherwise, the album was a flop. Columbia soon dropped Stuart.

In 1988, Stuart's marriage to Cindy Cash fell apart, and he traveled back to Mississippi were he rejoined the Sullivan Family Singers as a mandolin player.

While Marty Stuart was home in Mississippi, the time spent there gave him time to recharge his batteries. It also gave him time to decide what his next career move would be. It didn't take him long to "get back in the saddle" again. But this time he steered his music in a new direction. In 1989, the musician released a Top Ten hit titled, "Hillbilly Rock" through MCA Records. Marty Stuart then released his Tempted album. Three songs out of that album, "Little Things", "Burn Me Down," and the title song, became Top Ten hits for Stuart.

Marty Stuart then followed those successes by recording "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" and "This One's Gonna Hurt You" with Travis Tritt. The former was co-written by Stuart and Ronny Scaife and it earned them Grammy Awards. The latter became Stuart's first gold album.

In 1992, the talented musician joined the Grand Ole Opry. He then released other albums such as Love and Luck through MCA in 1994 and Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best in 1996. In his personal life, Marty Stuart fell in love again, and he married country singer Connie Smith in 1997.

Since then, Marty Stuart has released more albums, such as The Pilgrim in 1999 and Country Music in 2003. Besides playing his mandolin, guitar, and singing, the musician also spends his time photographing country music stars, collecting Native American artifacts, Country Music memorabilia, and guitars.

By Kassidy Emmerson

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