CMA's Joe Talbot Award Presented To Artist, Archivist, And Industry Leader Marty Stuart

Award given to Stuart during the CMA Board of Directors Reception Wednesday at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville

This is the official Press Release from the CMA

From a young age, musical innovator Marty Stuart experienced firsthand Country Music history. Now, he is protecting it.

In recognition of his dedication to preserving the images and memorabilia of Country’s most illustrious performers, the CMA Board of Directors presented Stuart with the prestigious Joe Talbot Award during a reception Wednesday at the Tennessee State Museum, where Stuart’s collection “Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey” is on exhibit through November 11, 2007.

“Without Marty’s tireless dedication to preserving the history and traditions of our legendary performers, I’m afraid that much of what he has collected over the years would be lost,” said CMA Chief Operating Officer Tammy Genovese. “We are all benefiting from his wisdom and his ability to see the inspiration and love sewn into every rhinestone and autograph scribbled across each piece of paper.”

“Thanks you so much. I get to take Joe Talbot home with me,” joked Stuart before turning serious. “It goes without saying that I loved Joe Talbot. I was on a couple of different boards with him, and the thing I loved about him was that he was a warrior. He was passionate about traditional country music and the values of the industry. He stood on his convictions, and that’s one of the things that always made Country Music great. It was built on people’s convictions.

“You all know how much I love country music,” Stuart continued. “I stepped off the bus [in Nashville] when I was 13 years old for a weekend and never went home. I dedicated my life to it. I love this music. We are a family.”

The Joe Talbot Award is voted on by the CMA Board of Directors, and awarded to a person (living or deceased) in recognition of outstanding leadership and contributions to the preservation and advancement of Country Music’s values and traditions. The Award was created in 2001 and bestowed posthumously on its namesake, Joe Talbot, a beloved lifetime member of the CMA Board of Directors who passed away in 2000.

“In our opinion Marty embodies everything this award recognizes – respect for the tradition of Country Music, an active involvement in furthering the tradition of country music, and a general attitude of stewardship for the music,” said Talbot’s daughter, Jana Talbot. “And, as a totally personal aside, our dad was a great fan and admirer of Marty and I know he would be pleased to see him receive this award.”

The exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum represents more than 40 years of musical milestones in Country, bluegrass, rock and Southern gospel music. It includes treasures from Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Elvis and Hank Williams, among others. The collection is a visual atlas of Stuart’s personal and professional road trip with some of the most famous figures in music. And Stuart’s fervor for preserving and protecting the personal and everyday items that defined the larger than life careers that inspired him is lovingly and painstakingly apparent in the collection.

For Stuart, this is much more than a hobby. It is a mission.

He has amassed one of the largest and most significant collections this side of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with more than 20,000 items. In fact, several pieces from Stuart’s personal and extensive collection have been on loan to the Hall of Fame as well as the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, and The Louvre Museum in Paris.

Stuart’s passion for collecting took off while he was on tour in the early 1980s with Johnny Cash in London, when a chance encounter with Hard Rock Cafe founder Isaac Tigrett and a subsequent tour of the new venture sparked his imagination.

“So I came home and started finding treasures in thrift shops and yard sales – things that were out of style, costumes that I knew meant a lot to American culture,” said Stuart. “And now, we’re finally getting the culture of Country Music weighed in as a great art form among the arts of America. I’m very dedicated to that.”

Stuart is also highly regarded for his photography, which has been exhibited and preserved in his books Pilgrims: sinners, saints, and prophets, which was released in 1999, and County Music: The Masters, a 300 page photography book released this year.

A child prodigy, Stuart left his hometown of Philadelphia, Mississippi at 12. By 13 his poker playing pals and fishing buddies included Roy Acuff, Lester Flatt, Grandpa Jones, Bill Monroe, Stringbean and Ernest Tubb. The special nature of those rare moments was not lost on the youngster and he purchased a camera and started taking pictures of his mentors and friends. He eventually photographed some of the most influential and legendary performers in the format. Stuart’s images are a window into time and have been on exhibit in New Orleans and Nashville.

Stuart’s collection of musical accolades is impressive too, with six Top 10 hits, platinum and gold albums, a CMA Award for Vocal Event of the Year with Travis Tritt, and four Grammy Awards. He has collaborated with many notable roots music figures from Bob Dylan to Lester Flatt. He has been an ambassador of the format around the world and closer to home as six-time president of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors. He has produced albums and written songs for the famous and artistically significant artists of his time.

“Obviously, Marty is very deserving of this honor and CMA is pleased to present the Joe Talbot Award to him surrounded by the items he has so lovingly and painstakingly preserved for us and future generations of Country Music enthusiasts,” Genovese said.

“Country music is a wonderful world, so thank you very much. I’m taking old Joe home,” quipped Stuart.

Previous recipients include Joe Talbot (2001), Janette Carter (2004) and Louise Scruggs (2006).

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