Interview: Alan Nichol Chats To Marty Stuart
|This appeared on ChronicleLive.co.uk - January 14, 2011|
It would be hard to find a better role model for young musicians than the country artist Marty Stuart, who brings his stellar band to the Sage at the end of January, 2011 Saturday 29th to be exact.
The fact is, however, it is unlikely that Stuarts experiences could be replicated in the current music world. The detail will unfold later, but suffice to say that Stuart comes to these shores for the first time in a long while for a short tour to support his new album, Ghost Train (Sugar Hill Records).
I spoke to Marty recently and started by offering congratulations for a recent double-Grammy nomination.
Hes won one before but that didnt dull his excitement: Oh, yes but theres always room for more!
Many in the U.S. have seen Stuarts latest offering (and his successful weekly TV show) as the return to proper country and hes happy about that.
Its been received very well, almost like starting with the whole genre over again.
He is delighted with his current band, too, as he explains: Oh, Ive been in bands since I was 13 but Im telling you this is the band of a lifetime. Weve been together almost a decade now and its incredible what these guys can do.
The band is called the Fabulous Superlatives and there is no hype at work there. One of the nominated songs actually it is an instrumental is called "Hummingbyrd" and the spelling betrays a link to one of Stuarts big influences, ace country-picker and former Byrds guitarist, the late Clarence White.
Thats Clarences guitar (on the recording), says Marty. Clarences signature piece, for me, was a tune called Nashville West (on the Dr Byrds & Mr Hyde album). I never could play Nashville West. I could sort of play it but never got it right.
I eventually gave up and I kind of created a song which was inspired by Nashville West and it was my recital piece and it turned out to be "Hummingbyrd" and it is one of the songs from the album to be nominated for a Grammy. When I tell him that it sounds as if the band was having fun, he cant hold back. You know what, it was one of those songs. We recorded that one absolutely live, absolutely, didnt touch it.
The recording of Ghost Train took place in one of the world renowned studios, Nashvilles RCA Studio B (made famous by Elvis, Porter Wagoner, Dolly, Charlie Pride, Chet Atkins etc).
Its equivalent to a preacher getting to read a sermon in Westminster Abbey, says Marty.
It was also the place where a 13-year-old Marty Stuart made his recording debut as a member of the great Lester Flatts band.
It is an occasion that had a profound impact on him, as he recalls: The only jobs I ever had were with Lester Flatt and then Johnny Cash. I couldnt ask for a greater way to start my career.
My family lived 400 miles away in Mississippi and I lived at Lester and Gladys home. They took care of me until my mom and dad could move up here.
If Lester Flatt was my education, then Johnny Cash (later to become Martys father-in-law) was my finishing course. It would be so great for all young musicians to work their way through the ranks that way.
Stuart is very aware of the role played by fans in the UK in keeping country music alive. You know, you guys in Europe understand deep culture. And youve had a lot more time to think about it.
And it sounds like a show to set fire to the Sages Hall 2 in a couple of weeks from now.
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