Hats Off To Marty Stuart

The original "Hillbilly Rocker" knows no rules, and he's finally made the album of his dreams. Hats off to you, babe!

This appeared in Country Confidential - 1992

When it comes to a full entertainment package, Marty Stuart is a leader in his field. As songwriter, musician, vocalist and performer, it's difficult to think of anything he can't do. Nowhere is this more obvious than on stage or on his new album, This One's Gonna Hurt You, a double-barrel assault of country blues, boogie, and everything else that puts Marty Stuart in a league of his own.

Despite being so prolific, he still enjoys the experience of co-writing and describes the search for partners as "Almost like thinking, 'I've got to write my mother a letter. Who can write it with me?' You need someone with the same musical vision, someone you enjoy playing music with, and someone who has a tape recorder better than yours! That's hard to find. It's like looking for friends--you wind up with one or two, and a whole room full of acquaintances."

"First of all, I think songs truly are a gift from God. They are heaven sent or a hell-sent piece of business, and God is the best writer we ever had. He tends to put people together. I depend on my radar to tell me...it's like meeting a girl: you know instantly if you like her or don't. How to find a co-writer--it's an impossible question to answer."

He believes that the ability to write one's own material is a plus, but not a necessity. "I don't care where a hit comes from as long as it's a hit. I was forced into writing my own I wasn't selling back then, and I couldn't expect great songwriters to give me their best so they could go to Number 50 and die. I knew I was a different kind of entertainer with a different point of view, and the songs would have to come from me and a writer or two who could see what I do."

"With This One's Gonna Hurt You (For A Long, Long Time), I had the title first, thought about it for a couple of months, wrote the song in five minutes on an airplane in Salt Lake City, called Travis (Tritt) in California, and we cut it on the first take. I scripted a video and here we are doing the song on tour. It was nice to walk through it from top to bottom. I was also involved a lot in the Hillbilly Rock and Tempted videos. Stuart obviously enjoys being hands-on in all aspects of the music business and quips, "I stay out of brain surgery, but I do have a good idea of who I am and what I should look like. I'm proud that MCA gives me the creative say-so there.

His first collaboration with Tritt, The Whiskey Ain't Workin' volleyed the team to the top of the charts and, although Stuart candidly admits that he wasn't surprised by the success of the song, "I didn't expect it to do what it did. I thought it was a hit, but I thought it would go to Number One, go off, everybody would like it and that was it. I didn't expect it to start a tour, a lifelong friendship, sell as many records as it did, and become a honky tonk anthem that a whole stadium full of fans would sing along to. It just goes to prove--you never really know."

Fans of the No Hats tour might have seen Stuart and Tritt on Entertainment Tonight several months ago arguing over which of them was really Elvis. Stuart is glad to report that the dispute has been resolved. "We think Elvis is Mark Chesnutt," he laughs, "and he's just hiding under that hat!"

By Elianne Halbersberg

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