Marty Stuart: "I Like Real People!"

This appeared in Country Confidential - 1993

With 20-plus years of touring experience to his impressive credits, Marty Stuart could by now have easily assumed a "don't look back" attitude. Instead, he patiently endures media fascination with his roots, offering yet another look back into his past.

"It wouldn't have happened with The Rolling Stones," he states of leaving home at 13. "It took a guy like Lester Flatt, who gave me a home, allowed me to keep 30 dollars a week and send the rest to my mother to put in the bank, and made sure my schoolwork was completed by correspondence. It was a very businesslike deal, not 'Hey Mom, I'm leaving.' My mother was an ambitious person who felt confined in Philadelphia, Mississippi. She knew I had that same ambition, that I wanted to shake hands with the world, and I love her for that."

Riding the ebb and flow of a career that has seen its stormy moments, he admits, "I've been to that point (of letting someone or something come before music) several times and it makes me unhappy. It stands in the way of myself and clouds it all up." His survival instinct, however, has consistently prevailed--Marty Stuart is a highly focused individual, as his colleagues will readily confirm. He is, in fact, the first name they point to as the champion of country music old and new.

Acquainted with the difficulties industry politics present, he is recognized for his constant efforts to promote upcoming talent. A crafted songwriter, his work appears regularly on others' albums; he is instrumental in championing signed and unsigned acts to record labels and media, and is regularly cited for his generosity, whether towards fellow musicians in need or in selfless gestures like participating in a benefit for hurricane victims at the Grand Ole Opry and arriving with a personal check of $1,000. Disdainful of self-aggrandizement, he never mentions these facts; Nashville, however, is filled with reports and his colleagues volunteer them without prompting.

This admirable quality stems from his overview of the world at large. "I take the viewpoint that musicians are all wired backwards and there are enough of us in this alternative society to make it fashionable. Every human being on earth has something to offer. I have good radar; it doesn't matter if I'm sitting in front of a country store whittling or in New York City talking to a guy who runs drugs for Libya. Music is my trade, everybody has one, and I have no problems with that. We all live on the same earth and I don't feel that anyone is more special. It goes back to people's hearts. If they have good motives, I have no problem getting along with them. I don't like posers or jerks; I have no time for them. I like real people."

Did You Know That.....Marty Stuart's love of music extends far beyond country? While on tour, he's as likely to listen to Bill Monroe as he is to Tony Bennett, Grayson Hugh, classic rock, or indulging his tour manager's passion for heavy metal bands like KISS. His own recordings have covered songwriters from Merle Haggard to Neil Young, Steve Forbert, Robbie Robertson, and Joe Ely.

By Elianne Halbersberg

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