Marty Gives Luck and Love At Pier 6

This appeared in Country Plus Magazine - October 1994

The "Honky Tonk Heroes Tour" bus rolled into Baltimore's Pier 6 on September 11, 1994 with Marty Stuart and the Rock and Roll Cowboys for a sold-out performance which showcased Stuart's new album, Love And Luck.

Wearing black chaps over his jeans, topped by a black suede Manuel jacket with white cross-stitching, Stuart took the stage and announced "If you've come for a formal show, you've come to the wrong place--because, for the rest of the night, we're gonna do some honky tonkin'!" The standing-room-only crowd loved it, and ... from that point on, there wasn't a cheatin' heart in the place--they all belonged to Marty. His inexhaustible energy never flagged and like a master musician--or should I say magician--he kept 'em thrilled and enthralled pulling song after great song out of the bottomless hat.

An accomplished guitarist, mandolin player, and songwriter as well as recording artist, Stuart began his career at the age of 13 as a "boy wonder" in Lester Flatt's band. When Flatt died in 1979, he did a six-year stint with Johnny Cash. His most recent tour, prior to this year's Honky Tonk Heroes Tour was his highly successful "No Hats" Tour with Travis Tritt, promoting This One's Gonna Hurt You, Stuart's first gold album.

Stuart took over a year off to write songs for Love And Luck. "I spent a whole year trying to write and find songs for this album that came from a deeper place," he explains in a press release. "I really consider this album an adventure from a writing standpoint and wanted every song to have a story." The first single from the album, "Kiss Me, I'm Gone" was a hit and the current single and video "That's What Love's About" is following that same path.

For over an hour prior to the Pier 6 show, Stuart signed autographs and posed for photos with his fans who were lined up for blocks, stretching on down the pier. Following his 90-minute, non-stop performance, he signed more autographs, patiently posed for more photos, had more single long-stemmed roses and bouquets of carnations thrust into his arms, and still took time out to speak with Country Plus Magazine in an interview on his tour bus. I caught him surreptitiously yawning a couple of times, but he still gave it all he had. And above all else, like the icing on the cake, that's the final impression Marty Stuart leaves on you--a guy who gives it everything he's got. If anyone deserves love and luck on this tour, it's Marty.

Country Plus Magazine: I just received the latest issue of Country Music magazine in the mail with you on the cover. The article in Country Music said that you're Nashville's International Ambassador for Tourism and that you did a special video for the project, "Dream, Dream, Dream." How did you get involved in that?

Marty: Well, I got a call from the Chamber of Commerce asking me if I would write a song on my take on Nashville. I thought about it and my take on Nashville is that it's a place where your dreams can come true. It happened to me there. It's still happening to me there. So I went out and I wrote this song called "Dream, Dream, Dream." The next thing I know, they're asking me to do the video for the song. They're playing it in different places around the world. And the next thing I know, they're asking me to cut the ribbon on the Ryman Auditorium, things like that. I'm getting a cool parking spot at the airport, all that kind of stuff. I think I'm starting to like this gig (laughter). It was easy for me because when I was a kid, I didn't want to do anything except go to Nashville and be a country music singer. So that was easy to talk about. It's a nice thing. So let me welcome you to Nashville.

CPM: So you've just started out on the "Honky Tonk Heroes Tour"?

Marty: This is our second show. And it feels like it's going to be a fine tour.

CPM: It goes through November?

Marty: Right. We're starting out here and working our way through the west and all points in between. So we're looking to get out there and do a little honky tonking all across the country.

CPM: If it's anything like tonight's show, it's going to be a blockbuster. It was a great show. I was going to ask you what your favorite song was on the new album Love And Luck, but I thought I heard you say it during tonight's show.

Marty: "That's What Love's About," the current single.

CPM: The mandolin solo on your new album is really awesome, too. Are you planning to do that live?

Marty: Yeah, we'll get into that. I love playing the mandolin. The hardest problems is that we play so loud on stage. Mandolins don't like to go that loud. I guess we could turn it down for one song, couldn't we?

CPM: I was reading in Country Music that you've got a lot of projects going on. Do you have any in particular that you'd like to talk about?

Marty: I think those are all projects that are behind me now. There are a couple in the fall that I've already done that I'm proud of. One is a George Jones record. I sang a duet with George Jones. About 11 or 12 other artists also came in and did songs with George. And then John Anderson and I sang a Merle Haggard song on a Merle Haggard tribute album that is coming out. The proceeds go to Second Harvest Food Bank. Mama's Hungry Eyes is the name of the album. The song we did is "Mama Tried." So I'm real excited about those two things.

And I've got four one-hour TV specials called "The Marty Party" that I've been contracted to write and do next year that I'm looking forward to doing. And a photo book--I've been a photographer for about 22 years and I'm finally getting around to getting some negatives together within the next year and maybe doing a photo book.

CPM: We'll wrap this interview up--I know you're tired and I really appreciate your time. I'm also affiliated with the "Songwriters' Association of Washington," so I wanted to ask you about your role as a songwriter as well as an artist. What inspires you? How do you go about writing your songs?

Marty: I think anybody who has ever written a hit --or just written period--knows that we're not smart enough to do that. I think it's God's inspiration that flows through us. And the main thing I try to do is just keep my channel open and keep pencil and paper ready in case I hear a flash in my head or catch a cliché out that sounds good. But I really can't take credit for any of the songs that I've written. They're pretty much God's songs. I don't know. I think songwriting's what it's truly all about because without the songs we have no script. Without a script we have no movie. And the songs are the things that outlive you. The songs are the things that cause you to get to go out on the road and play music. So without songs, you're nobody, you're nothing. So being a songwriter is a real special thing.

By Casey Dugan

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