Marty Stuart: What He Does Best

This appeared in Country Spotlight - 1997

Flashy clothes, spiked hair and that million-dollar smile--those are the first things you notice about Marty Stuart, features that almost make him appear insincere. But Marty's flamboyance isn't there to hide a truer self or to grab attention; it's just Marty. It's the same with his records. His method of over-the-top, good-time, kick-it-up hillbilly rock sometimes seems contrived but, once again, that's just Marty.

And it's because of people like Marty that country music will survive. Not that he's a savior, but more of a trooper. A well-respected musician and performer for over 24 years. Marty knows country music as it was when traditions were golden and roots were respected, in the days when pickers and crooners ruled the roads.

Electric Village: Country music is a different animal today than when you started playing.

Marty: You look at the trends right now and it's making a lot of sense at the cash register. But, at the same time, look at the back side of the trend and you'll find people like Alan Jackson, Dwight Yoakam, Travis Tritt, Pam Tillis. These are people that are serious about the integrity and dignity of country music.

EV: You've never been known as a conformist. You've always just gone out and done your thing. Do you ever worry that you may get left behind or ignored?

Marty: I've been around long enough to know that if you can weather it when you're a little bit in or out of fashion, it's eventually gonna come your way and, when it truly happens for you, then you've really got something. If you stick it out and be yourself, people will respect you for that and you go beyond just commercial success, you almost become a part of the fabric around here.

EV: The new record, Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best, sounds a little looser than your previous stuff. Why so?

Marty: We recorded differently this time and I think that came into play. Everyone usually starts recording sessions at 10 a.m. or 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I figured we all play best after dark, so we never started recording until after six at night. We'd record all night and, I don't know why, but that just put a little something extra on it that I enjoyed. It's the first time that I've ever done it that way and I think I've truly discovered now....I am a vampire.

EV: If you had to pick one piece off this album and call it your favorite, what would it be and why?

Marty: "So Many People." That cut that you hear is a live take, meaning we did it in one shot. No overdubs, no doctoring whatsoever and that's pretty hard to do. Almost every song you ever hear nowadays has overdubs, but that song just came out so beautifully and honest we didn't want to touch it. This whole record was a lot of fun and very special but that song in particular is a snapshot of what was happening right there at that moment and it holds a dear place in my heart.

By Ken Churilla

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