Marty Stuart Largest Collector Of Country Music Artifacts

This appeared in The Courier of Montgomery County - May 1, 2008

“How many times have you heard someone say
If I had his money, I could do things my way
But little they know, that it’s so hard to find
One rich man in 10, with a satisfied mind

Money can’t buy back, your youth when you’re old
Or a friend when you’re lonesome or a love that’s grown cold
The wealthiest person, is a pauper at times
Compared to the man, with a satisfied mind”

– “A Satisfied Mind”/Marty Stuart

Well this past Tuesday I had the opportunity to interview Nashville legend Marty Stuart who will be in town Saturday night to play the final installment of the Sounds of Texas Music Series at the historic Crighton Theatre.

He called and said “Jay Ross?” and I didn’t recognize his voice but when I looked at my caller I.D. I saw that it was Marty Stuart! I answered back stupidly, “Hello, Mr. Stuart” realizing that I just called him mister and I’m years older than he is! I explained that I’m really not a professional journalist but rather just a plain old huge music fan. I truthfully told him he was only my second interview. He said that was no problem and to just fire away.

What a great guy he appeared to be! He was real laid back and made me feel like we were long lost old friends.

He said, “I’m looking forward to being there. I’ve heard great things about the Crighton Theatre and the Music Series.”

When I asked him how he got into music he said, “I was born and raised in northern Mississippi in the small town of Philadelphia just 35 miles from Meridian, the hometown of the father of country music Jimmie Rodgers.”

His proximity he said to Nashville and Memphis, Tennessee exposed him to country, blues, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. He said “For some reason I just kept on drifting back to country music ‘With a Little Help From My Friends.’ ”

Many successful albums followed on Sugar Hill, Sony, MCN and finally his own label Superlatone Records backed by Universal South Entertainment.

Four Gold records and one platinum record later he was at the pinnacle of his career. He had won four Grammys and numerous CMA Awards and was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry.

In the early 1990s Stuart struck up a friendship with fellow rising star Travis Tritt. They co-wrote together and embarked on the sardonically named “No Hats” tour. Stuart with his pompadour and Tritt with his mullet proved that Southern-fried sanctified country music was alive and well. He continued his radio friendly popularity until 2000.

In 2000, unhappy with the direction of the country music on the radio, he decided to take time off and pursue other interests. Considered a country music renaissance, he has become an accomplished photographer, writer, Native American history buff and a collector and historian of country music and artifacts.

While touring with Johnny Cash in London in the early 80s he visited the Hard Rock Café where they exhibited musical instruments, outfits and other collector items from rock bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, the Who, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and others.

He wondered at the time why one couldn’t collect the same things from country music icons and set out to do just that. He now ranks as the largest collector of historical country music items in the world.

He has had his photographs exhibited all over the world and has had several of his writings published. He has recently concentrated on producing and playing on the albums of music friends. He has written songs for many artists including the Dixie Chicks and others.

Well it turns out that Marty will be performing with his all-star band the Fabulous Superlatives in an unplugged format.

“We will be doing an acoustic show which we enjoy doing and I think will fit real well in the theatre,” he said.

He is obviously proud of his band which he indicated includes Kenny Vaughn on guitar, Paul Martin on stand up bass and Harry Stinson on drums. He said his newest album Compadres features duets with George Jones, Travis Tritt and many other country superstars and legends and is doing quite well.

After about 10 minutes we decided to wrap it up and he said, “Look forward to meeting you Saturday night.” I hung up the phone thinking, ‘man what thrill it was to talk with him.’

In the most recent years, with the forming of his all-star session quality band, he has begun to tour and record again.

He and his talented cohorts will perform acoustically this Saturday night at the Crighton Theatre. The show begins outside the theatre at 6 p.m. featuring the Sideshow Tramps. Opening the show inside the theatre at 8 p.m. will be Jesse Dayton and Brennen Leigh.

Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives will grace the stage around 9:15 that evening.

Have fun and be safe.

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