Marty Stuart Featured In Third Sounds Of Texas Show

This appeared in The Courier of Montgomery County - June 10, 2010

Country music legend Johnny Cash got to know Marty Stuart up close and personal.

Stuart was a member of Cash’s band for six years and was once married to Cash’s daughter, Cindy. Stuart also produced Cash’s gospel album Believe in Him.

In Johnny Cash’s autobiography Cash, written with Patrick Carr and published in 1997, the “Man in Black” said Stuart was a “master musician in every sense of the word, an artist in his own clear right.”

Country music fans will get an opportunity to see the master musician Stuart perform during the third installment of the Sounds of Texas Music Series June 25, 2010 at the historic Crighton Theatre in downtown Conroe. Rosie Flores is the opening act.

The mandolin-playing Stuart, who got his first big break at age 13 when he joined Lester Flatt’s band, could justifiably be called the ambassador of the present-day world of country music.

Stuart “knows everybody in the business and what they mean to the music, knows the history of the music, knows what’s important and what isn’t,” Cash said in his autobiography.

A four-time Grammy Award recipient and the master of a variety of musical instruments, he was honored with a Martin brand Marty Stuart guitar signature series. Not to be outdown, Fender got in on the act and designed a Marty Stuart signature series of its famous “Telecaster” guitar, which Stuart also used.

Also a versitle singer, Stuart has performed with greats of the musical spectrum from Merle Haggard and Loretta Lynn to B.B. King and Mavis Staples.

According to his website, highlights of his career include that in 1996, he was elected president of the Country Music Foundation. The following year, he married singer Connie Smith. Fast-forward to 2002 when he formed his current band the Fabulous Superlatives and they performed, that same year, at the tribute to Hank Williams at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

In 2004, Stuart performed at the Christmas Tree lighting ceremony in Washington DC. In 2006, Stuart performed for First Lady Laura Bush at her charity fundraiser to find a cure for cancer.

A long-time collector of music-related items, his collection titled Sparkle and Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey, was put on exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum in 2007. Also that year, Stuart hosted the Grand Ole Opry’s 50th anniversary tribute to Porter Wagoner.

In other footnotes, Stuart produced Porter Wagoner’s final album and Stuart co-wrote with Johnny Cash the song “Hangman” four days before Cash died in 2003.

In a different kind of honor, so to speak, for Stuart, Don Helm’s family chose to include remarks by Stuart in Helms’ 2008 obituary. Helms was the legendary steel guitar player for Hank Williams as a member of Williams’ Drifting Cowboys band. Stuart’s was the only remarks by a musician in the obituary.

In January this year, Stuart received the American Society of Photographers “International Award” which recognizes a person who has contributed to the ideals of professional photography as an art and a science, according to Stuart’s website.

This resulted from his photography book titled Country Music: The Masters, published in 2007.

When Stuart last performed in Conroe two years ago, he brought 15 of these newly published books for sale — with a price tag of $100 each. He was stunned when the demand was so great, the books sold out. Additional written orders were taken. With a smile, he vowed to bring more books for his next Conroe performance June 25, 2010.

Stuart’s latest recording effort is Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions). Stuart uses the famous RCA Studio B in Nashville where Elvis Presley, Charley Pride, Connie Smith, Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, Waylon Jennings, and more, recorded many of their songs. And, Stuart knows it, well, too. This was the site of his first studio recordings as the 13-year-old mandolin player in Lester Flatt’s band.

Proof of his influence and great reputation, the Country Music Hall of Fame, which operates RCA Studio B, gave Stuart exclusive permission to use it for his recording effort. Stuart’s objective was to recapture the unique sound that once filled the air from that specific studio during those golden-record making days which involved less electronics. “Ghost Train (The Studio B sessions)” is scheduled to be released this August, according to one Conroe store.

Before his concert in Conroe June 25, Stuart’s 9th annual Late Night Jam at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville also is scheduled this month. Proceeds from the jam will help provide relief and aid to those affected by Nashville’s recent flooding problems. Keith Urban and Steel Guitar Hall of Fame member Ralph Mooney, who was one of Waylon Jennings’ Waylors, are among numerous guests for this event.

The Sounds of Texas Music fans June 25 in Conroe will see the “real deal” in Marty Stuart, who has the heartbeat of country music in his soul. And what, to him, is the definition of country music?

“When country music is doing its job, it reports on the good, bad and indifferent of our human condition,” Stuart stated on his website. “When times are good, we have tunes to dance to; when times are tough, we’re supposed to talk about it. That’s country music.”

And that appreciation, understanding and respect of the essence of country music is what Johnny Cash apparently recognized about Marty Stuart.

By J. C. Deavours

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