Marty Stuart

Follow Your Heart

This appeared in Dirty Linen - December 2005/January 2006

This is a partial article.

Marty Stuart has made his home in Nashville for many years now. In a deeper sense, though, his native Mississippi is still his home, offering wellsprings and influences that have run through his music since he got his first professional gig at the age of 12. After country hits, awards, and work with Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt, Doc Watson, Bob Dylan, Travis Tritt, and Billy Bob Thornton, among others, Stuart now can call his own shots. He's chosen a road that takes him straight back to the source, a source that finds vivid expression in the three albums he' s recently recorded: a gospel collection, a live bluegrass record, and a series of songs about Native American life, past and present.

"The point where I was raised in Mississippi is right in the middle of the state, so I got a shot from New Orleans from the south and from Meridian, Mississippi, which is where Jimmie Rodgers came from. All the blues, the music that rained down on me from the Mississippi Delta, and Memphis right on top of that, and then over here is Nashville. So it was a perfect place for a young person who loved music -- everything from gospel music to country music to soul music to pop music to blues music passed my radar every single day," Stuart said.

He soaked it up, too, from his earliest memories of church bells sounding across a field as a child held in his mother's arms to getting a guitar before he started grade school. At 12, that first professional gig "was like running away with the circus," he said. "The first work was with the Sullivan Family, gospel singers. They were the local Pentecostal church house bluegrass legends in that part of the South, and they gave me a gig. That summer I fell in love with riding miles and miles in a car, fell in love with hip and groovy people, met girls, discovered applause, and actually got paid for it. Got to grow my hair long and hang out with bohemian characters, and it was like yeah, I could do this -- and then I had to got back to school," where he promptly got kicked out, Stuart said.

By Kerry Dexter

Return To Articles Return To Home Page