Marty Stuart Kicks Off Arts Alliance Season Thursday

This appeared in the Evansville Courier & Press - August 8, 2011

Musician Marty Stuart has traveled a long way in the world of country music since, as a 13-year-old, he took part in his very first recording session.

It took place in Nashville's legendary RCA Studio B, and Stuart played mandolin with Lester Flatt's band for that memorable milestone.

Last year, the road led Stuart back to Studio B to record Ghost Train (The Studio B Sessions) even though The Country Music Hall of Fame now operates it largely as a museum.

"This place has a profound pedigree; it's where so much of American music's legacy was forged, certainly country music's," Stuart said in his bio. "And sonically, this is a room that welcomes music."

Stuart will showcase some of the music from Ghost Train -- which includes the Grammy®-winning "Hummingbyrd" -- when he performs Thursday to kick off the Henderson Area Arts Alliance's 18th performing arts season.

The concert is scheduled to coincide with the 26th-annual Bluegrass in the Park Folklife Festival, which is set for Friday and Saturday, in downtown's Audubon Mill Park on the riverfront.

Stuart has plenty of material to draw from for such a performance.

After starting out singing gospel music as a child followed by the bluegrass stint with Lester Flatt in the 1970s, Stuart added six years with Johnny Cash in the 1980s and his "hillbilly rock" hits of the 1990s to his music journey.

He is a Grand Ole Opry star, a four-time Grammy-winner and leader of the touring and recording band The Fabulous Superlatives, who will join Stuart at the Fine Arts Center performance.

Stuart also calls himself a country music memorabilia preservationist, and is the owner of many, many items on loan to both The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland and The Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

He is an advocate for making sure the importance of country music and its themes -- love, marriage, heartaches, trains, home, work (or the lack of), vagrancy, the law, jail, rivers, death, sin, redemption, drinking and good-hearted women are some he names -- aren't forgotten as time alters styles and genres.

"What inspires me now, is traditional country music. It's the music I most cherish, the culture in which I was raised," Stuart says. "It's the bedrock upon which the empire of country music is built, the empowering force that provides this genre with lasting credibility.

"It's beyond trends and it's timeless. With all that being said, I found traditional country music to be on the verge of extinction," the musician adds. "It's too precious to let slip away."

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