Marty Stuart Has Been Hanging Out With Steven Seagal And Santa Willie

This appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram - November 25, 1996

Honky tonkin' may be what Marty Stuart does best, but don't discount designing, acting, writing and celebrating. The country singer / songwriter / gadabout closes out 1996 with a Billy Bob's concert on Friday. Here are three highlights of Marty's year.


He made a movie with Steven Seagal. It's called The Fire Down Below, scheduled for release next summer and Stuart and Seagal wrote a couple of songs for the soundtrack. Seagal was filming in Kentucky, Stuart said, and Nashville was buzzing with music stars, writers and their agents and producers all eager to be included on the project.

But not Marty. "I said I would not go up there and sit around and wait for an audience," he said, adding that an invitation from the star changed his mind. "I went up to Steven Seagal's house and met with him, and he turned out to be a great guy, with a great guitar collection, and he was totally focused on what he wanted to do. He said he wanted to write a country waltz and then a bluegrass tune. So, me and Steven wrote two songs in an afternoon."


He had a guitar named after him. C.F. Martin & Co., a hallmark brand among guitar enthusiasts for over 150 years, has produced a signature model acoustic guitar in Stuart's honor, and the singer says it's a beaut. "I was going for a complete look, with a pearl inlay design," Stuart said. "I copied the neck from my pre-war Martin that belonged to Hank Sr. and Johnny Cash." It comes with a three-piece buckle set that Stuart designed and retails for about $5,500. Even so, 230 of the limited edition of 250 were pre-sold, so only 20 remain for sale.

"It's like having a Cadillac or a Lincoln named after you," said Stuart, who is only the third person to be so honored by Martin, behind Gene Autry and Eric Clapton. He just started using his namesake guitar onstage last week.


He got Willie Nelson to play Santa Claus. For the Christmas edition of the 'Marty Party' show on TNN, the Red-Headed Stranger was cast as the Jolly Old Elf. "You always knew it. I always knew it, now the world knows it," Stuart said with a laugh.

Stuart described the special, which has a spaceship-to-the-North Pole theme, as "a kinda knucklehead Christmas show." It airs December 10 and 23. Besides Nelson, the jolly cast includes Little Jimmy Dickens as "Tater Claus" and BR5-49 as Christmas elves.

"The hardest thing I've ever accomplished is to write a legitimate-sounding Christmas song," he said, adding that the special includes two of his own works. The show isn't overly holiday-skewed, though. The first song he plays with Santa-Willie is 'Stay All Night.' "Willie said being Santa is a lot of hard work," Stuart said. "Have you ever worked behind a herd of reindeer?"

By Shirley Jinkins

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