The Wizard of Opryland

Marty Stuart not taking his country-music fame in stride

This appeared in The Houston Post - December 25, 1994

[If during the next few months it seems like Marty Stuart is everywhere, you're right. Among his upcoming credits are a CBS special, "Best of Country" in January and his first "Marty Party" program on TNN in February (the same month his greatest-hits album "The Marty Party Hit Pack" comes out).]

Like clockwork, Marty Stuart enters the Opryland Waffle House every morning and orders a cheese omelet, a big glass of iced tea and dry piece of toast. Same breakfast. Same time. Same reaction from the other customers.

"Ah, Mr. Stuart," an astonished fan says, his hand extended. "I'd just like to shake your hand." Stuart graciously shakes his hand and gives him his autograph. While Stuart has breakfast, he often opens up a notebook and works on song lyrics. Interruptions go with the turf.

Marty Stuart is on the board of the Country Music Foundation, He's on the Grand Ole Opry. He's a real country music insider. But that wasn't always the case. "When you interviewed me in 1985, what you were doing was profiling the crack in the wall," Stuart says to the writer who in 1985 provided Stuart with his first cover story. "There was a stone wall up in this town that nobody had penetrated. Hank (Williams) Jr. was doing a pretty good job, but on the the front line was Steve Earle, Dwight Yoakam and me.

"Steve went to his own planet by choice and I didn't happen. Dwight did get through and he carried the ball for us. What you were writing about then is what you're seeing happen right now--it's the crack in the wall."

Stuart would be the first to admit he went through some lean years after the release of his first album on a major label in 1966. "For about two years, I couldn't give it away," he says. "I looked for twigs to hang onto. It was dark."

Now a big success, Stuart is still a bit cautious. He knows what it's like to be ignored. He doesn't want that ever to happen again. Stuart's last album, "Love and Luck," was released in the spring. Midway through recording it, he decided it was not what he wanted. "I stopped it and went to MCA and asked them if I could have some more time to make a good record," he says. "When I got all my wits back and started eating with knives and forks again, I set out on a writing adventure to dig deep inside myself. So whenever I was on an Indian reservation or on a beach or on a bus, I really went deep for hard-core lyrics as well as a deep groove."

The result is an album Stuart considers one of his best. "It kinda resembles sort of a southern California kind of country-rock record," he says.

By James Dickerson

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