CMA Honors Marty Stuart With Joe Talbot Award

This appeared in the Los Angeles Chronicle - December 12, 2007

As far as Marty Stuart knew, October 3, 2007, would end on a pleasing though not epochal note.

With CMA Board meetings underway in Nashville, it made sense that CMA CEO Tammy Genovese would call and ask if he wouldn't mind leading Board members on a tour of "Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey."

This exhibit, a cavalcade of memorabilia that Stuart had accumulated during his rise from child prodigy to Country Music giant, had been on display since June at the Tennessee State Museum. For those Board members who had come from out of town, this could be their only chance to view these treasures before November 11, when the costumes, instruments, photos and other items would be removed and stored once again.

His guard was down, then, as Stuart strode into the Museum shortly after 6 p.m., past the photo montage of Country Music icons that filled one complete wall. One could pick out a teenaged Stuart in this picture, surrounded by the elder icons of Country Music, their images assembled from photos by former Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum photographer Les Leverett.

The surprise was sprung only after the room had filled with Board members, who had been strolling through the "Sparkle & Twang" displays. At around 7:30 p.m., Genovese stood behind the podium on a small stage, welcomed everyone to this special occasion and then invited Stuart to join her.

After thanking him for making time to join her and the Board, she reminded those in the room of why they were really gathered together. "We wanted the Board to see your exhibit but," she said, turning to Stuart, "we also want to honor and recognize you."

With that, Genovese lifted the black cloth from the mysterious object it had covered on the table to her right, revealing the prestigious Joe Talbot Award, given by the CMA Board of Directors to honor its recipient's outstanding leadership in maintaining and advancing Country Music's values and traditions.

A standing ovation followed, after which Genovese extolled Stuart's multiple contributions.

By Robert L. Doerschuk

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