Marty Stuart Comes To The Elida Fieldhouse Tonight

This appeared in The Lima News - May 20, 1995

There is an ever-thinning line between country and rock 'n' roll, and Marty Stuart is holding the chalk. It's more than just the longish hair or the flashy clothes. That's old hat--or no hat to be specific--in the country lore. It's not even the music which has flavors of the raucousness of which rock used to boast.

What Stuart has is a rock 'n' roll attitude. That's that if-it's-too-loud-you're-too-hold strut that Mick Jagger had before he became eligible for Golden Buckeye discounts and Elvis nearly invented about 7,000 cheeseburgers ago.

He'll be bringing that attitude to the Elida Fieldhouse (Elida, OH) tonight. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. Former MTV "Real World" star John Brennan will open for him.

"When I first got started seven or eight years ago, my music was totally unacceptable. It was too loud, too edgy, too modern. I've always had one foot in tradition and the other on the complete apposite end," Stuart said.

That tradition comes naturally to the Mississippi-born Stuart. He first hit he road at age 13 with country legend Lester Flatt. He later played with Johnny Cash and has since worked with about every musician of note in country, bluegrass and even rock. He even has some friends you wouldn't expect, like Keith Richards and Sheryl Crow.

"All my rock 'n' roll friends I usually met when I was playing bluegrass with a mandolin in my hand," Stuart said. "You stay out there long enough and you become a musical citizen."

Stuart's own successes have evolved along with country's acceptance into the mainstream. And, while he is happy that country is cool again, he is concerned with some of the effects of popularity.

"I think country music is in good shape in most areas. I love the fact that it's mainstream with people. We just came back from a tour in Europe and we were going into places like Portugal and Milan and Madrid....and they are just hungry for it. I think that's great," he said. "But it does kind of scare me that artistic development and the lifetime of a young artist is so shortened. But that comes with big business, I suppose.

The popularity of country has allowed such traditional country and bluegrass people as Alison Krauss and Travis Tritt to gain success. But it has also attracted a number of other "karaoke cowboys" who moved in for the money.

"Nowadays, country music's a great place for some aging rock stars," Stuart joked. "I think it's gonna add up and you can subtotal it and call it Urban Cowboy Two, and that's when you're going to really need people like Alison and Alan Jackson and Pam Tillis, when the credentials of country are threatened again."

But for now, the credentials of country remain pretty solid and Stuart is near the head of his class. "There are a group of us and we're bluegrass kids...and I think we make pretty good representatives for bluegrass music," Stuart said. "It's like the blues needed Eric Clapton and Stevie Ray Vaughan as a voice outside the regular camp. That's what we are to bluegrass, introducing it to people who many never hear it."

By Bart Mills

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