Harry Stinson: Country Renaissance Man

This appeared on the LimeWire Music Blog - August 2, 2010

One glimpse at the bio of Nashville singer/songwriter/instrumentalist Harry Stinson reveals an impressive career. He has played with George Jones, Neil Diamond, Jimmy Buffett, and Faith Hill—just to name four. He co-produced Trisha Yearwood’s 1994 chart topper “XXX’s & OOO’s”, and has played drums in Marty Stuart’s band The Fabulous Superlatives for several years now, helping to co-produce the band’s 2007 Live At The Ryman album.

Of course, being with Stuart means that Stinson is prominently featured on the singer’s weekly RFD-TV series. He tells LimeWire Music Blog that it’s something that he truly enjoys.

“We have a blast,” he says. “It’s a fun show to do.” One of the fun parts of the show is that each member of the band gets some face time, a fact that Stinson says is due to Stuart’s willingness to share the spotlight. ‘He’s a big supporter of all of us. We all have a part in the show. He gives us our own solo spot to do. He’s just very supportive. He likes characters. He is one, you know. He’s generous as a person and a performer.”

The show, which has been on the air since November 2008, attracts several country music legends, such as Dolly Parton and Earl Scruggs—basically people that you just don’t get to play with everyday. That fact is not lost on Stinson. “We’ve had some very special people,” he says. “Merle Haggard, Ray Price…the list just goes on and on. The show is a real tribute to traditional country music. The people who come to this show, they don’t come with their entourages and special needs—they show up for the show, and they are team players.”

The show does hearken back to the days of such syndicated fare as The Porter Wagoner Show or The Wilburn Brothers Show. At the same time, so does the upcoming Stuart release, Ghost Town, which comes out later this month on Sugar Hill Records. Stinson is excited for people to hear the long-awaited disc, saying “It’s going to be country music, which there’s not a lot of out there. He’s written some great songs, and there’s some incredible outside things as well. Ghost Train is a real statement for him.” The album was recorded at Nashville’s historic RCA Studio B, where a teen named Marty Stuart once played with Lester Flatt.

Stinson is also excited about a recording of his own. He is one of several tunesmiths that contributed a track to Adroit Records’ The Nashville Americana Storytellers Collection. His contribution is a song that he is very familiar with—“Wild Angels,” which was the first chart-topper for Martina McBride back in 1995.

“Jim Tract at Adroit Records asked me to do a version of ‘Wild Angels,’ which is a song I wrote that Martina McBride had a hit on,” Stinson says when asked how he came to be involved with the record. “It’s my version of the song, which I had wanted to do for a while. He came up with this compilation of songwriters performing their own songs which had been big hits, and also to introduce some new songwriters. Nashville is full of great talent that you don’t always get to hear on the radio. You might not familiar with some of these people.”

As far fetched as it sounds, McBride was once an artist just like that. Her first few records failed to catch wind at country radio, but “Wild Angels” kept climbing until it reached the pinnacle of the charts in 1995. Stinson says that song that you know was a little different in its’ infant stages. “The inspiration for the song came about when Matraca Berg and I got together. She came up with this title, and I think I had some music to start it with, of ‘Wild Angels On Blue Horses.’ I went ‘Okay,’ and we and Gary Harrison got involved with writing the song as well.”

Of course, the title was shortened to “Wild Angels,” and the rest, as they say is history. Hearing it from the songwriter’s perspective is quite the treat. While fans in the states might have a while to wait for the full disc, as the collection has just been released so far in Europe. But, you can find Stinson’s stunning take on the song at adroitrecords.com, and look for him every week on The Marty Stuart Show each week on RFD-TV!

By Chuck Dauphin

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