Marty Stuart

Makes the Most of Multiple Talents

This appeared in MusicWorld - April 2001

Need a renaissance man? Grammy-winning vocalist and instrumentalist, hit songwriter and producer, acclaimed photographer, writer-journalist - and Hollywood Hillbilly - that's Marty Stuart.

Newly inducted into the Mississippi Musicians Hall of Fame, Stuart tallied hits on major labels and crafted such ambitious projects as his critically acclaimed concept album The Pilgrim.

"My bedrock is all of the above, and what I'm doing at the moment," explains Stuart, whose state-of-the-art moment is now writing songs. Although The Pilgrim didn't climb into the upper reaches of the charts, the ambitious effort earned two Grammy nominations and led him into new avenues of creativity. "I knew that was a commercial disaster" he says, "but I knew I had to do it because it would pull back in some of the credibility I had squandered. After that album, I made a conscience call . . . and wiped the board completely clean."

Marty and his wife, Grand Ole Opry great Connie Smith, then headed to Hawaii for a month. "When I came back and started following my heart, it turned into the busiest and most productive period of my life," notes Stuart. "You find out how much fire you've got left and where it really burns."

Recent creative highlights include scoring the Billy Bob Thornton movie All The Pretty Horses, writing and performing the end-title ballad and producing the soundtrack CD, which earned a Golden Globe nomination. He also worked with Faye Dunaway on music for her short film production of Tennessee Williams' Yellow Bird.

As a producer, Stuart has collaborated on two albums with Thornton. "We have that southern connection," advises Marty. "He's a man of vision and integrity. He fights, and lives and breathes for the same principles in Hollywood that I love here."

Marty's TV credits run from A&E's Biography to Austin City Limits. Journalist Marty has graced the pages of the prestigious Oxford American, while photographer Marty has shot engaging images for books, magazines, album covers and gallery exhibitions. And songwriter Stuart has won numerous BMI Awards.

A leading historian of country music, Marty serves as President of the Country Music Foundation, and applauds the opening of Nashville's new Country Music Hall of Fame, which contains artifacts from his own collection. The multi-talented minstrel, who started touring at age 13 playing mandolin for Lester Flatt, appears destined to one day become a member of that elite group of country greats.

"When it's all said and done," he observes, "that's where we want to be. That's where our treasures go and our legacy lives."

By Gerry Wood

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