Marty Stuart And The Fabulous Superlatives To Headline RiverFest

This appeared in the New Albany News-Exchange - September 23, 2010

Marty Stuart is described as one of Country Music’s most eclectic artists. The Philadelphia, Mississippi native is known for country, bluegrass and southern rock, combining traditional with rockabilly.

He was interested in music early on, teaching himself guitar and mandolin before he was 12. Then he started performing with the Bluegrass group The Sullivans. He later met Lester Flatt band member Roland White. White invited Stuart to play with him and the Nashville Grass and eventually asked him to join the band permanently and Stuart accepted.

Marty stayed with Lester Flatt until Flatt broke up the band in 1978 due to his failing health.

Stuart worked with bluegrass greats fiddler Vassar Clements and guitarist Doc Watson and in 1980, he joined Johnny Cash’s backing band. The previous year, Stuart made his first solo album, With A Little Help From My Friends, on Ridge Runner Records.

Stuart landed a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1985. In 1986, he released a self-titled album on the label. In 1985, just after landing his deal with Columbia, he had a Top 20 hit with the song "Arlene."

He later landed a deal with MCA Records in 1989, which was formerly Decca Records. That year, Stuart released his first album on MCA, Hillbilly Rock. The title track, "Hillbilly Rock," was his first Top Ten hit on the Country charts. The other song, "Western Girls," just broke the Top 20. The album got great reviews from critics, who compared Marty’s work to that of country singer Dwight Yoakam. The album featured a cover version of the Johnny Cash hit "Cry! Cry! Cry!." In 1991, he released another album, Tempted, and the title track became Marty’s first Top 5 hit.

In 1991, Marty co-wrote a song with Travis Tritt called "The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’." The song was recorded as a duet on Tritt’s 1991 album It’s All About to Change, and that became Marty’s biggest hit. In 1992, his former record company, Columbia finally released his album Let There Be Country. That same year, Stuart released the album This One’s Gonna Hurt You on MCA. The album’s title track, a duet with Travis Tritt, was released as a single, and became another Top Ten hit for Stuart. This One’s Gonna Hurt You became Marty’s first gold album.

Stuart left MCA in 2000, joining Columbia Records, releasing a new album in 2003; however, this album was credited to "Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives." In 2005, Stuart launched a custom record label, Superlatone Records, to issue overlooked Southern Gospel and Roots music recordings. Stuart released three critically acclaimed collections on Superlatone, Souls’ Chapel, Badlands and Live at the Ryman. In October 2005, Stuart released a concept album, Badlands: Ballads Of The Lakota, which pays tribute to the Sioux culture in what is now South Dakota.

His collection of music memorabilia and photography was exhibited at the Tennessee State Museum in 2007 as Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart’s American Musical Odyssey. In October, 2008, the Sparkle & Twang exhibit opened at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. Also in 2007, Stuart produced country legend Porter Wagoner’s debut album on the predominantly punk label Epitaph Records. The exhibit is now on tour.

Marty Stuart announced in August 2008 a new TV show that he would be hosting, featuring traditional country music in the vein of The Porter Wagoner Show, Flatt & Scruggs and Hee Haw. The Marty Stuart Show began airing on cable’s RFD-TV, and continued each Saturday through April 25, 2009.

Each episode featured music by Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, as well as his wife, Grand Ole Opry star Connie Smith, and guests.

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