|This appeared in The Newport Syndicate - March 2, 2012|
Legend seems like a soft a word for Marty Stuart. Self-taught on guitar and mandolin, Stuart had played professionally for two years when he joined Lester Flatts Nashville Grass in 1972. Stuart was 14.
Over the next seven years, Stuart played with Vassar Clements, Doc Watson, became a member of Johnny Cashs band and released his debut solo album. Stuarts early work reflected his bluegrass beginnings, but his third solo album, 1990s Hillbilly Rock, marked a shift to traditional Country with an electric honky-tonk edge and the hits piled up, culminating in a gold album for 1992s This Ones Gonna Hurt You.
But commercial success was less gratifying than Stuart imagined and, after a series of marginal releases, he released the epic concept album, The Pilgrim, in 1999. While it fared poorly in sales, it signaled Stuarts pursuit of creative excellence rather than chart success.
He assembled a band, the Fabulous Superlatives, and a boutique label, Superlatone Records, and released his church house trilogy 2005s Souls Chapel and the conceptual Badlands and 2006s Live at the Ryman, which cracked the Bluegrass charts Top 5. After 2008s Cool Country Favorites, a quasi-tribute to classic country, Stuart signed with Sugar Hill for 2010s Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions; his next album, Nashville, Volume 1; Tear the Woodpile Down, is slated for release late next month.
A 1993 Grand Ole Opry inductee, Marty Stuart has written articles and a book, published his photographs of Country stars, assembled an exhibit of his memorabilia for the Tennessee State Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and produced the late Porter Wagoners 2007 comeback album Wagonmaster.
By Brian Baker
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