It was more or less a storytellers session at Joes Pub in New York City with Marty Stuart Monday night. The intimate solo show was in support of his latest release, Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions, and the majority of his set originated from this record, though naturally he wove in classics like his The Whiskey Aint Workin and Johnny Cashs Ring of Fire.
Nearly every song was preceded with a detailed story placing its conception somewhere within the pantheon of country music. Stuart penned Hard Working Mana sensitive lament of the corrosive effects of the decline of blue collar laborfor his Daddy, but focus-grouped it on Merle Haggard. Showing Mr. Haggard a three-minute country song was like showing Mount Rushmore your rock collection he quipped. The somber Hangman was written in response to visiting the original Fulsom Prison cafeteria of Cashs classic and learning its back wall was the prisons original gallows. Stuck on the final lyrics, he asked his neighbor J.R. (Cash to the layperson) for help, who contributed them days before his passing.
Though Stuart is arguably a country artists country musicianvirtuosic and omnipresent yet unknown to mainstream listenershe still cuts a commanding figure. Clad in an all-black, desperado jacket Stuarts silver mane was a striking crown. At times, though, it seemed like Stuarts stories, with a wink, were simply a reassertion of his proximity to, and ostensible inclusion with country music legends. But his blazing solo guitar and mandolin instrumentals made his inherent talent perfectly clear. Demonstrating his good-natured spirit, Stuart invited a harmonica-wielding solicitor named John to accompany him on his last song, Sure Wanna Keep My Wine.