Stuart Credits Cash For Fearless Creativity

This appeared in the San Antonio Express-News - June 13, 2007

Marty Stuart always has been independent and self-assured. But those traits got a big boost when he played in Johnny Cash's band in the early 1980s. "The thing I took away from Cash was about being absolutely fearless creatively, about taking your eye off any kind of box office or chart numbers," Stuart said. "It's about what fills up your heart, do it, have fun doing it, be serious about it and it's going to find an audience and its mark."

Stuart obviously took it to heart, too, with a career covering everything from bluegrass and gospel to rockabilly and stone country and more, covered quickly in a trio of albums he released in 2005-06 — Souls' Chapel, a country gospel CD; Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota, a provocative tribute to the tribe; and Live at the Ryman, a killer bluegrass album.

Then there is last week's release of Compadres: An Anthology of Duets, which covers Stuart's career from a young teen playing mandolin with Lester Flatt and singing with Cash, George Jones, Travis Tritt and Merle Haggard.

It's part of another triple threat with the coinciding release of the photo book Country Music: The Masters and the opening of Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey, a 10,000-square-foot exhibit of his collection of country music artifacts at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

"Man, it's like Christmas," said Stuart, who will show off his musical wares with his band Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives at 8:15 Friday night at Rio Cibolo Ranch. The Gougers will open.

By John Goodspeed

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