|Marty Stuart talks about Merle Travis, Vassar Clements, and the artists who made Saturday Night Shuffle.....
"Everybody loves Merle Travis and everybody loves Vassar Clements. So if Vassar calls and says 'Let's make a record that pays tribute to Merle,' everybody shows up!
It was 1983, and I know my first record deal was right around the corner. I went down to Mt. View, Arkansas to the Merle Travis 'Thumb Pickin' Contest', and ultimately, Merle was the judge of this thing. I was one of the other judges. I'd been driving all day long and I heard some music playing. I went over and listened, and there Merle was, bright Nudie suit, his guitar and a spotlight--the most amazing music I'd ever heard. The people I worked with when I was younger all loved Merle's music. Lester Flatt loved Merle. Johnny Cash loved Merle.
The first time I ever heard Vassar Clements play fiddle was on some old bluegrass albums. This man played fiddle like I never heard before--it was the most lonesome, scary sound coming out of a fiddle I'd ever heard. I played the mandolin and, once I heard the music, I ditched everything I knew and went back and tried to play the mandolin like Vassar played fiddle. Years later, I played at the Opry and I saw this man playing fiddle. He stood very straight, and he had his eyes closed and he was playing the prettiest music you could ever imagine. It froze me to the spot. This man is probably my very favorite fiddle player on earth. Back when Lester Flatt died, I decided I wanted to branch out in music, and I heard Vassar was looking for an electric guitar player. So I bought an electric guitar and called him up. I stayed with him for about a year."