Marty Stuart - Foot Stompin' Good Time

This appeared in Showbiz Magazine - October 22, 1995

Marty Stuart sums up his career simply and easily: "Going for something unique while trying to score inside the mainstream."

It sounds like an impossible dream, but it's exactly what Stuart has accomplished over the last five years. And the proof is in his new collection, The Marty Party Hit Pack.

Even though Stuart's albums provide a clear record of an artist establishing a new style of music, he cuts such a wide path that his own albums only tell part of the story. Five of the 12 cuts on The Marty Party Hit Pack have never been available on a Stuart album. Two are newly recorded, one was on a Travis Tritt album, one on Rhythm, Country and Blues and one on It's Now Or Never--The Tribute To Elvis.

When Stuart debuted on MCA in 1989, he paid his tributes to the masters of country music as he set about mastering a musical style of his own. His music came from somewhere out on the dangerous edges of country music, from bluegrass, rockabilly and honky tonk styles; from places where emotions--whether rowdy fun or painful heartaches--are just barely kept under control. He worked long and hard to bring all these elements together in a pure and natural way and to blend in his own considerable talents as a songwriter and musician. The result, as showcased on The Marty Party Hit Pack, is an honest and engaging body of work.

"This music rings true to me," says Stuart. "It rocks. It'll make you feel good and it can cause you to dance. It will help you in tough times and inspire you to keep going. I know."

"If I Ain't Got You," one of the two new cuts on the new album, is one of those feel-good dance tunes, straight out of the honky tonk scene. "Look close enough and you can see my redneck in this record," says Stuart. It makes his debut with producer Don Cook (Mark Collie, Lee Roy Parnell, Brooks & Dunn).

"The Likes Of Me," also produced by Cook, shows Stuart with an air of hard-edged self-confidence in a romantic situation. "Hillbilly Rock," written by Paul Kennerley (writer of several Judds hits) was the title of Stuart's first MCA album in 1989 and, with it, he took an independent stance while showing a reverence for country tradition.

"Western Girls" put Stuart and Kennerley together as songwriters and they pushed the volume limit of country music. "Tempted," the title cut of his second album and yet another Kennerley co-write, is Stuart's favorite song so far. Its Buddy Holly sound won the approval of an important crowd at an important time in his career.

"Little Things" was Stuart's highest-charted single to date and it almost didn't make it on record. "Burn Me Down" exemplified how Stuart's music brings old and new together to form a unique sound. The hot emotions of the lyrics and the music suggest a contemporary song, but the tune was written by Eddie Miller ("Release Me") back in the '60s. It just seemed right to Stuart to record it.

"The Whiskey Ain't Workin' " was originally released on a Travis Tritt album. Stuart and Tritt's highly successful association as duet partners began on a whim and turned into a tour. "This One's Gonna Hurt You," his second duet with Tritt, was a milestone in Stuart's career. It was the title tune of his first gold-selling album.

"Now That's Country," written by Stuart, was a typical mix of bluesy music and stone country imagery. "The Weight" teamed Stuart with one of the all-time great gospel/soul acts, the Staple Singers. Their stirring performance was on Rhythm, Country and Blues.

"Don't Be Cruel" showcased Stuart at the Pyramid in Memphis with the Jordanaires, the vocal group that backed Elvis on his original recording. The cut was included on the album It's Now Or Never: The Tribute To Elvis.

The Marty Party Hit Pack is a collection of important performances, but it's hardly a retrospective. It's more like a career-in-progress. There's still more to come. Stuart tells of stopping at a fortune tellers' booth at a fair in Colorado. "I paid her to tell me about my future," he said. "She took one look at my hand and gave me my money back. It shakes me sometimes when I think about it. She said the job was too big for her to handle."

As The Marty Party Hit Pack shows. the future of country music is in good hands with Stuart.

Writer unknown

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