It's Marty Time

This appeared on The Southern Art Blog - February 19, 2010

Grammy-award winning, country-music legend Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives conclude the Morris Museum of Art’s 2009-2010 Southern Soul & Song concert series at the Imperial Theatre on March 12, 2010 at 7:30 p.m.

“Marty Stuart is a wonderfully dynamic performer,” said Kevin Grogan, director of the Morris Museum of Art and founder of Southern Soul and Song. “His shows are full of energy, and always full of surprises. In 2007, for example, Marty and his band performed a bluegrass version of the Bee Gees’s disco classic, ‘Stayin’ Alive’ that brought down the house.”

Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives--the back story.

Scoring six top-ten hits, one platinum and five gold albums, and four Grammy Awards, Marty Stuart has made lasting music as a front man, as well as in collaboration with virtually every major music figure from Lester Flatt to Bob Dylan. Stuart's energetic enthusiasm has gone outside music, yielding impressive work as a photographer, writer, collector, and arts executive.

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Mississippi, Marty Stuart entered the music business at the age of twelve when he started playing mandolin with the Sullivan Family Singers. A year later, at age thirteen, he was offered a job as rhythm guitarist with Lester Flatt’s band, Nashville Grass.

Stuart played mandolin with Flatt’s band for six years. After Flatt died in 1979, Stuart began playing electric guitar with fiddler Vassar Clements in Hillbilly Jazz and acoustic guitar with the legendary Doc and Merle Watson. Then, before his twentieth birthday, Stuart was named a member of Johnny Cash’s band.

Stuart recorded his first album as a bandleader in 1977 and, four albums later, was invited to become a member of the Grand Ole Opry in 1992. In the early 1990s, Stuart struck up a friendship with rising star Travis Tritt. Stuart co-wrote and co-sang "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," from Tritt’s breakthrough album It’s All About To Change, and the single soared to number two and landed the pair a Grammy. Stuart then released his first greatest hits album in 1995 and wrote, produced, and performed “Same Old Train,” the Grammy-winning grand finale to 1998’s multiple artists’ compilation album A Tribute To Tradition.

Stuart didn’t record or tour during 2000. Instead, he worked on a variety of other creative projects, including a book of his own photographs, Pilgrims: Sinners, Saints and Prophets, which was published by Rutledge Hill Press. He wrote songs for the Dixie Chicks and produced recordings for his friend Billy Bob Thornton, as well as for his old colleagues, the Sullivans, and old-time country singer and showman Leroy Troy. Stuart also composed film scores including All the Pretty Horses, which garnered a Golden Globe nomination, and he organized an exhibit by the painter Thomas B. Allen, who had created artwork for a number of Flatt & Scruggs album covers. And he continued his study of Native American culture, earning an honorary master of arts degree in Lakota leadership from the Oglala Lakota College in South Dakota.

In 2003 Stuart formed his Fabulous Superlatives, featuring guitarist Kenny Vaughan, drummer Harry Stinson, and bassist Brian Glenn, and, in 2005, he started Superlatone Records with Universal South Entertainment. In addition to such Superlatone releases as the gospel collection Souls’ Chapel; the concert recording Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives Live at the Ryman, and Badlands, a group of songs about the lives of Native Americans, Stuart has published a collection of his photography, Country Music: The Masters; loaned the highlights of his country music memorabilia collection for a touring exhibition, Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey; hosted a weekly show, Marty Stuart’s American Odyssey, on XM Radio; and is touring the United States with his Fabulous Superlatives.

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