Stuart To Honky Tonk Sparks

This appeared in Tahoe Fun - January 4, 1998

Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best is Marty Stuart's newest album. But surprisingly, the country music star has never honky tonked in northern Nevada; this week's engagement at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks will be the first time.

Exactly why is unclear. Certainly it's not for the lack of country music in casinos; Eddy Arnold broke that barrier in the 1970s. And it isn't that his style is out of place for the gambling audience; in fact, it seems right in line with them. It seems Stuart just dropped through the cracks, most likely because of this past decade's lackadaisical booking policies at some major casinos.

At any rate, it's good to see him on the marquee, and he will certainly wake up the Celebrity Theater on Thursday after its December nap. Just the first hit from that new album alone will do the job--"The Mississippi Mudcat and Sister Sheryl Crow." And if the weather outside is frightful, what better song to hear than his second single release from the album--"Shelter From The Storm." [Note: Any Marty fan knows neither of those songs were singles from the album Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best.]

Stuart is that rare beast--the studio player who moves up to featured artist. He has played with Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Willie Nelson, Bob Dylan and Neil Young. And he learned to play bluegrass, blues, honky tonk, rock 'n' roll and "new country" along the way.

Those are just a few of the many styles Stuart promises to include in his regional casino debut. But it was bluegrass that got him started. He was 13 when he stood outside the tour bus of Lester Flatt, half of the legendary Flatt and Scruggs.

Stuart wanted to catch Flatt and get his autograph. Instead, he met Roland White, one of Flatt's band members. White encouraged him to pursue his love of music. One year later, Stuart was a member of Flatt's band.

Since then, his goal has been, in his own words: "I intend to work through maintain music, through bluegrass music, through folk music, through honky tonk music, through hillbilly, rock 'n' roll, to 21st century country music."

Stuart's show at the Nugget is going to be pretty down-home, because sharing the stage will be Waddie Mitchell, cowboy poet.

By Mel Shields

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