Marty Stuart Represents Country Music's Future, Past

This appeared in The Times - October 21, 1994

He's the official international ambassador of tourism for Nashville, Tennessee, but Marty Stuart could just as easily be dubbed the international ambassador of country music. He tours the country in Ernest Tubb's old bus. He graces concert stages wearing sequined Nudie suits a la Hank Williams and even owns one of Williams' old guitars. He's performed duets with the likes of George Jones. And he's got the kind of voice that could make the spirits of country's past dance down the corridors of country music's Hall of Fame.

So when Marty Stuart takes the stage at the Louisiana State Fair Thursday, he'll be representing not only country music's future, but also its history. "Somebody needs to pay attention to it," Stuart said of country music's history during a recent tour break. "I think new country fans, whether they get into the music through me or whatever, need to look just one step further and find Buck Owens and Merle Haggard and George Jones. It's entertaining them and educating them."

The 36-year-old Stuart has done a bit of both himself. He cut his teeth in Lester Flatt's band when he was 13 years old and went on to play in Johnny Cash's band. for his 1982 solo debut, he gathered the likes of Earl Scruggs, Johnny Cash and Doc Watson--not bad company for an upstart who has seldom conformed to Nashville's conventions.

From his 1989 album Hillbilly Rock up to the new Love And Luck, Stuart has always touted the history of white-knuckled honky tonk while making some of the most refreshing and original music produced in Nashville--or anywhere else.

By John Floyd

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