Marty Stuart Opens New Tour at Ramblers Ranch, Thursday

This appeared in the Times News - May 21, 1999

Country singer Marty Stuart opens his 1999 tour on Thursday at Ramblers Ranch in Jim Thorpe. Stuart said he was contacted by several sites throughout the country regarding the opening of his tour but he opted for the Jim Thorpe site.

"We were offered numerous places to come and start our tour but we feel we have a pocket of fans in Pennsylvania," he said. Also, he heard of Ramblers Ranch from another performer who played here and told him all about it. He didn't identify the performer.

"I can't wait to come and see it," he said of Ramblers. "It sounded interesting."

Stuart is releasing the album, The Pilgrim, an anthology of country tunes centered around a true story that involved a friend, unfaithfulness in a relationship, an innocent victim, and suicide.

Stuart takes the listener on a unique and pivotal musical journey. He wrote most of the songs himself. On two he had co-writers. Country great Pam Tillis joins him on one of the cuts, "Reasons," which dwells on the suicide note.

Emmylou Harris, who sang at the funeral of Bill Monroe, was recruited to start the journey with "The Pilgrim." Later, she adds her voice to "Truckstop."

Stuart said he will sing the songs from the new album at the Ramblers Ranch show, in addition to singing some of his older hits including "This One's Gonna Hurt You," "Hillbilly Rock," and "That's Country."

In a phone interview from California, where Stuart is working on preparing for the tour, he said, "I'm excited about this CD. I hope it does well, but regardless, working on it was and seeing the finished product is probably the most rewarding time of my life."

This is Stuart's first release in three years. Because of his strong feelings toward The Pilgrim, Stuart confided, "It took a whole lot of time than usual to write. There's so much more dimension."

Stuart is married to country singer Connie Smith, best known for the song "Once A Day." His former father-in-law is Johnny Cash, who has a role on the new CD.

When asked about his biggest accomplishments so far in his 25-year career, Stuart revealed his sense of humor, responding, "Being on time for my interviews."

He then got serious. He said on accomplishments that he feels the late Lester Flatt had the best advice, which was, "It's not coming in and taking every award available, and making a whole lot of money. The real trick is just being around on Jan. 1 and knowing you've made it for another year. Just having staying power. I think I'm doing okay performing for 25 years."

Stuart started in the business with Flatt when he was just 13. He was born and raised in Mississippi but moved to Tennessee when he was hired by Flatt. He worked for Flatt for seven years until Flatt died, then joined Johnny Cash's band.

Not everything has gone smoothly for him. He said the toughest time for him was going through a divorce in the middle of his career. "I lost a record deal and a family at the same time," he said. "Overall, though, it's been a pretty good road. I'm not whining."

By Ron Gower

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