Country Partners

'Brothers' Stuart and Tritt are in town tonight

This appeared in The Chattanooga Times - October 11, 1996

What happens when Marty's party meets Tritt's hits? Weeeeeell, ya got Double Trouble, my friends--right here in Chattanooga.

"Every time we get together, it's like one and one equal three," says Travis Tritt, who'll rock the UTC arena tonight with his brother--at least musically and spiritually--Marty Stuart.

"The fact that Marty and I won Grammy awards together, won CMA (Country Music Association) awards together, had number-one records together has legitimized Marty and Travis touring together," Tritt says, "unlike other acts that are thrown together just to sell tickets."

Or there could be less lofty rationale. "The real reason we're getting back together is that Travis is trying to raise enough money to start a barber shop in Georgia," says Marty, known for his popular Marty Party specials on The Nashville Network. "And I'm trying to pull together enough dough so I can finally get my VCR repair business of the ground. After all, what are brothers for?" That's about as likely as this duo releasing an album of Gregorian chants.

Double Trouble follows their 1992 No Hats tour (named for their lack of head gear so popular among their country contemporaries), which convinced Stuart of country's growing accessibility. As a contrast, he recalls one show he did at Michigan State early in his career, in 1972.

"The opening act was Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, then Lester Flatt, then The Eagles," Stuart remembers. "We were Martians to this audience, but they loved us. I never thought I would see country music go to college campuses and they were sold out."

The Double Trouble show features solo performances by both Tritt and Stuart (along with guest performer Paul Brandt) sandwiched by their rollicking duets and playful banter. The latter seems to stem from genuine affection, rather than duty to showmanship.

"We don't make it up for the press," Tritt insists, about their brotherly bond. "If we're not touring together, we're calling each other up, shopping for guitars, or fishing."

Their musical marriage has been blessed by critics as well as fans. Critic Robert K. Oermann noted, "Every sophisticated critic, pundit, music executive, tastemaker and big-city media mogul should see this show. It would teach them a lot about what's really happening out here in middle America. You could not have asked for a more eloquent demonstration of this music's new muscle on the American cultural scene."

And critic, Frank Roberts described them simply as "a couple of wild, proud, talented hillbillies."

Tritt and Stuart met backstage at the CMA Awards in 1990. "It was a real brief meeting," Tritt recalls. "We walked past each other--it was my first CMA show and Marty was just getting off the ground with his label, MCA--and we just pointed to each other and said almost simultaneously, 'I really like your stuff.' A few weeks later, Marty sent The Whiskey Ain't Workin' (composed by Stuart) to me, and he ended up recording it with me for my second album."

Tritt returned the favor, pairing with Stuart on the title track of Stuart's latest album, Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best, which Stuart wrote on a tour bus in Europe. "We had a 24-hour bus ride and almost everybody was looking for a way to get off the bus and get on the airplane," Stuart recalls. "I used the bus and stayed in the back. This is one of the songs that came out of it. I knew the second I cut the demo, it was something we could do."

Double Trouble will keep on bubbling through the end of November, taking Tritt and Stuart through 78 performances. And no, Tritt says, they don't get tired of each other. Nor do the fans seem to tire of them.

"Fans pick up on the fact that we have so much fun," Tritt says. "You can see the excitement level jump and he and I are constantly amazed by that. Fans can tell that we share a tremendous amount of respect and affection for each other.

By Steve Bornfeld

Return To Articles Return To Home Page