Stuart Opens Sparkle & Twang Exhibit In Tupelo

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - January 20, 2010

Marty Stuart was in Tupelo on January 8 to open his exhibit, Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey, at the Tupelo Automobile Museum, One Otis Boulevard, as part of Tupelo's 75th Elvis Birthday Celebration.

"This is a very vibrant exhibit, full of historic costumes, key artifacts and a must-see for music lovers," said Mississippi Development Authority/Tourism Director Mary Beth Wilkerson. "Marty continues to be an ambassador for our state and he plays a very important role in the promotion of Mississippi through his music and his life."

The exhibit represents more than 40 years of classic performers that made country, bluegrass, rock and southern gospel music famous.

The exhibition focuses on an astounding collection of performance costumes, accessories, handwritten lyrics, personal letters and instruments compiled by Stuart.

In addition, the exhibit showcases costumes, instruments, lyrics and other one-of-a-kind pieces including Elvis Presley's sweater, Patsy Cline's makeup case, Johnny Cash's "man in black" suit and the hand-written lyrics to Hank Williams' hit "Your Cheatin' Heart." This collection demonstrates how much fashion and music have influenced popular culture.

It also tells the personal story of Mississippi's native son, Marty Stuart, and his rise to stardom.

At the age of nine, Stuart formed his first band in his hometown of Philadelphia. He went on to join legendary guitarist Lester Flatt and his band as their mandolin player, and before he was 20 years old, he joined Johnny Cash's band on the road. While he was on tour with Cash in London in 1980, Stuart became motivated to become a collector. He had met Isaac Tigrett, a co-founder of the Hard Rock Café, who invited Stuart to the Hard Rock in London. Fascinated by the scene created around memorabilia from the world's most influential musicians, such as the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Janis Joplin, Stuart was inspired to formally craft his own collection.

Eventually, Stuart became a solo artist, achieving fame on his own and earning hit songs, a platinum album, five gold records and four Grammy awards. Stuart also remained dedicated to collecting memorabilia from the stars he met, befriended and performed with. The results are brought together in Sparkle & Twang, where they convey the story behind these legendary music personas and honor the significance of preserving the culture that represents America's musical past.

Stuart was at the Tupelo Automobile Museum during the Sparkle and Twang exhibit to sign copies of his book, Country Music: The Masters.

The exhibit will run at the museum in Tupelo through June 30, 2010. In July, the exhibit will move to the MSU Riley Center for Education and Performing Arts in Meridian. Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey will be showcased in Meridian beginning July 10 through September 26, 2010.

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