Marty Stuart's Cub Scout Uniform To Be Part Of Museum Display

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - November 26, 2008

Marty Stuart's Cub Scout uniform will help tell the story of the country music star's early years in Neshoba County in an exhibit planned in the county museum.

Also on display will be the suit he wore when he left town for Nashville to start his music career.

Stuart was in Philadelphia Monday to meet with members of the museum council to share ideas and memorabilia for the "Marty Stuart Room," which will contain such things as his "first performance shirt," which he wore while entertaining at Moonlight Madness as a child on the square in downtown Philadelphia as well as the suitcase and mandolin he carried with him to Nashville at age 13.

In addition to his first guitar, Stuart plans to share one of his report cards from Philadelphia City Schools where he proudly noted "all A's" in band while the math scores were nothing to boast about.

The exhibit will also include a two-page essay he wrote in the sixth grade entitled "What I want to do in my life" and a wide variety of pictures, including one of him wearing his first pair of cowboy boots and another of him performing as a youngster before the Philadelphia Rotary Club.

The exhibit, which is expected to take more than a year to complete, is tentatively titled Mississippi Boy. Marty Stuart. The Neshoba County years.

"To me, the story is the boy had everything he had from family and friends and hometown before he ever left the city limits to go out into the world," Stuart told members of the museum council.

Karen Cronin of Cronin Creative of Nashville will design the room and a professional will be hired to fabricate the exhibit.

Council member Alice Rowe said the exhibit would be of the highest quality and "done right" initially.

We don't want to come back two years later and say we wish we had done something else, she said.

The idea for a Marty Stuart Room at the museum stemmed over a year ago when two council members toured a similar exhibit in Tennessee.

William Hamill and Pat Alford visited the Sparkle and Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum.

That exhibit highlighted musical memorabilia that Stuart has collected over the years.

Plans call for the exhibit here to feature audio of Stuart describing his early days in Neshoba County.

"I was raised in the place that was known as Route 8, Philadelphia, Mississippi," he said. "It is what I heard for years before I stepped out onto a stage. I'm fond of that introduction because I am proud of where I come from."

Stuart left home on Labor Day weekend in 1972 to visit a friend, Roland White, in Nashville, who played with Lester Flatt's band.

"It was supposed to be a three-day trip. However, Lester offered me a job before the weekend was over. I was 13 years old. I wanted that job because I dreamed of being a professional musician," he said.

Stuart said he arrived in Nashville with a strong sense of purpose and a solid understanding of who he was, where he came from and what he loved and believed in.

"Every one of those foundational qualities can be traced straight back to my family and friends in Neshoba County," he said.

Stuart recalled crying in his mother's arms after hearing the church bells from the Presbyterian church because he was so moved by the music.

"It lit a fire in my heart," he said.

The Neshoba County native said he heard Connie Smith in concert at the Choctaw Indian Fair in 1970 and told his mother on the way home he was going to marry her someday.

"Twenty-five years later, I did," he said.

Stuart listened to WHOC radio and learned to respect all forms of music as a youngster "thanks to a local visionary, Howard Cole," he said.

The rhythm in his music came from sounds he heard outside the Busy Bee Cafe, he said, recalling when he heard the song "High Heel Sneakers" for the first time.

At that young age, he dreamed of having a gold tooth and some cool clothes like Foots Baxstrum and other musicians around the Busy Bee.

Stuart recorded an album in 1982 entitled Busy Bee Cafe.

Stuart said his second goal in his life was to have people pay as much attention to him on stage and they did Ross Barnett at the Neshoba County Fair.

"He was a star to me," he said.

Throughout his career, Stuart said his greatest assets have remained his family and home and a hometown that has never failed to welcome him back with open arms.

By Debbie Burt Myers

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