Music, Laughter Part Of 'Marty Show'

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - July 3, 2013

A sold-out crowd packed the Ellis Theater Friday night for the taping of The Marty Stuart Show, which was filled with music, laughter and a few special presentations.

The RFD-TV show, which airs on August. 31, ended its fifth season with the two-hour performance in the 511-seat theater.

The show included performances by Stuart and his band, The Fabulous Superlatives; his wife, country music legend Connie Smith; WSM-AM DJ, fiddle player and Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs as the master of ceremonies; and banjo virtuoso and humorist Leroy Troy.

The night also featured three presentations: two to Peggy Webb of the famed Peggy's restaurant and another to Stuart.

The event began at 8 p.m. when a member of Stuart's crew coached the audience on how to properly applaud and cheer during the taping.

The show began with a performance of Stuart's first Top 10 County hit "Hillbilly Rock." The audience was asked to participate and yell out "Hillbilly Rock" during the chorus.

During a performance of "Met My Baby at the Choctaw Fair" Stuart surprised the audience by bringing out Choctaw Tribal dancers.

Because the show was being taped for television, several breaks were taken throughout the night. These moments were punctuated by Stuart addressing the audience, making jokes and constantly asking if anyone had a "Diet Mountain Dew."

Midway through the taping, the Neshoba County native brought Peggy Webb of Peggy's restaurant fame to the stage.

"She's a Philadelphia legend, a Mississippi institution," he said, citing her use of the honor system form of payment in her restaurant. "That's what Peggy thought of human beings. She trusted us." He told the audience that Webb would take the leftovers and feed the neighborhood children.

Webb was presented a resolution from the city presented by Alderman-at Large Janice Payne thanking her for all she has done for the community. Sen. Giles Ward also presented a resolution, proclaiming June 28, "Peggy Webb Day."

"Words can't say what Philadelphia and Neshoba has meant to me and my family over the years," Webb said. "In the early years, all I had going for me was I knew how to cook. Through the grace of God and you people I have made it. I love all of you."

Webb was also given a custom leather chair by Stuart, which she sat in while Stuart brought on longtime guest Leroy Troy.

The two performed "Ghost Chickens in the Sky" for Webb in honor of all the chicken she has fried over the years.

After Webb's departure, Stuart was presented with a plaque by the Jimmie Rodgers Foundation honoring him for his contributions to Country Music.

The show ended with Stuart bringing all the performers on stage to perform one last time. After an encore performance, the show's stars sat in the theater lobby selling CDs and signing autographs.

This is not the first time Stuart has performed at the Ellis. Nearly four years ago he entertained a full house during a "Marty Party" following the dedication of Stuart's Country Music Trail marker at the corner of Byrd Avenue and Main Street.

Friday's event was sponsored by Mississippi's Tourism Division, Neshoba County Tourism and the Pearl River Resort and Casino.

The show has been the top rated program on RFD-TV's entire network for five consecutive seasons.

The current season can be seen on RFD-TV owned Rural TV on Saturday nights and will repeat on cable's FamilyNet which enjoys an estimated viewership of ten million people per week.

By Steven Thomas

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