Stuart--Now He's Country
|This appeared in The Tennessean - December 20, 1992|
|In a time when country music is growing in all directions, Marty Stuart makes it clear just exactly what it means to be country in his hit Now That's Country.
Like the song says, Stuart was born in Mississippi, but he got his schooling on the road playing with Lester Flatt and Johnny Cash. He began playing mandolin in Flatt's band at the age of 13 and, when Flatt died in 1979, he began a six-year stint in Cash's band.
When it came time to move on to a solo career, Stuart embarked on a personal crusade for hillbilly music. His vision was a new style of country music in which the work of master artists like Flatt and Cash would live on in the music of new young artists.
His music combined hot musicianship with classic country sounds, and he surrounded himself with reminders of traditional country music, such as Ernest Tubb's bus, Clarence White and Hank Williams' guitars, and a closet full of Manuel suits.
Stuart's music was accepted not only by country fans but by the traditional country music community. After his 1989 album Hillbilly Rock, he appeared on the Grand Ole Opry, where he received the "seal of approval" in the form of encouragement from Hank Snow, Bill Monroe, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Thompson and Porter Wagoner.
Three weeks ago, the approval became official when Marty Stuart was made a member of the Grand Ole Opry.
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