Marty Stuart

This appeared in Modern Screen's Country Music Almanac - 1997

Born: John Marty Stuart, September 30, 1958, Philadelphia, MS

Family: Parents, Hilda and John; sister, Jennifer

Marital Status: Marty is divorced from Johnny Cash's daughter Cindy

Instruments: Guitar, mandolin, fiddle, bass, and upright bass

Hobby: Marty's favorite hobby is collecting country music memorabilia

Marty was interested in music at an early age and received his first guitar at age nine. At twelve, he learned to play the mandolin and it was also at this age that he made his first public appearance. It was when he began to perform with the bluegrass/gospel group The Sullivan Family that he really began to get noticed.

Marty began playing bluegrass festivals and it was at one such festival that he met Roland White, Lester Flatts' mandolin player. Roland was very impressed with Marty's talent and invited him to visit him in Nashville. Marty, who was having much difficulty in school, decided that country music was his future and did go to visit White. They worked on a few songs together and, though this relationship, Lester Flatt invited Marty to perform on some shows where he was very well received. Lester suggested to Marty that he join the group, be tutored on the bus and learn from the musical masters. So, at age thirteen, with his parents' blessing, Marty joined Lester Flatt's group and the following week he performed at the Grand Ole Opry.

The road experience was an amazing education for this 13-year old boy. He was learning from the masters, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Merle Travis and other Opry stars. He learned all other nuances of performance and show business and, most importantly, he began to develop his own style.

After Flatt's death in 1979, Marty went on to work with Vassar Clements and then with acoustic guitar virtuoso Doc Watson. After his stint with Watson, he went on to work with his idol Johnny Cash for six years, touring, recording and playing lead and acoustic guitar.

Marty's musicianship is almost unparalleled and he has done session and concert work with Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Randy Travis, Billy Joel, The Everly Brothers, Mark O'Connor, Roy Rogers and Travis Tritt, Wynonna, Joy White and George Strait have all recorded his songs.

In 1982, his solo album Busy Bee Cafe was released on the Sugar Hill label. In 1986, he made his major label debut on Columbia Records with Marty Stuart. His first single, "Arlene," hit the Top 20. He recorded a second album but, from 1987 to 1989, Marty hit a low point in his life. Columbia had dropped him after two unsuccessful albums and he was divorced from his wife Cindy, Johnny Cash's daughter.

In 1989, he moved to MCA Records and released Hillbilly Rock, spawning several hits like "Cry, Cry, Cry" and the title tune. In 1990, he released Tempted and soon hit the top of the charts with his duets with Travis Tritt. The #1 "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' ' won a Grammy in 1992 and "This One's Gonna Hurt You" won the 1992 Vocal Event of the Year from the Country Music Association. [Note: The CMA Award was for "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' "]

His next four albums, including his latest, Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best, clearly demonstrate why Marty is considered one of country music's greats.

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