Onstage! "Country Takes Manhattan"

This appeared in Modern Screen's Country Music Magazine - September 1993

Marty Stuart
Beacon Theater, New York City

They came in their cowboy hats and they came in their big boots, worker shirts and bandannas. From all over the tri-state area, country fans came out of the woodwork for this was their time in The Big Apple. And the 10-day feat was more successful than anybody even anticipated, so call this the first annual Country Takes Manhattan.

Marty Stuart then tore the house down completely. His evocative stage charisma-melded Everlys/Buddy Holly/Lester Flatt/Johnny Cash/Elvis/his friend Tritt/Byrds/Haggard/Jones with his own inescapable good-timey rock 'n' rollin' honky tonkin' barroom preaching. He's the best. Performing Lefty Frizzell's "Long Black Veil" with incredible harmonies, dramatic story-song inflections and layered sound (he started alone on acoustic and one by one, the band eased on in), you'd have thought you died and went to honky tonk heaven.

His take on "The Whiskey Ain't Workin" had him alone leading the audience singing it at the top of their lungs. And his encore of mighty Merle's "Okie From Muskogee" was an exquisite time capsule moment that he knew how to drench for all it was worth. Yeah, Marty's the real thing. I only have one complaint. Lay off the Billy Ray Cyrus barbs. It's enough already and it does nothing but take away from an otherwise world-class performance.

By Mike Greenblatt

Return To Articles Return To Home Page