Just Among Friends

This appeared in The Neshoba Democrat - July 13, 2005

My daddy (Bud Darby) loved the story about the father who was so proud of his son for being in college that when he came home his dad said, “Son, talk to me in algebra.” This week, I’m talking “in Marty,” Marty Stuart, that is.

While Marty left home at the age of 13 to pursue his dream in country music, there is still a lot of Philadelphia, a lot of Mississippi and a lot of many of you in Marty Stuart. Betty Seward and I spent a few days with Marty and his wife, Connie Smith, in their home outside Nashville. Together they transformed Roy Orbison’s recreation-recording studio (his home was next door, Johnny Cash’s home on the other side) into a beautiful home which is a perfect blend of Marty and Connie’s taste.

My favorite parts of the house were the floors (wide heart pine), the doors (no two alike, a collection from over the world) and the upper and lower decks overlooking Old Hickory Lake. Betty loved the chandeliers and the lamps, each with a story of its own. “It’s just a house,” Marty said. “Connie makes it a home.”

On the day we arrived, Marty and Connie had hosted a seated luncheon in their home for 20-plus of “some of Mississippi’s most creative minds,” Marty called them, who included Chancellor Dr. Robert Khyatt of Ole Miss, Mr. and Mrs. Fred Carl (Viking) of Greenwood, Lanny Griffith of Washington, D.C., Tim DuBois (Universal South Records) and Marc Dottore of Nashville.

Marty told us of ongoing meetings taking place toward the development of a television series to be filmed in Oxford celebrating the depth and cultural heritage of Mississippi music. Marty will host the show. The series format will bear semblance to the long-running Austin City Limits.

Other business of the day including making arrangements to house “The Marty Stuart Collection” as a permanent exhibit at the Center for Southern Culture Studies at the University of Mississippi. Marty’s collection is a 20,000 piece museum exhibit, the largest private collection of country music memorabilia in America.

Marty’s co-hostess is the picture of gracious womanhood in a petite frame with flawless complexion, blonde hair, crystal blue eyes and the sweetest spirit you will ever meet. Connie won a talent contest in southern Ohio when she was 23 years old. “Whispering” Bill Anderson heard her and took her tape to Nashville to RCA recording company.

RCA called her to Nashville where she recorded “Once A Day” under their label. The song climbed to #1 and remained there for eight weeks. Her first album, self-titled Connie Smith, also rose to #1. Connie recently celebrated her 40th anniversary as a member of the Grand Ole Opry.

Marty and Connie, the stars, are busy traveling in their separate tour buses, playing concerts across the nation, but at home, rocking side by side, Marty is still Hilda and John Stuart’s son and Jennifer’s brother from Route 8, Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Next week: More on Marty.

By Rachel Evans

Return To Articles Return To Home Page