Luminaries, Locals Celebrate Memories, A Musical Legacy

This appeared on - August 8, 2003

Marty Stuart remembers a day, about a year and a half ago, when he came to Memphis seeking counsel with Sam Phillips.

The country maverick was about to put out a new record, one that diverged from what Nashville normally allows, and he wanted advice from the original iconoclast.

So he paid a visit to Phillips. They ate lunch ("He paid," Stuart remembered, with a chuckle). They sat in his living room. They talked and talked. Phillips gave Stuart a copy of an Ernest Withers photography book and a Sun Studio watch.

Stuart, who played acoustic guitar and mandolin at Phillips's memorial tribute at the Cannon Center on Thursday afternoon, treasures that memory.

"He was Uncle Sam. He's family," said Stuart, who canceled a gig in Cincinnati to make the memorial. "I've always regretted the fact that he didn't produce a record outta me."

Stuart, Isaac Hayes, former Sun affiliate Jack Clement, Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick, soul legend Little Milton and television composer Mike Post were among the well-known personalities who attended the service for Phillips, Sun Records founder who died July 30 at the age of 80.

By Jody Callahan

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