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John Marty Stuart (born September 30 1958) is an Americanmarker country music singer, known for both his traditional style, and eclectic merging of rockabilly, honky tonk, and traditional country music. In the early 1990s, he had a successful string of Country hits.

Early Life & Rise to Fame

Born as John Marty Stuart in Philadelphia, Mississippimarker, Marty Stuart has become known as one of Country Music's most eclectic artists, because he performs and records several widely diverse types of country music. That is one of his reasons for his success in the 1990s, just when Traditionalism was making a comeback in Country Music.

From an early age, he was obsessed with Country Music. He was so obsessed, in fact, that he taught himself how to play the guitar and mandolin. At the age of 12, Stuart started performing with the Bluegrass group The Sullivans. He later met Lester Flatt bandmember Roland White. White invited Stuart to play with him and the Nashville Grass at the Labor Day gig in Delawaremarker in 1972. After this, White asked him to join the band permanently and Stuart accepted. This made White responsible for the rest of Stuart's education. Marty stayed with Lester Flatt up until Flatt broke up the band in 1978 due to Flatt's failing health.

In 1979, Flatt passed away. Stuart pushed forward and worked with fiddler Vassar Clements. He also worked with guitarist Doc Watson. In 1980, he joined Johnny Cash's backing band. The previous year, Stuart made his first solo album, entitled With A Little Help From My Friends on Ridge Runner Records.

In 1982, he released a second album called Busy Bee Cafe on Sugar Hill Records. Both of these albums were strongly Bluegrass albums, and they failed to garner any success for Stuart. In 1983, Stuart married Johnny Cash's daughter, Cindy. In 1985, Stuart left Cash's band to pursue a solo career.

Recording career in the 1980s & 1990s

In 1985, Stuart left Cash's band and landed a recording contract with Columbia Records in 1985. In 1986, he released a self-titled album on the label. In 1985, just after landing his deal with Columbia, he had a Top 20 hit with the song "Arlene". Although he had a hit on his hands, his 1986 album Marty Stuart didn't sell. Stuart recorded a follow-up album entitled Let There Be Country but Columbia failed to release it.

His marriage to Cindy Cash ended in divorce in 1988, leading to Stuart's return home to Mississippimarker. Roland White invited Stuart to rejoin his band as their fiddler and this helped Stuart build his confidence to try again at becoming a singer.

Stuart soon returned to Nashvillemarker. He landed a deal with MCA Records in 1989, which was formerly Decca Records. That year, Stuart released his first album on the label entitled Hillbilly Rock. In 1990, he finally made it big with the album, when two of his songs from Hillbilly Rock became hits. The title track, "Hillbilly Rock" was his first Top Ten hit on the Country charts. The other song "Western Girls", just broke the Top 20. The album got great reviews from critics, who compared Marty's work to that of country singer Dwight Yoakam. The album featured a cover version of the Johnny Cash hit "Cry, Cry, Cry". In 1991, he released another album entitled Tempted, and the title track became Marty's first Top 5 hit.

In 1991, Marty co-wrote a song with Travis Tritt called "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'". The song was recorded as a duet on Tritt's 1991 album It's All About to Change, and that became Marty's biggest hit. In 1992, his former record company, Columbia finally released his album Let There Be Country. That same year, Stuart released an album entitled This One's Gonna Hurt You on MCA. The album's title track, a duet with Travis Tritt, was released as a single, and became another Top Ten hit for Stuart. This One's Gonna Hurt You became Marty's first gold album.

Between 1991 and 1992 Marty and Travis went on the road for what they called the "No Hats" tour, referring to "hat acts", as it seemed at the time every mainstream country singer was wearing a cowboy hat on stage. Although Stuart built quite a fans following, follow-up success was hard to find. The release of his 1994 album Love and Luck turned out to be less successful than he hoped it would be. Three singles were released from the album, but only one ("Kiss Me, I'm Gone") made the Top 40. His record sales began to slip. This led to MCA releasing the album The Marty Party Hit Pack in 1995. This also led to a series of "Marty Party" concerts on the Nashvillemarker network. The year 1996 saw the release of another album entitled Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best. Once again, sales were less than hoped for. Stuart released three singles, with only one reaching the Top 40.

Career since the late 1990s

In 1997, Stuart married legendary Country Music singer Connie Smith. Connie and Marty met back in the 1960s, when he saw Connie performing at one of her concerts, and he told his mother that day, that someday he would marry her. In 1998, he helped produce Smith's comeback album on the Warner Bros. label, simply entitled Connie Smith. He also co-wrote 8 out of 10 songs on the album. Stuart released another album in 1999 called The Pilgrim, along with another unsuccessful single, that failed to even make the Top 40.

Stuart left MCA in 2000, joining Sony, releasing a new album in 2003; however, this album was credited to "Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives". The lead single just missed Top 40 status. In 2005, Stuart launched a custom record label, Superlatone Records, to issue overlooked Southern Gospel and Roots music recordings. Stuart released three critically acclaimed collections on Superlatone, Souls' Chapel, Badlands and Live at the Ryman. In October 2005, Stuart released a concept album, Badlands: Ballads Of The Lakota, which pays tribute to the Sioux culture in what is now South Dakotamarker.

His collection of music memorabilia and photography was exhibited at the Tennessee State Museummarker in 2007 as "Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey". In October, 2008, the "Sparkle & Twang" exhibit opened at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, OH. Also in 2007, Stuart produced country legend Porter Wagoner's debut album on the predominantly punk label Epitaph Records.

The Statehouse Museum in Little Rock, Arkansas hosted the "Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey" from April 4 through October 5, 2008. The exhibit was on loan from the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville.

Yvonne and Mavis Staples gave one of their father's, "Pops" Staples, guitars to Marty Stuart after Staples' death.

The Marty Stuart Show (2008)

Marty Stuart announced in August 2008 a new TV show that he would be hosting, featuring traditional country music in the vein of The Porter Wagoner Show, Flatt & Scruggs and Hee Haw. The Marty Stuart Show began airing at 8 P.M. on November 1, 2008 on cable's RFD-TV, and continued each Saturday through April 25, 2009.

Each episode featured music by Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, as well as his wife, Grand Ole Oprymarker star Connie Smith, and guests.

"This show is about authenticity, from the artists who visit us in the studio every week to the people watching at home," said Stuart. "I want to establish a show that gives a voice and stage to traditional country music."

Stuart hosted and produced the 30-minute episodes, with Grand Ole Opry announcer Eddie Stubbs as his sidekick. The show was part of the prime-time lineup with Hee Haw reruns, Postcards from Nebraska and Music & Motors.

Collections

Stuart has one of the largest collections of clothing associated with country music's past, featuring classic suits by Nudie and Turk from such greats as Rose Maddox, Porter Wagoner and Hank Williams. He travels the United Statesmarker on a tour bus that once belonged to Ernest Tubb. He also collects guitars from some Country Music legends, like Maybelle Carter, Lester Flatt, Hank Williams, Don Rich, and Clarence White who was co-inventor of the B-Bender device for telecasters.

He and his Superlatives currently have a weekly show on XM Satellite Radio called "Marty Stuart's American Odyssey."

Writings

Stuart has written articles and published photos of Country singers for various magazines.

Country Music Foundation

Stuart is a member of the board of the Country Music Foundation, and is a past President. Stuart has also been a member of the Grand Ole Oprymarker since 1993.

Discography

References




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