Puremusic interview with Marty Stuart

A person's got to know that they've got it going on somewhat when Lester Flatt asks you to go on the road and play mandolin in his band when you're only 13 years old. And when your bandleader dies years later and your next long running gig is playing guitar with Johnny Cash, well, where does one go from there?

On his own, naturally, and the well of music inside Marty Stuart is fed by so many deep and different underground streams that it will never go dry, and appears to be absolutely unpollutable. He went on, of course, to become a huge Country star in his own right after his legendary beginnings in the world of music. He has a string of million- play hit songs to his credit. More than anyone in the field, he can be said to have done it all, except that he keeps doing it with incredible verve, incredible love, and he really won't have done it all till it's all done.

Marty is disarmingly unaffected by all he has accomplished in his life, and is lifted high beyond self absorption by his reverence for the music itself and the many sources of his inspiration. When he speaks about the Cash family or the Carter family, about Hank Williams or the lives of Native Americans, you can hear a pin drop. Because he knows.

He's very happily married for many years to a legendary Country singer, Connie Smith. Every woman (and every man) would love to hear their spouse speak about them in the way that Marty speaks about Connie--it's humbling.

During the recent Americana Convention, I was moved by a couple of Marty sightings. His acceptance speech for the presentation of the Lifetime Achievement Award was memorable. The only moments that could compare in my mind were the "hello, I'm from another planet" acceptance speech of Buddy Miller ("I had no idea…I was just tuning my guitar…") or the mindblowing Jaime Hartford rendition of his dad's classic "Gentle On My Mind." I think it was the next night that we caught Marty and my friend Kenny Vaughan setting the Mercy Lounge on fire, that was unbelievable.

In accordance with his reverence for his world and his inspirations, Marty's also a rare photographer thereof.  He produced a book of his photos, "Pilgrims: Sinners, Saints and Prophets", published by Rutledge-Hill Press. He's long been active in the family of the Lakota Indians of South Dakota, and his next album, "Badlands" is a collection of songs inspired by their legacy. The current album, Souls' Chapel, is a stirring collection of Mississippi Gospel rendered by Marty and the Superlatones. It is a must have for fans of Gospel and Country alike, and any fan of Marty's. Like all his work, it rings true, and goes all the way down to the source, to the soul.

Kudos to Universal South, for signing a deal with this essential American artist that empowers him to do a series of sets of recordings to showcase all the many turns of his musical diamond. Like the icons that have inspired his contributions, his place in musical history is assured.

Marty and I had a lively conversation this week on the phone. He's a fantastic guy, as you will see.  continue to interview