Over the next seven years, Stuart played with Vassar Clements, Doc Watson, became a member of Johnny Cash’s band and released his debut solo album. Stuart’s early work reflected his Bluegrass beginnings, but his third solo album, 1990’s Hillbilly Rock, marked a shift to traditional Country with an electric honky-tonk edge and the hits piled up, culminating in a gold album for 1992’s This One’s Gonna Hurt You.
But commercial success was less gratifying than Stuart imagined and, after a series of marginal releases, he released the epic concept album, The Pilgrim, in 1999. While it fared poorly in sales, it signaled Stuart’s pursuit of creative excellence rather than chart success.
He assembled a band, the Fabulous Superlatives, and a boutique label, Superlatone Records, and released his “church house trilogy” — 2005’s Souls’ Chapel and the conceptual Badlands and 2006’s Live at the Ryman, which cracked the Bluegrass charts’ Top 5. After 2008’s Cool Country Favorites, a quasi-tribute to classic Country, Stuart signed with Sugar Hill for 2010’s Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions; his next album, Nashville, Vol. 1; Tear the Woodpile Down, is slated for release late next month.
A 1993 Grand Ole Opry inductee, Marty Stuart has written articles and a book, published his photographs of Country stars, assembled an exhibit of his memorabilia for the Tennessee State Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and produced the late Porter Wagoner’s 2007 comeback album Wagonmaster.
Attention Country Music Hall of Fame: what are you waiting for? (Stuart’s appearance is part of the Syndicate Concert Series, with a pre-show dinner available; visit www.rwatickets.com for ticket info.)
MARTY STUART plays Friday, March 9 at The Newport Syndicate. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.