I first started presenting a programme on Country Music in 2008. A couple of years later someone told me that Marty Stuart was coming over to do a gig in Glasgow. At this point in my life I had no idea who Marty Stuart was or why this was, in any way, important.
So I had a lot of sympathy with a guy I met coming out of Oran Mor last Monday night. Looking as if he’d just been through a religious conversion which involved some form of total immersion. He was shaking his head in disbelief as he ascended the stairs back to the cool humdrum of a Glasgow October, ‘Last February I was complaining because C2C were putting this guy Marty Stuart on….now I’ve seen him twice and I know he was the best thing at the festival and look…..I’m wearing his T shirt.’
I wasn’t lucky enough to catch up with Marty’s live show when I first encountered him, but I was fortunate enough to meet him and interview him in, what will always be for me, one of the most memorable sessions we have ever recorded for the AC. Once encountered neither Marty or his music can be filed away in any convenient subfolder. He’s a brilliant guitarist, phenomenal mandolin player, singer, song writer, country archivist, photographer and all round keeper of the country flame.
If you think, like my friend from the stairs of Oran Mor, that Marty doesn’t figure in your understanding of contemporary country music that’s because they’ve managed to get it wrong and he’s got it right. However, Marty is not a grumpy Americana prophet railing against the passing of time, he is simply someone who understands the deep, simple beauty of the music. To that end he has assembled around him the finest band of musicians you are ever likely to find in one beat combo. Favouring the classic four-piece line-up of The Beatles, The Fabulous Superlatives feature the man himself on guitar,mandolin and vocals, alongside his cousin Kenny Vaughan on guitar and vocals, handsome Harry Stinson on drums and vocals and the great Chris Scruggs on bass and vocals. If you think I’m over egging the vocals then you need to wait until you hear the broadcast…these boys can all sing!
Last Monday we took the BBC mobile studio to Great Western Road and recorded all of Marty Stuart and The Fabulous Superlatives show for this week’s Another Country. You will be able to hear an hour of that amazing concert from 10 o’clock this coming Tuesday night. It’s the third time I’ve seen Marty this year and though the other two were tough acts to follow it was, simply, the best. You’ll hear honky tonk, you’ll hear western swing and you’ll hear bluegrass and classic country reinterpreted and beautifully performed by a band at the very top of their game.
Before all of that you can enjoy an hour of Marty Stuart picking his favourite country songs. Listen out for cuts from Johnny Cash, Connie Smith, Merle Haggard, Miranda Lambert and The Byrds.
The great Eddie Stubbs prefaces Marty’s Late Night Jam at the Ryman thus: ‘ You may have been to a concert before; but tonight you are going to experience a show.’ No truer word was ever spoken about the Marty Stuart live experience.
Judge for yourself.It all starts from five past nine thisTuesday evening on BBC Radio Scotland.