Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives, Andrea & Mud
CL's James Kelly Recommends: Country music has always had “that couple”, from A.P. and Sara Carter, Kitty Wells and Johnny Wright, George Jones and Tammy Wynette, to Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, among others. Standing tall and proud today are Marty Stuart and his wife of 24 years, Connie Smith, currently the only living married couple in the Country Music Hall of Fame. It is an honor well deserved for both of them.
Stuart first saw Smith perform when he was 12 years old, and reportedly told his mother he was going to marry her. Along the way to that goal his musical journey was a winding path, and he learned from the best. He performed with Lester Flatt at the age of 14, was in Johnny Cash’s band (and son in law) for several years, and built a respectable solo career, ranging from traditional bluegrass on his early albums to chart topping duets with Georgia native Travis Tritt.
In 1999, Stuart took control of his destiny and decided to make records that paid homage to his roots and the foundations of country music. “The Pilgrim” was a tour de force, a concept album that didn’t fit in the narrowing scope of mainstream radio, but included contributions by his heroes, Cash, George Jones, and Emmylou Harris. Since then Stuart has set his own musical path, and with the formulation of his Fabulous Superlatives band in 2003, he has created a country music juggernaut. Joined by guitarist Kenny Vaughn, multi-instrumentalist Chris Scruggs, and drummer Harry Stinson, they are pretty much the best band in the business. In concert the members each take a spotlight, and together they explore and celebrate the vast range of musical heritage that came before them. And while their original music is stellar, you are just as likely to hear a Bill Monroe song as a Monkees tune, done perfectly. You will be entertained, and educated.
CL's Hal Horowitz Recommends: It’s unlikely there is a better, more talented country/roots band around. Stuart and his backing trio are the gold standard for combining traditional country with a more contemporary spin as is evident on 2017’s Way Out West’s psychedelic leanings. He is a walking encyclopedia of songs from the genre, so you never know what he’ll pull out of his thick collection of covers and originals. That makes each show a unique experience and no one leaves disappointed.
From the venue:While he's too gracious to admit it himself, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and musician is living, breathing country-music history. He's played alongside the masters, from Cash to Lester Flatt, who discovered him; been a worldwide ambassador for Nashville, Bakersfield and points in between; and safeguarded country's most valuable traditions and physical artifacts. Including its literal shoes: Stuart counts the brogan of Carter Family patriarch A.P. Carter and an assortment of Cash's black boots among his vast collection of memorabilia.