STILL SUPERLATIVE: Marty Stuart Live

Live at Athens’ Foundry Venue on November 9, Stuart and his band schooled a packed house, and then some.

TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON

If Modern Country music annoys you as much as it does me, you’ll really want to go see Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives play live.   Marty and his crack band of veteran Nashville Cats are here to remind you how good country used to be, and to save it if possible.  But it’s more than just that – their show is an astounding history lesson in country, rock, pop, rockabilly, folk, bluegrass, and instrumental surf.   Does it get any better?  (One genre they left alone was metal, but Marty Stuart could go toe-to-toe with Jimmy Page with his mandolin any day, if he hasn’t already.)

During the show I kept hearing glimpses of bands and performers I’ve always loved – The Long Ryders, Nick and Dave, The Bobby Fuller Four, Buck Owens, The Ventures, a flash of Brit pop here and there, and latter-day Byrds.  And there’s Marty playing Clarence White’s original B-Bender, a Telecaster indelibly modified by Byrds’ bandmate and drummer Gene Parsons to give it that pedal steel effect when the player pulls back on the guitar bending that B-string in and out of key. (Ed. Note: Read “A Marty Stuart Story” for some additional color re: the White axe.) Stuart is a walking encyclopedia of country music and has played with everyone who’s anyone starting with Flatt & Scruggs and Johnny Cash.  Look him up if you don’t know.

Indeed, my nickname for this band would be American Rockpile.   Nick Lowe and Dave Edmunds fans will get that.  Two guitars, a bass, drums, great vocals and harmonies and a tight tight groove.   Great players and about every song had a show-stopping moment of guitar-pickin’ virtuosity (mostly from blue-fringe vested Kenny Vaughn).  But as good as they are nobody was showing off, just getting it done and having a good time doing it.   That’s Harry Stinson on drums and vocals, and Chris Scruggs on bass and steel rounding out this band of brothers.

The new Marty Stuart record is Way Out West on Sugar Hill Records (a Rounder subsidiary), available now. (It’s reviewed HERE.) These guys are always touring so do yourself a huge favor and go see ‘em and learn to love again.  Tour dates are at Stuart’s Facebook page. here:   Plus it’s a no-earplugs show.  Imagine all those amps and guitars and tone at volume you can talk over.

John Boydston’s photo galleries of things he likes are at jobo.smugmug.com

 

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