HERE'S the original blueprint for writing country music....according to none other than an authority on the subject, Marty Stuart.
"I wrote about love, marriage, heartaches, trains, home, work, vagrancy, the law, jail, rivers, death, sin, redemption, drinking and good-hearted women. In no particular order," he mused.
Stuart and his 'A' list band, The Fabulous Superlatives, are in the Ohio Valley for a free performance tonight as part of Wheeling's annual Sternwheel Festival. They're expected to take the Heritage Port stage at approximately 9:30.
The Lane highly recommends checking out Stuart who will be celebrating his 53rd birthday in 15 days. The Mississippi native is one of country music's most revered performers not to mention one of its most versatile.
On stage since his early teens, Stuart has a lifetime resume which includes multi-stops in Wheeling - first as a mainstay performer on WWVA's historic Saturday night Jamboree broadcasts which entertained thousands during the 50's, 60's and 70's.
Stuart was weened on many of the industry's Hall of Fame pioneers (Johnny Cash, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Merle Haggard).
Before turning 30, Stuart was on a fast track to Music City, accompanying Cash to Memphis and playing on the iconic "Class of 55" album that also featured Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
In 1985, Stuart signed a recording contract with Columbia Records and went on to release a self-titled LP which produced a Billboard chart hit, "Arlene."
His commercial breakthrough arrived in 1989 when Stuart landed a deal with MCA Records. That led to his first record for the label, "Hillbilly Rock." The title track earned extensive airplay and was Stuart's first top 10 record on the country charts.
Two years later, Stuart recorded "Tempted" which produced the title track's hit single, Stuart's first top five hit.
An ensuing friendship with Travis Tritt resulted in a popular song the pair co-wrote "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'."
Stuart and Tritt went on to co-star in a 1991-92 road show titled the "No Hats" tour. They reunited in 2009 and performed together at Wheeling Island's Casino and Gaming Resort Ballroom.
Stuart has since formed the Fabulous Superlatives consisting of guitarist Kenny Vaughan, bassist Paul Martin, and drummer Harry Stinson.
The group entered Nashville's legendary 'Studio B' in 2009 and recorded one of the Lane's top 10 records of 2010, "Ghost Train."
"Developing Ghost Train was a life-changing experience in many ways," Stuart remarked. "The songs on the record have all been lived through and this project totally came from the heart. It led me home to traditional country music. It's truly who I am."
IRONICALLY, Vaughan has just released a solo project. The CD, titled 'V' is on Sugar Hill Records.
"Kenny Vaughan is the coolest cat in anybody's town and one of the hottest guitar players in the world," Stuart exclaimed. "He's also a man of unique style, and I hereby nominate him to the Hall of Greats of Hipster Poets. In reality, Cuzin Kenny is no less than a natural wonder. I love everything about him."
A member of Stuart's Fabulous Superlatives since 2001, Vaughan possesses an eclectic style capable of delivering anything from rollicking bluegrass to classic honky tonk to simmering gospel soul.
Recipient of the 2006 Instrumentalist of the Year from the Americana Music Association, Vaughan is recognized as one of the most prominent guitarists of today's ongoing roots music renaissance.
Vaughan has performed and recorded with an array of acclaimed artists including Wheeling's Tim O'Brien in addition to Lucinda Williams, Rodney Crowell, Jim Lauderdale and Kim Richey.....
In addition to Vaughan's new disc, the Austin, Tx. based Gourds released a new record, "Old Mad Joy" on the Vanguard label...Next week, look for the much-anticipated reunion CD from the Jayhawks. Their "Mockingbird Time" disc drops Tuesday on Rounder Records....In two weeks, Montgomery Gentry and Rodney Atkins release new CDs.....
Gibson may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org