Going To Stapleton Friday? Get There Early For Marty Stuart!
By kncitom on July 25, 2018
Anyone who loves 90s country is going to love Chris Stapleton’s opening act on Friday. If you grew listening to 90s music in “real time” then you’ll know: for a few years early in the decade, Marty Stuart was one of the hottest “new” country stars…back when that term, “new”, was first being applied to country music as a branding term. Stuart had a string of hits that were played incessantly on country radio, none moreso than probably this one, which, if you click below, I promise will leave you song-suckered for the rest of the day, in the best possible way.
Marty had a rockabilly vibe (check that jacket in the video), a great, gravely voice and ginormous hair that made wearing a hat pointless (he once joked he got his hair to stand so tall using two things: a blow dryer and an entire can of “Aqua Net”). In fact, he and Travis Tritt, another 90s superstar who, like Stuart, was among the few who didn’t add a hat to their image back then, teamed up for a massively successful tour called “No Hats” in 1992, a collaborative effort that also produced what will always be one of the best crank-it-the-hell-up country songs of that era (in my humble opinion)
But Stuart is a lot more than just the product of his 1990s success. A musical prodigy as a child, he hit the road playing guitar for Lester Flatt when he was 13, and a few years after that, played guitar and mandolin for none other than Johnny Cash. The guy is nothing less than a country music virtuoso who will surprise a lot of folks on Friday if they’ve never heard –or heard of him–before.
Since the 90s, he may have all but disappeared from hit-based country radio, but that in no way means he’s stopped working–recording albums in multiple genres, including Roots, Americana and Southern Gospel-or mattering: he’s long been one of Nashville best country music ambassadors, and he’s also spent most of his life being one of the most prolific collectors of historical music memorabilia in the world–dude owns everything from hand-written lyrics from Hank Williams Senior to a hand-tailored suit worn by Elton John.
Chris Stapleton has been hailed as a sort of country music throwback and while I would contend that’s open for debate–I love him and his vast talent but his roots, I think, owe as much to southern blues as they do traditional country–there’s no denying that by adding Stuart to his tour that he is sending a message that the country music tent…”new” or otherwise…is still plenty wide enough to include those who made their biggest mark on public perception in other eras.