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One of country music’s most revered historians and ambassadors, Marty Stuart and his beloved band have graced the Hal Holbrook Theatre stage numerous times over the last 16 years. Their unmatched musicianship and dedication to traditional country music will be on display again Saturday, Nov. 6 at 2 p.m.
While he’s too gracious to admit it himself, Stuart, the Grammy-winning singer, songwriter and musician is living, breathing country-music history. He’s played alongside the masters, from Johnny Cash to Lester Flatt, who discovered him; been a worldwide ambassador for Nashville, Bakersfield and points in between; and safeguarded the country's most valuable traditions and physical artifacts.
But most importantly, Stuart continues to record and release keenly relevant music, records that honor country's rich legacy while advancing it into the future. Way Out West, his 18th studio album, hits both of those marks. Produced by Mike Campbell (of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers), the album is a cinematic tour-de-force, an exhilarating musical journey through the California desert that solidifies Stuart as a truly visionary artist.
Opening with a Native American prayer, a nod to Stuart’s affinity for the indigenous people, particularly the Lakota, Way Out West transports the listener to the lonely but magical American West. It is, in its own way, musical peyote.
“If you go and sit by yourself in the middle of the Mojave Desert at sundown and you’re still the same person the next morning when the sun comes up, I’d be greatly surprised,” says Stuart. “It is that spirit world of the West that enchants me.”
When it comes to transforming country songs into tangible experiences, Stuart has a secret weapon: the Fabulous Superlatives. Made up of guitarist Kenny Vaughan, drummer Harry Stinson and new member, bassist Chris Scruggs, the Superlatives are an extension of Stuart himself. “The Superlatives are missionaries, they’re fighting partners. They’re my Buckaroos, my Tennessee Three, my Strangers. They’re my legacy band and have been since Day One,” says Stuart.
Along with the playing of Mike Campbell, who contributed guitar, B-3 organ and piano, the Fabulous Superlatives are all over Way Out West and ensure that the mystical detours Stuart explores always remain of the moment.
As Stuart himself will tell you, he often ventures off the reservation – in a way, his entire career has been “way out west.” While other artists chased popular trends in the name of radio play, he formed complete bodies of work, not unlike the greats he idolized. Way Out West is just the latest embodiment of that creative mission.
“Lester Flatt saw something in me and gave me his wisdom, wit and music. Johnny Cash was my best friend. But all of that doesn’t come for free. The job is to pass it along,” says Stuart, stretching out his arms. “That’s the way it’s supposed to be in country music.”
Visit DixiePAC.net for ticket options or contact The Dixie Box Office by visiting in person or calling 731-986-2100, M-F, 10-4p.