After a classic Ryman introduction hailing Marty Stuart as
"one of [country music's] greatest treasures", Marty and
his band kick it into fifth gear for a set of high steppin', hard-stompin'
bluegrass music. Anyone who knows Marty's history knows that he was
playing mandolin with Flatts and Scruggs when he was just a
wee sprite age 13, so it's no real surprise to finally get a bluegrass
set from the man who's keeping real country music alive in Nashville.
Marty churns out a hot set of 'grass, from the traditional "Orange
Blossom Special" and "No Hard Times Blues" to reworkings
of some of his personal best, such as "Hillbilly Rock" and
"The Whiskey Ain't Working Anymore"
is far superior without Travis Tritt singing along. Stuart
is joined on stage by some very special guests in addition to his
fine band, The Fabulous Superlatives - featuring the indomitable
hometown hero Kenny Vaughan on guitar, Harry Stinson
on drums and Brian Glenn on bass guitar. Charlie Cushman
joins in on banjo, while the now legendary Stuart Duncan lends
his fiddle talents to the show, and the unstoppable "Uncle"
Josh Graves turns up to play some amazing Dobro guitar. Of course,
Marty himself spends the show wailing away on his Gibson mandolin.
There are no real highlights to point out, as the entire set is blistering
and soulful. But when Charlie Cushman stands front and center for
"Shuckin' The Corn", it may as well be Earl Scruggs
slamming away on that banjo. And when "Uncle" Josh takes
center stage for "Train 45", shivers run up and down my
his gravelly voice is backwoods perfection and his Dobro
playing is simply without equal
The man can draw forth such
soul from the strings. The band hits an old-time rock'n'roll stride
on "Walk Like That", featuring a ripping Marty Stuart mandolin
solo, before finishing up with the now-classic "Hillbilly Rock"
a song that is every bit as strong as a bluegrass tune as it is a
rockin' rockabilly track.
Live At The Ryman is another notch in the belt of one of the
modern world's greatest country legends, as well as a fine tribute
to where the man himself came from. The album is full of blissfully
great playing, as well as being a modern compendium of bluegrass greats
and their contributions to the art. Modern country music would have
a whole lot of nothing without Marty Stuart, and here's another reason
1. Eddie Stubbs Intro
2. Orange Blossom Special
3. No Hard Times Blues
5. Shuckin' The Corn
6. The Whiskey Ain't Workin' Anymore
7. Mr. John Henry Intro
8. Mr. John Henry, The Steel Drivin' Man
9. Uncle John's Intro
10. Train 45
11. Josh's Joke
12. The Great Speckled Bird
13. Sure Wanna Keep My Wine
14. Walk Like That
15. Hillbilly Rock
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