Erin Stephens, Special to the News Journal
Published 6:00 a.m. CT Oct. 11, 2019
Country music and bluegrass maven Marty Stuart is bringing tales of his storied career to Saenger Theatre on Oct. 15.
The tour highlights the 20th anniversary of his album “The Pilgrim,” originally released at the end of the decade when the multi-Grammy winner had his most commercial success to date. Although the album – written entirely by Stuart – did not produce any charting singles, it was well-received by critics and fans for its storytelling.
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives, his band since 2002, is accompanying him on the tour. The group was named Duo/Group of the Year at the 2017 Americana Music Honors & Awards.
Marty Stuart is photographed at RCA Studio B Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (Photo: Alan Poizner / For Tennessean.com)
Stuart is one of the principal contributors to Ken Burns’ “Country Music,” which debuted in September on PBS. The eight-episode miniseries from the acclaimed documentarian features commentary from dozens of musicians within the genre including Stuart, Roseanne Cash, Dierks Bentley, Willie Nelson, and the late Roy Clark and Merle Haggard.
Nearly a decade ago, after Stuart heard Burns was planning the chronicle, he recently told Rolling Stone Magazine, “…The next day I wrote Ken a fan letter basically saying, ‘If you do this, consider me and my office ground zero for you and your crew. Whatever you need, the answer is yes.’”
His vast knowledge of the history of country music is evident throughout the series, and for good reason. At the early age of 12, the self-taught guitar and mandolin player was a performer with the bluegrass group The Sullivan Family. Soon after, he joined the band Nashville Grass led by Lester Flatt.
In 1979, the same year Flatt passed away, Stuart recorded his first solo album titled “With a Little Help from My Friends.” It was in 1980 when he became a member of the backup band for Johnny Cash.
Stuart has released 18 studio records as well as two live albums and several compilations. Some of his most popular songs “Hillbilly Rock,” “Little Things,” “Tempted,” and “This One’s Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)” were top 10 hits in the ’90s.
Throughout the years, Stuart has been a curator of memorabilia and photography within the genre.
The singer’s deep appreciation of country music and preservationist will soon have a physical space in his hometown for generations to come. The recently renovated Ellis Theater in Philadelphia, Mississippi, is the base of an upcoming 50,000-plus square foot campus with a museum, community hall, classrooms, meeting and event space, and rooftop venue called the Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music.
The multi-million dollar project will embrace the roots of country music in its educational curriculum and programming, according to its website. Up-and-coming and established artists will be a part of the musical programming aspect. The museum is planning to feature changing displays of artifacts, memorabilia, photography, outsider and folk art, and Native American crafts.
The Marty Stuart Congress of Country Music is explained on its website: “This tribute to the culture and rural ethics of America will be presented in a world-class country music museum and performing arts center. Through a lifelong awareness to protect and preserve country music’s legacy: Marty Stuart has assembled a collection that spans over 20,000 pieces to tell a rich, emotional and personal story of the lives of our common heritage.”
Once completed, the non-profit organization’s campus will be the largest private collection of country music artifacts in the world.
“The Pilgrim – Deluxe Edition” is available for pre-order on Stuart’s website.
Want to go?
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives at Saenger
Where: Saenger Theatre
When: Oct. 15. 7:30 p.m.
Tickets: Starting at $32 and can be purchased at the Saenger box office and online through ticketmaster.com. Additional fees may apply.
More info: Visit pensacolasaenger.com and martystuart.net for more information.
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