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Country - Released September 20, 2019 | MCA Nashville

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Country - Released January 1, 1999 | MCA Nashville

While the "concept" album has always been a staple of rock music, it's rarely been a factor in country--until now. With THE PILGRIM, writer/singer/producer guitarist Marty Stuart has crafted an honest-to-goodness country opera complete with a cast of country legends portraying the various roles. THE PILGRIM is based, Stuart says, on a true story of a love triangle replete with marital infidelity, searching and redemption. Stuart himself plays the role of the lover, the "pilgrim" of the title, as well as a few other characters. Along for the journey are Emmylou Harris, George Jones and Pam Tillis. Several tracks stand out, including the twangin' "Sometimes the Pleasure's Worth the Pain" and the beautiful "The Greatest Love Of All Time." Stuart links the songs with instrumental passages, various reprises of the title track, and even a poetry reading featuring the unmistakable voice of his old boss, Johnny Cash. While THE PILGRIM is no one's idea of a commercial country album, one has to admire the sheer ambition of the project, as well as the guts it took MCA records to release what amounts to a unique and deeply personal artistic vision.

Country - Released January 1, 2010 | Sugar Hill Records

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Singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Marty Stuart has born the torch for historic country music since his career began. He's literally spent most of his life making and producing records and writing songs that reflect that. Stuart's made some wildly innovative and eclectic recordings that nonetheless bear the watermark of authentic country. Ghost Train is his first studio offering since 2005's twin concept albums Souls' Chapel and Badlands. His last outing was 2006's excellent Live at the Ryman. In his wonderful liner essay, Stuart claims that the inspiration for Ghost Train: The Studio B Sessions occurred on August 29, 2005, in an empty train station in Philadelphia, MS after he heard the news of Hurricane Katrina's arrival in the Gulf. He went and stood on the empty tracks until he heard a northbound train, then moved and stood as close as his courage would allow and had an epiphany. The result is this program of 14 songs, all in the hardcore country tradition, mostly recorded in the famed RCA Studio B in Nashville. Stuart wrote or co-wrote 11 -- three with wife Connie Smith, one with Johnny Cash, and another with Ralph Mooney, whose "Crazy Arms" is here. The other cover is Don Reno's classic "Country Boy Rock & Roll." Stuart is backed by the Superlatives -- guitarist Kenny Vaughan, drummer Harry Stinson, and bassist Paul Martin -- with a host of pedal steel players. There isn't a weak track on the set, but there are some real standouts: the Reno cut is one, as is the stomping opener and single, "Branded." The ballad "Drifting Apart" has harmonies worthy of the Louvin Brothers and a pedal steel solo by Mooney that'll make you weep. "Hangman," co-written with Cash, is a spooky ballad in the old-school storytelling tradition; while Stuart does a fine job singing it, one can hear Cash's ghost rambling through the lyrics. The country boogie of "Ghost Train Four Oh Ten" is a punchy hillbilly rocker, while the instrumental "Hummingbyrd" is a killer tribute to the guitar genius of both Don Rich and Clarence White. "A World Without You," a duet with Smith, is as moving and true as country ballads get. Stuart may not sell millions of records anymore, but he can still make fine records that will stand the test of time; Ghost Train is among the very best of them. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released January 1, 1989 | Geffen*

Hillbilly Rock is the epitome of what the adult Marty Stuart is all about. With a new groove that runs just left of center, while still retaining a classic country & western-bluegrass flair, Hillbilly Rock is a wild ride to what surely must be honky tonk heaven. On par with Dwight Yoakam's debut, Hillbilly Rock sets the tone for a whole new faction of neo-traditionalists. Opening with the title cut, an infectious romp that demands your attention, and ending on a high note with a love song, "Since I Don't Have You," crafted by Stuart and another tragically overlooked supernova, Mark Collie, this is one heck of an album. "Western Girls," a favorite of the numerous cowgirls who follow his career, and the Merle Kilgore-Tillman Franks tune "The Wild One" all demonstrate how effective Marty Stuart is. "Cry, Cry, Cry," a Johnny Cash hit, is made new again. While this release displays more of Stuart's own songwriting skills, it also displays how deeply involved he is with the music he plays. ~ Jana Pendragon
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Country - Released January 1, 2005 | Show Dog Universal Music (USO)

Intention is everything. In the heart of an artist it stands where cynical, critical notice can cast aspersion. Marty Stuart has made an aesthetic life of living and creating from the heart of intention. Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota is his second album in 2005. His first, Souls' Chapel, was a rollicking, hard country record filtered through gospel music and sacred song. Badlands is no less a sacred endeavor, though it is a far more historical one, and these ballads of the great Lakota tribe are his own. He was guided by the Lakota people and their elders through the true, official record of their existence, not the account in the revisionist American textbooks, and this record has the tribe's blessing. He wrote these songs after being guided through the Lakota lands for a period of years by John L. Smith and the elders of this noble and persecuted tribe who adopted Stuart as family. History, spirituality, legend, the lineage of memory, shame, guilt, and transcendence pass through these songs in equal measure. Produced by Stuart with John Carter Cash, the set begins with elder Everette Helper's prayer song, and then jolts into the reeling crunch of the title track where country, rockabilly, and folk music meld together into an anthem that reveals both continuity and contradiction and top those whose views are short sighted. "Trip To Little Big Horn" is the story of Custer's Last Stand with a twist: presented as a dialogue with a ghost. Mandolins, acoustic guitars, and bass are tightly knit together to offer a story that is raw, yet elegant and pure. "Old Man's Vision" is a spoken word tale backed with spare, haunting guitar and drum atmospherics. The minor key shuffle that is "Wounded Knee" is as heartbreaking a song as Stuart has ever written; there is no cheap sloganeering or paltry politics here--this song is a prayer. Great pains were taken to make every line, every word, accurate historically, though the songwriter's craft remains intact. Check the track named for the great chief Big Foot, who died at Wounded Knee, with great backing vocals from Connie Smith. And on it goes through the "Broken Promise Land," the sad, folk tale "Hotchkiss Gunner's Lament," to the hard rocking "Broken Promise Land," and the sparse, ballad of outrage that is "Casino." "So You Want To BeAn Indian," is every bit as biting as Bob Dylan's "Hattie Carroll." The field recording that opens "Walking Through Prayers" is every bit as holy and moving a tune as anything on Souls' Chapel, but far more eerie and rooted in a world that is both seen and unseen. The fusing of Christian and Indian spirituality on the nine-plus minute "Three Chiefs" (Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse) may piss some off due to its unabashed view of the songwriter at the crossroads between the two. But it's in an opinion; a belief not in fundamentalist religiosity, but in the large vision of a God bigger than human understanding who loves outside the division of creed, color, or religion. The set essentially closes with "Listen To The Children," a sprawling rock anthem with Native overtones, strings, and screaming guitars. It's a fitting end, but it's not officially finished until the Lakota medicine man prays over the entire proceeding, blessing, closing, and sending it into the silence of the human soul and to the ears of those who have passed and hear on the wind. Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota is a milestone, a career achievement for Stuart, and an album that is unsettling, provocative, morally instructive, and deeply satisfying musically as a country record that sets the bar higher than it has been set in a long, long time. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released January 1, 1992 | Geffen*

When Marty Stuart cut This One's Gonna Hurt You in 1991 with producers Richard Bennett and Tony Brown, he opened it with a modern country equivalent of what is now de rigueur in the hip-hop community: a skit that became a song. The disembodied voice of Hank Williams comes out of the ether before Stuart's does; a trippy synthesizer plays in the foreground; and clapping, cheering audiences are heard between the two. But this isn't the skit; it's the track. "Me & Hank & Jumpin' Jack Flash" offers a weird, acid cowboy tale of the two meeting in outer space and having a conversation about everything from the lineage of country to rock & roll -- Marty happens to dig both and was sure Hank would've dug the Rolling Stones as well. It's a bizarre way to open a contemporary country record, but given Stuart's maverick nature, it's utterly understandable and even charming the first three or four times you hear it. After that it's best to start on track two, "High on a Mountain Top," a tough, rockin', high lonesome honky tonk tune with blazing guitars, whining fiddles (courtesy of Stuart Duncan), and a chorus of backing vocalists including Ashley Cleveland and Pam Tillis. The set gets even better from here, as evidenced by the title track, a wonderful midtempo ballad done in duet with Travis Tritt, and by Jimmie Skinner's "Doin' My Time," with a guest appearance by then father-in-law Johnny Cash. The rest walks from the very traditional reading of Cowboy Jack Clement's beer weeper "Just Between You and Me" to rockabilly on "Down Home" and jangling Rickenbacker country-pop on "Hey Baby" (both written by Paul Kennerley), another straight rocking tribute to Williams on a cover of Allen Shamblin's "The King of Dixie," and Stuart's own spunky, hard country "Honky Tonk Crowd," which closes the set. Of his early records, This One's Gonna Hurt You is truly inspired and hungry; it's the very best from the period. Even in the 21st century, it endures as a watermark for the music at the time and as one of Stuart's finest moments in a career full of great ones. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released January 1, 1993 | Sugar Hill Records

Busy Bee Cafe is a loose, jam-oriented record with guest appearances from Johnny Cash, Earl Scruggs and Doc Watson. ~ Jason Ankeny
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Country - Released September 19, 2000 | Lucky Dog

This early recording gives a clear idea of just who Marty Stuart is. Without all the hype and over production of many of the MCA recordings, Let There Be Country displays Stuart's traditional hillbilly bent. Only his 1982 Sugar Hill debut, Busy Bee Cafe, defines him better. Self-produced, it is obvious that the artist knows what he is doing in terms of material and performance. With the inclusion of only two original songs, the rest of the tunes are strong statements by Stuart concerning country music. Merle Haggard's "Mirrors Don't Lie" is strong evidence of Stuart's affiliations. Also good is Bill Monroe's "Get Down on Your Knees and Pray." Stuart's version of the Johnny Horton hit "One Woman Man" is priceless and the sincere sweetness he reflects on the Harlan Howard-Max D. Barnes number "I'll Love You Forever (If You Want Me To)" is stunning. A worthy addition to any Stuart collection. ~ Jana Pendragon
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Country - Released January 1, 2007 | Universal Music Enterprises

Marty Stuart released a pair of very fine yet very different recordings in 2005. The first, Souls' Chapel, was an innovative yet rootsy country-gospel set. The second, Badlands: Ballads of the Lakota, was a heart-rending deeply soulful, and sometimes rocking album based on the proud heritage of the Indian-American (the politically correct term in 2007) and what has been lost to the rest of us as this tribe and all others have been decimated by the government sanctioned genocide of the Indian in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Stuart issued a Live at the Ryman disc in 2006, and Compadres is a compilation, along with a pair of unreleased cuts, of Stuart's performances with fellow musicians from country, bluegrass, folk, and gospel musics, almost all of them legends. The unissued tracks are an interesting lot. First up is a beautiful honky tonk duet with Loretta Lynn called "Will You Visit Me on Sunday" (no year), written by the great Dallas Frazier. Both voices are in fine shape, and Lynn's emotive, pure, and classic country alto is just gorgeous. Next is a cover of Pete Townshend's "I Can See for Miles" with Old Crow Medicine Show and his own band the Superlatives. The track keeps its anthemic quality, even with bluegrass fiddle and mandolins ringing along with the acoustic guitars. The vocals are a little ragged and it doesn't quite work for inclusion on any other album, but it would have been a great live collaboration. Other tracks feature Stuart with Steve Earle on a blues rendition of Buddy Holly's "Crying, Waiting, Hoping" with a killer acoustic blues slide intro by Stuart before the rest of the band kicks in with Richard Bennett on electric guitar. This one, included from Not Fade Away from 1996, shows the re-emergence of Earle after a long struggle with his own demons. Stuart's electric slide work kicks butt, too. He re-creates the performances of the Band and the Staple Singers on Robbie Robertson's "The Weight," from the various-artists comp Rhythm Country and Blues from 1994 which paired performers from each genre; it's as stirring as anything he's ever recorded. Pops was still alive then (hearing him even now sends chills) and Mavis is in excellent voice (is she ever in anything else?). There's an interesting version of "Rawhide" with Lester Flatt -- Stuart was a member of his band as a teenager -- from a 1974 live album by Flatt, and a 1999 performance with Earl Scruggs from The Pilgrim. Stuart plays mandolin on both cuts. Other tracks include duets with B.B. King, Travis Tritt, Johnny Cash (from 1992 when he was Cash's son-in-law); current wife and country music legend Connie Smith, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Mavis Staples (on a killer read of a Pops Staples tune called "Move Along Train" from the Souls' Chapel disc) and Del McCoury. The Jones track "One Woman Man" (from 1994's Bradley Barn Sessions and written by Johnny Horton) is the only thing here that feels like it doesn't work at all, and sad to say, that has a lot more to do with Jones than Stuart. This is for the hardcore Marty Stuart fan no doubt. That said, it does reveal his tremendous versatility as an instrumentalist, song interpreter, and producer, and the eclectic, wide-ranging nature of his musical obsessions. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released January 1, 1991 | Geffen*

Equal in scope and purpose to Dwight Yoakam's sophomore release, Hillbilly Deluxe, Tempted is still a wild and wonderful adventure into hillbilly territory. With a slight tempering of Marty Stuart's sharp edge and abandon, there is still plenty here to rave about. Stuart kicks country-pop in its well-defined hindquarters with his take on the always popular Hank Sr.-Bill Monroe number "I'm Blue, I'm Lonesome." More than just infectious, this is one song you can't get enough of. "Little Things," "Burn Me Down," and "Paint the Town Tonight" all capture the spirit of honky tonk. But Stuart is just as deadly when he slows things down and does a ballad. "Till I Found You" and "I Want a Woman," written with Montana's most notable resident, Kostas, are a delight. Another winner from the man who said, "You can't really be in country music unless you've spent a few nights in the parking lot of the Palomino" (use your imagination). An experienced night owl, Stuart brings all those nights at the Pal and many other bars, dives, and dancehalls to good use here. Very authentic. ~ Jana Pendragon
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Country - Released January 1, 1995 | Geffen*

This is a hits package that shows off Marty Stuart's hard-earned success with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The man is a precious commodity and the songs presented here include his contribution to the Mercury tribute album to Elvis, It's Now or Never. "Don't Be Cruel" is handled expertly and given a little panache by the Don Was Band and the Jordanaires. The Staple Singers join Stuart for a gospel version of "The Weight," produced by Was. As for the known hits, they are all here, including the Tritt-Stuart duet that appeared on Tritt's album of the same name, "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)," another classic from the man who also penned "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'" with Ronny Scaife. "Western Girls," "Hillbilly Rock," and two previously unreleased cuts, "If I Ain't Got You" and "The Likes of Me," round things out. Hoopin' it up Marty style is whole lot of fun. ~ Jana Pendragon
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Country - Released July 1, 2003 | Columbia

Marty Stuart's Country Music is not, as some have said, a radical departure from his already eclectic body of work. As to whether it's "the album of his life," is also up for debate, since he doesn't sound here like he's slowing down. Stuart has given us one of the most consistent catalogues in the country genre since 1980, and has few peers in terms of quality -- George Strait, Dwight Yoakam, and a few others are in his league. This is his first full-on country-rock record and, teamed with grand master engineer/producer Justin Niebank (Widespread Panic, the Subdudes, etc.), Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives turn old nuggets such as "A Satisfied Mind" and Johnny Cash's "Walls of a Prison" (the tracks which open and close the album, respectively) into wooly country-rockers with killer three- and four-part harmonies and burning guitars, Hammond B3s, mandolins, pedal-steel guitars, and rocking drums. On the other hand, newer songs by the performer and a handful of others are already revved up and cut to fly. This is a rock & roll record cut from the man vein of honky tonk country, and the country that it comes from is pure. Listen to "Farmer's Blues," a sweet, slow, two-step drenched in pedal steel with a duet vocal by Merle Haggard, or the burning-down blues-rock with dobro and banjo of "Tip Your Hat" with Uncle Josh Graves and Earl Scruggs. But even straight-up rockers such as "Sundown in Nashville," "By George" (which has dumb lyrics but still kicks ass), "Wishful Thinkin'," and "Too Much Month" feel as if they could have been played by a rowdier version of Rockpile, while the mid-tempo tracks ("Fool for Love," "Here I Am," "If You Wanted Me Around") only serve to underscore the influences of Dave Edmunds and Nick Lowe. Ultimately, this album is relentless in both its attack and in the pleasure it provides to the listener. There are hot licks everywhere, with great songs, vocals, and a tapestry of moods, textures, and shades that serve to leave one impression: Stuart's radical experimentation of the last ten years has resulted in his finest moment thus far. He offers a prolonged look at how inseparable country and rock & roll are from one another. ~ Thom Jurek
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Country - Released January 1, 2002 | MCA Nashville

The Marty Stuart entry in the mid-priced 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection series is the best compilation of Stuart's work yet released. It shares seven tracks with the 1995 set The Marty Party Hit Pack, a best-of that is more imaginative, but less complete. This one contains Stuart's ten biggest country solo hits on MCA between 1990 and 1996, plus "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For a Long, Long Time)," one of his three hit duets with Travis Tritt, and the final track from his ambitious but commercially marginal 1999 concept album, The Pilgrim. An outspoken advocate of country's longstanding traditions, Stuart has nevertheless tried to transform those traditions in his recordings, and you can hear that on these hits, especially "High on a Mountain Top," which features a prominent mandolin part and bluegrass-style harmonies, but is still driven by a twangy electric guitar. That balance of old and new made Stuart a significant Nashville hitmaker between 1990 and 1992, and though that period of his career passed, he continued to try to forge a new, authentic country sound on The Pilgrim. This compilation provides a thumbnail sketch of his most popular work, and it will serve casual fans as an excellent and inexpensive précis. ~ William Ruhlmann
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Country - Released January 1, 2012 | Sugar Hill Records