Entertainment Local

Five-time Grammy winner chats with Rick Wharton

Rick Wharton

By Rick Wharton, Special to The Daily Observer

Festival Hall in Pembroke is proud to present MARTY STUART & HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES - Saturday, May 9 @ 7:30 p.m. Since starting out singing gospel as a child, the bluegrass stint with Lester Flatt in the '70s, the six years with Johnny Cash in the '80s, and coming up with his smash "hillbilly rock" hits of the '90s, the four time GRAMMY winner, platinum recording artist, Grand Ole Opry star, country music memorabilia preservationist, stylist, designer, photographer, songwriter, all around renaissance man, charismatic force of nature, and (first of all, perhaps), lead of the extraordinary, versatile touring and recording band The Fabulous Superlatives, MARTY STUART has shown a showman's zest for every conceivable flavour of country music.

Festival Hall in Pembroke is proud to present MARTY STUART & HIS FABULOUS SUPERLATIVES - Saturday, May 9 @ 7:30 p.m. Since starting out singing gospel as a child, the bluegrass stint with Lester Flatt in the '70s, the six years with Johnny Cash in the '80s, and coming up with his smash "hillbilly rock" hits of the '90s, the four time GRAMMY winner, platinum recording artist, Grand Ole Opry star, country music memorabilia preservationist, stylist, designer, photographer, songwriter, all around renaissance man, charismatic force of nature, and (first of all, perhaps), lead of the extraordinary, versatile touring and recording band The Fabulous Superlatives, MARTY STUART has shown a showman's zest for every conceivable flavour of country music.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Rick Wharton (actor, comedian, radio host, Conspiracy Guy, and Festival Hall director) brings The Daily Observer readers exclusive interviews with some of the big name acts coming to Festival Hall. Instead of the traditional story format, these pieces will be brought to you in the question and answer format in the same way the interviews took place. So let's be a fly on the wall and see what country music legend Marty Stuart had to say during his '10 minutes with Rick.'

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Rick: Thank you for coming to the Ottawa Valley and Festival Hall Centre for the Arts. This is a first for you to play this area. We worked together when I was the radio rep at MCA CANADA.

For the great releases 'Hillbilly Rock', 'Tempted' and 'This One is Going to Hurt You.' You would have known me as "Spud" back then in the Ontario MCA Division.

Marty: Once a spud, always a spud and it takes one to know one"¦I'm glad to see you again Rick.

Rick: Those records and times were amazing. I was the young guy at the label and was assigned to work with you and Steve Earle, Steve Warnier, Reba, Lyle Lovett and Vince Gill and Patty Loveless. Man, I was so blessed to work with all of you. Not only the great music and  concerts,but how you treated us was wonderful. You are a class act. Any thoughts on those MCA releases? Did you like Canada back then - touring and touring and working Nashville North?

Marty: You're right. Those were great days. Almost magical. So many good artists and songs that have lasted came from those days. MCA was THE place to be during that time. I've always liked coming to Canada. As a matter of fact my first gold record was Tempted and it went gold first here in Canada.

Rick: It is amazing the amount of music you have released. The new release, 'Saturday Night /Sunday Morning' is a musical gem. It looks like you're still love singing, song writing and performing. Hope you will do it forever. How is the tour going?

Marty: The tour is never ending. I still love hitting the road and playing concerts.

Rick: You are quoted, "From the Superlatives' first rehearsal, I knew this was the band of a lifetime. I knew this was my Buckaroos, my Strangers, my Texas Troubadours - my legacy band. Kenny Vaughan, Harry Stinson and Paul Martin are not only musical geniuses, but statesmen. The Fabulous Superlatives are without question one of the greatest bands of our time." That is some high praise and very much warranted. I saw the performance on Letterman and it blew me away. People who just love music should buy this album and come see the show.

Marty: One new addition. Apostle Paul Martin decided not to go on the road anymore so we have a new Superlative. Chris Scruggs-you must see him.

Rick: Some people may not know you are an author and a photographer. American Ballads: The Photographs of Marty Stuart, Choctaw Gardens, The Marty Stuart Show, Country Music - The Masters, Pilgrims: Saints, Sinners and Prophets. Great title. Is this something you always wanted to do or did you just fall into it?

Marty: I've always loved photography. My mom always has a camera close by. She's still my favorite photographer. I called her from the road one day back in 1974 and asked her to send me a camera. She did and I've been taking pictures ever since.

Rick: At 13 years of age you were touring with legendary blue grass picker and guitarist Lester Flatt. I know you were young, but that must have taught you a few things for your life in music and show biz or was it a blur?

Marty: Lester was one of the wisest men I've ever known. His teachings about show business and life in general have lasted a lifetime. I've said many times walking into the Grand Ole Opry with Lester Flatt was the equivalent of walking into the Vatican with the Pope.

Rick: Who were your influences in music and who do you listen to today? As well, who are your favourite guitarists?

Marty: Johnny Cash, Flatt and Scruggs. I still love them. I live with Connie Smith. She's fun to listen to. Favorite guitarists? Luther Perkins, Clarence White, James Burton, Ralph Mooney.

Rick: Not to get all Diane Sawyer on you, but seeing you talk about Johnny Cash when you were at his house four days before his death, working on lyrics with him, then taking the last photo of him was wonderfully profound. I am sure not only was he an amazing songwriter but an inspiration to you too ?

Marty: Absolutely. I think about him and miss him everyday. He was one of my dearest friends.

Rick: I Love this line, and young musicians take not, "As a band, that's our mission. Putting our arms around what's left of the culture. Making sure the old timers get loved on and shown dignity. And then it became, let's show young musicians that traditional country music is alive and well. The message is, 'C'mon, over here and play it if it's in your heart'." What do you think of the music business in 2015?

Marty: It looks a lot like the music business of 2014. Bottom line - figure out who you are, what you love - then follow your heart.

Rick: That is what I love about you and this band it's about the music. It's the real deal. It's not about the machine called the entertainment business. We are all really excited you would take the time to come and play in this next of the woods to support Festival Hall. I know your bringing your merchandise to sell and there's a meet and greet afterwards! Thanks my old friend!

Marty: Thanks to you Rick.

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Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives hit the stage at Festival Hall on Saturday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m. with opening act, Renfrew County's own Shane McNulty! Tickets available at the Festival Hall box office or by calling 613-735-2182.