Marty Stuart- Get in Line Brother
Marty Stuart inspired my ‘Song of the Day’ on FaceBook; ‘Get in Line Brother.’ The tune is on his ‘Busy Bee Cafe’ LP. He plays in North Carolina tonight. If you wanna go tonight it is get in line brother ’cause the Don Gibson theatre venue sold out in about four minutes. Don’t feel bad, I called too late too.
I got to play with Marty Stuart one time. He sees a lot of folks and I’m sure he could not remember it, but it was at one of John Hartford’s Christmas parties. He and Bill Monroe were both there that night. He looked just like his picture; big jet-black hair, cool suit, sly smile. In spite of the clear fact he was a famous star and we were not, he treated us like he was just some regular guy in jam session, though. I never forgot that.
I played ‘Rawhide’ with the two of them. After a few times through, Monroe kicked up the pace several notches to where it was too fast for most of us to keep up, but Marty just smiled and kept jamming. Ain’t no hoss gonna throw Marty Stuart; even Bill Monroe.
My mentor that night was a well-connected elderly gentleman who had jammed with Marty before. On the way home he told me, “Son, I want you to play your mandolin like that Marty Stuart boy.”
“Yes sir. I’ll try.”
When I first heard of Marty Stuart he was a twelve-year-old kid from Philadelphia, Mississippi who picked the mandolin for Lester Flatt. He says in his biography it was hard to go back to the ninth grade after a summer of that, so he began to tour full-time. I recall he once said (paraphrased), “You ain’t been home schooled till you learned geometry from Lester Flatt.” Lord, don’t you know Marty has some stories to tell.
I like Marty’s work. When he came to Nashville he wanted one of those Nudie suits only to find out they cost ten times his net worth. Instead of being mad about it, he made friends with everyone in the store. He knew he’d be back.
These days Marty is a right well dressed cat, but my guess he is still bluegrass at heart. The man has jammed with everyone from B.B. King to Keith Richards, (not to mention Bill Monroe and Dr. B, ha!) and was mentored by Lester and Johnny Cash. To me he is still real country and didn’t give in to the pressures to water it down.
It’s like a doc. The only business plan I ever had was to treat folks the best way I could and let it shake out however it was meant to be. I think Marty decided a long time ago to play the best music he could and the heck with trends. I say more power to ya Marty, and don’t give in. Based on tonight’s immediate sold out concert, I’d say folks love you just like you are so there ain’t no reason to change now.
I don’t have a ticket but I’m gonna drive over there with my ‘Busy Bee’ LP and hang around the back door like Marty would have as a kid at the Opry. Lester Flatt once told Marty to never forget that in this music your fans are fans for life. Lester home schooled Marty Stuart, and I am certain Marty would say Lester always taught the truth.
Only problem is a lot of years have gone by. Nowadays some of Marty’s fans are old gray-haired docs instead of only all those young ladies. Oh well, it comes with the territory of being true country. Appreciate your music, and play ‘Rawhide’ for me. All the best in your travels.
Dr. BMandolin Players I Know, memorable gigs, Writing
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