Marty Stuart / Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives

Nashville, Vol. 1: Tear the Woodpile Down

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Marty Stuart knows country music. He knows country music because he loves it, and he's musically explored the folk, gospel, and blues roots of it. He also understands what was happening for a brief time in the 1950s when country and rockabilly were still the same thing. Stuart's brand of hillbilly country, which mixes all of this together, somehow comes out sounding deeply traditional and yet surprisingly contemporary at the same time, and he's well aware of what he's doing. He wears rhinestone suits. He's an entertainer. He knows the history of such things -- his archived collection of country music memorabilia has toured the U.S. This man loves country music. What makes Stuart such a treasure is that he just so happens to be one hell of a musician, too. This new set is a sequel of sorts to 2010's Ghost Train, his first album for Sugar Hill Records, and again features his wonderful touring band, the Fabulous Superlatives. It's a varied yet unified set with lots of high points, including the opening track, "Tear the Woodpile Down," a joyous romp through rockabilly string band territory, and "Hollywood Boogie," which is a blistering hot rod country instrumental that flies with verve (and reverb). Then there's "The Lonely Kind," probably the best track on an album that has some pretty good ones. A classic country shuffle with some surf-toned guitar and an easy, assured vocal from Stuart that makes it all sound like a great lost Fred Neil song, "The Lonely Kind" is Stuart at his best, merging and blending the strains that went into country music into a sound that respects tradition even as it bends it forward. This man loves country music. Country music is the richer for it.

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