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Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives (from the album Altitude available on Superlative Creative Group, LLC/Snakefarm Records) (by Lee Zimmerman)
With five decades devoted to defining Country music for a modern era, Marty Stuart can easily draw on his early efforts playing behind Lester Flatt and Johnny Cash when it comes to his role furthering the progression of quintessential American music. His five Grammys, induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame and an AMA Lifetime Achievement Award attest to his status as a highly revered artist.
Over the years, Stuart has earned specific distinction as a singer, songwriter, and bandleader who’s fully in sync with today’s current crop of Americana musicians. That said, it’s been more than six years since his last release, 2017’s Way Out West, an album that brought him renewed recognition. His recent release, Altitude, however, draws on a connection to Cosmic Country, as inspired by Marty Stuart and His Superlatives’ supporting role as the backing band for the 2018 tour that celebrated the 50-year anniversary of the immensely influential album Sweetheart of the Rodeo. Playing alongside two original Byrds, Roger McGuinn and Chris Hillman, Marty helped bring the past into the present while gleaning his own inspiration in the process.
The lingering effects of that music are not only evident here, but generally pervasive as well. The three-part “Lost Byrd Space Train” makes that connection clear, as does several of the titles that appear directly tied to his Byrdsian bond. The autobiographical rocker “Country Star” updates “So You Want to Be a Rock ’n' Roll Star”, albeit with a Nashville nuance. Likewise, “Sitting Alone” replicates McGuinn’s trademark12-string while the driving “A Friend of Mine” references the name of an early Byrds classic, “He Was a Friend of Mine”. “Space” recalls the Byrds’ raga Rock Psychedelic era in more than name alone. An even more explicit connection comes with “Vegas”, a rousing sequel of sorts to latter-day Byrd Gram Parson’s signature song “Ooh Las Vegas” that actually quotes the title in the chorus.
Nevertheless, the combination of down-home picking and pedal steel doesn’t begin in earnest until six songs in, courtesy of the infectious title track. However, another Psychedelic sojourn, “The Sun Is Quietly Sleeping”, along with the steady stomp of “Nightriding” and the raucous Rocker decidedly dubbed “Tomahawk” put any trace of down-home designs on a proverbial back burner. (by Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives from AMAZON
For more information, please visit the Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives website
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