Walhalla, South Carolina (April 20, 2018) – With sequined suits and an array of vintage instruments surrounded by the settings of an historic building, tonight’s show with Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives was like a step back in time. The five-time Grammy-winning singer/songwriter brought his nostalgic looks and catalog of classic songs to the stage of the Walhalla Civic Auditorium, in Walhalla, SC, as part of their year-long tour in support of their newest album, Way Out West. From the first song of the night you knew it was going to be good and the band was giving you something very special.
Marty Stuart is a platinum recording artist, Lifetime Achievement Award recipient from the Americana Music Association, Grand Ole Opry star, country music archivist, photographer, musician, & songwriter. Since starting out singing gospel as a child, Stuart has spent over four decades celebrating American roots music. His teenage years on tour with bluegrass legend Lester Flatt in the ’70s were followed by six years in Johnny Cash’s band in the ’80s, and a chart-topping tenure as a solo artist in the ’90s. Marty Stuart arrived in Nashville on Labor Day weekend, 1972 & 40 years later, a decade worth of hits and a full round of hillbilly stardom later, Stuart has hillbilly rocked himself back to the bosom of traditional country music.
Straying from the intended setlist immediately, the group put on a show without any confinements – doing it their way. Marty, with his bold presence and a guitar that has a fan following of its own, was joined by three other equally great band members. Stage right was “Cousin” Kenny Vaughan who shared the guitar picking, stage left held “Professor” Chris Scruggs on bass, followed up with “Handsome” Harry Stinson on the skins. Marty with his Superlatives took the crowd through a mix of musical stylings with country, bluegrass and gospel tunes.
Blending old and new favorites, the group performed classic hits like “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin” and “Tempted“, along with “Old Mexico” and the instrumental, “Mojave” from the newest album, Way Out West. A crowd favorite was the gospel tune, “Get Down On Your Knees and Pray“.
The band not only mixed musical stylings, but musical presentation as well, from full arrangements to a front and center acoustic setting with some barbershop quartet vocal stylings. Marty broke out his legendary mandolin on some songs, as Chris plucked along on his upright bass.
Marty took moments throughout the night to engage the audience in some back stories about the songs as well as personally interact with the crowd. Acknowledging two youngsters on the front row, Marty asked their age, with a response of “5” and “9”, he then asked, “what trouble did you get in to have to be here tonight?“, as he gathered some guitar picks and drumsticks to give them.
Each band member was given a moment to shine. First of the night was Kenny Vaughn who led the band into renditions of two of his songs, “Country Music Got A Hold On Me“, and the humorous “Hot Like That“, with a comical mention of Kim Kardashian. Chris stripped it down for a solo acoustic performance of “Old Soul Like You and Me” before Harry led the band in a version of “Pretty Boy Floyd” by the late Woody Guthrie. Marty took a few moments to honor late guitarist Grady Martin with his rendition of the Marty Robbins song “El Paso“, as well as Ervin T. Rouse, covering “Orange Blossom Special“.
Closing out the night with one last new song, the the band broke into “Time Don’t Wait“, with Marty taking the time to shake hands along the front of the stage as the Superlatives did an extended outro.