Marty Stuart Setlist
04/19 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Ballroom
04/20 - Buffalo, NY - The Tralf Music Hall
04/22 - Stafford Springs, CT - Palace Theatre
04/23 - Phoenixville, PA - Colonial Theatre
04/25 - Cambridge, MA - The Sinclair
04/26 - New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
04/28 - Mt Tabor, NJ - At The Tabernacle
04/29 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere
04/30 - Wilkesboro, NC - Merlefest
05/03 - Charleston, SC - Charleston Music Hall
05/04 - Orlando, FL - The Social
05/05 - Birmingham, AL - The Lyric
05/06 - Knoxville, TN - The Bijou Theatre
05/11 - St Louis, MO - Off Broadway
05/12 - Kansas City, MO - Folly Theatre
05/13 - Denver, CO - Oriental Theater
05/15 - Berkeley, CA - Freight & Salvage
05/16 - Anaheim, CA - House of Blues
05/17 - Solana Beach, CA - Belly Up Tavern
05/18 - Los Angeles, CA - Largo at the Coronet
05/20 - Salt Lake City, UT - The State Room
05/21 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory
05/22 - Seattle, WA - The Triple Door
05/23 - Portland, OR - Star Theater
05/28 - Cumberland, MD - DelFest
06/07 - Nashville, TN - Late Night Jam
06/17 - Hunter Mountain, NY - Mountain Jam
06/18 - Brownefield, ME - Stone Mountain
06/23 - Bremen, GA - Mill Theatre
07/30 - Floyd, VA - FloydFest
08/13 - Regina, Sk - Regina Folk Festival
09/22 - Historic Watermelon Park Fest
10/19 - Baton Rouge, LA - Raising Cane's *
10/20 - San Antonio, TX - AT&T Center*
10/21 - Bossier City, LA - CenturyLink Center*
10/26 - Austin, TX - Austin360 Amph*
11/04 - Grand Rapids, MI - Van Andel Arena*
* w/ Chris Stapleton
“Trust me and take my hand, I’ll take you to the edge of the Mojave Desert. I’ll take you on a twang-ified, palm tree, blue-eyed, blue sky, space psychedelic journey on a magic carpet through the desert”—Marty Stuart describing the new album.
This was a night of classic country sounds from two very distinctive approaches, and all it took for a guaranteed good time was a guy from Philadelphia (MS not PA) and a girl from a place called Monkey’s Eyebrow (KY) to show us what country music is really made of, as Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives with opener Kelsey Waldon hit the Fine Line Music Café in Minneapolis.
Kentucky singer-songwriter Kelsey Waldon was up first this evening, with a nine-song/forty-five minute set in support of her second full-length, last summer’s I’ve Got a Way (Monkey’s Eyebrow Recordings)and opened with a couple of cover songs, Bill Monroe’s ‘Down this Lonesome Road’ followed by Vern Gosdin’s ‘There Must Be Someone (I Can Turn To)’.
She charmed the crowd that arrived early with a wry southern accent, slight twang in her voice as she sang, and the dexterity of her four-piece band with slide guitar, on this, their first time in the state. ‘High in Heels’ was written about people she knew growing up, and her own ‘I’d Rather Go On’ shows she isn’t one to not let go of the past.
“You can’t place a crown on the head of a clown and hope he turns out to be a king” she sang on the charged ‘False King’ and Waldon and band finished with an anthemic ‘Are You Ready for the Country’ (a Neil Young cover via Waylon Jennings), appropriately setting the table for the main act.
After a short break, Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives emerged and hit the ground running, opening with a series of driving/highway songs, to get us all on a musical trip, headed way out west.
Way Out West (Superlatone Records) also happens to be the name of the band’s latest release, a spanning album of varied sounds that demands to be listened to as a whole, and was produced by Mike Campbell, guitarist of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
It was clear from the beginning that the band (Kenny “Cuz” Vaughan on guitars; Chris “Professor” Scruggs on bass/slide; Harry Stinson on drums/percussion) was whip smart and polished, tight but loose, and more than able to keep up with Stuart and his five decades of being on stage.
Stuart’s ‘Whole Lotta Highway’ led perfectly into “one of the greatest truck driving songs in the world, recorded right here in Minneapolis”, referring to Dave Dudley’s 1963 classic ‘Six Days on the Road’, put to tape locally at Kay Bank Studios.
“Minneapolis, the surf music capital of the world!” Stuart shouted as he and the band dove into ‘Mojave’ from the new album followed by cowboy ballad, ‘Old Mexico’, inspired by Marty Robbins and showcasing the band’s vocal harmonies. Guitarist Vaughn then took over for a couple of stompers that had great call and response from the receptive audience.
The trippy title track from the new record was followed by a pitch-perfect cover of ‘El Paso’, a Marty Robbins classic that featured guitar work by Country Music Hall of Famer Grady Martin and some 469 words to the song.
After a Chris Scruggs solo song, Stuart pulled out his mandolin, his earliest self-taught instrument, on a Stinson-led Woody Guthrie cover then after briefly reminiscing about his first time here (playing the Cabooze with Lester Flatts' band), blazed into a mando version of the fiddle classic, ‘Orange Blossom Special’.
Referring to Tom Petty as “one of the best country bands, The Heartbreakers”, any doubters were left speechless as Stuart said, “I can prove it to you, it goes like this” as he and the Superlatives transformed Petty’s ‘Runnin’ Down a Dream’ into a backwoods knee slapper.
The gospel ‘Angels Rock Me to Sleep’ was done with stand-up bass, street corner multi-part harmonies, and a vocal nod to Elvis, and the band ended the main set with the jumping ‘Boogie Woogie Down The Jericho Road’.
The five-time Grammy winner soon returned with a second wind, the band throwing the clutch into ‘Quicksand’ and the Heartbreakers-sounding ‘Time Won’t Wait’ from the new album, before slowing things temporarily with a Cash-inspired ‘Long Black Veil’, taking requests and finally ending with the rollicking ’Tear the Woodpile Down’ and 2014’s ‘Look at that Girl’.
Stuart’s choice to first play smaller clubs for the new album (“real rooms in front of real people” he called it) was a wise move and for the fans, this was a rare chance to see a music legend still in his prime.
Taking the best of classic country, mixing it with some new, and his own seasoned distinct style, Marty Stuart & the Fabulous Superlatives took us on a trip for one of the most musically satisfying nights of the year.
Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives at Fine Line Music Cafe, Minneapolis (11 April 2017)