The country music superstar’s artifacts not only include Grammy’s and gold records, but also suits, photographs, and guitars, making his collection a time capsule.
At the age of 56, Marty Stuart has made a name for himself in the industry. At just 13, he was playing the mandolin alongside Lester Flatt. He then performed in Johnny Cash’s band before pursuing a solo career in the 1980s. His success came with the release of his albums, Hillbilly Rock (1989), Tempted (1991), and This One’s Going to Hurt You (1992). Combined, the three albums sold over 500,000 copies and each has earned a gold record.
Stuart is the winner of three Grammy’s. In 1992, Stuart won Best Collaboration with Vocals for his collaboration of “Whiskey Ain’t Working” with Travis Tritt and received the same award again in 1998 for the track “Same Old Train” with a large handful or artists. He also won Best Country Instrumental Performance for “Foggy Mountain Breakdown.”
Lately however, Stuart has been taking on a different role in the world of country music. He is an avid collector of country music historical artifacts, such as a black suit worn by Johnny Cash, a hat that belonged to Minnie Pearl, and the makeup kit of Patsy Cline. Stuart’s inspiration for country cultural artifacts sparked after seeing historical rock pieces at the Hard Rock Cafe in London.
“It seemed like an injustice of family jewels to be squandered. It seemed like a segment of American culture that hadn’t seen its deserving light,” Stuart said.
Stuart also has pieces of his own photography that are part of his collection. Throughout his career, he has been taking pictures of country music legends in candid, behind the scene moments. His most famous picture was one that captured country music hero, Johnny Cash, during his final years. This photo by Stuart was the last shot taken of the superstar before he passed away four years later.
His collection of over 20,000 artifacts and photographs are currently being stored in a warehouse in Tennessee. The collection will eventually be moved to Stuart’s hometown in Philadelphia, Mississippi, where the Marty Stuart Center will be established.
While pursuing his passion for history, he has also been releasing music and touring. His latest song, “Saturday Night/Sunday Morning,” reflects these interests and digs into what the meaning of country music is. For touring information, check his website.