When a broken down bus threatened to cancel a show in Texas, the country icon pushed and made it happen, with help from Garrett Owen.
16-June-2016: Sometimes, life on the road throws you a curve and your tour bus breaks down several hundred miles away from your next tour stop. Most entertainers would take that as an opportunity for an off day, but the ones who live to entertain take to heart the saying that “the show must go on.”
The Kessler Theater, with its 70-year-old charm, made for a perfect intimate setting, and their staff were helpful in letting patrons know the show will start late on this hot, pre-Summer night, but no one seemed to mind. It was cool inside when Garrett Owen opened the show and got the crowd in the mood for a night of country, rock, and gospel music.
After a quick set change, it was time for the fans to get what they came to see – the multi-talented Marty Stuart. The band came out in their traditional country sequined-suits, theirs in light blue and Marty in basic black. The audience knew right away that tradition and respect for the old would be honored this night.
Marty’s smooth voice and the instantly recognizable “Stop The World” immediately ignited the partisan crowd. Fans were fired up for “Just To Satisfy You,” after Mr. Stuart told the crowd about the bus problems.
They got playful for the upbeat “Country Boy,” which earned them the first of several standing ovations. This led into “The Whiskey Ain’t A Working,” a song he co-wrote with Travis Tritt. The crowd sang along loud and proud to this country classic.
After an instrumental that showed how cohesive the band had become, they played “Tempted,” Marty’s biggest hit. The true-to-life words were about cheating, a staple of country songs. Ever the great storyteller, he told of meeting Hank Williams’ sister and dedicated “Old Old House” to her.
The guitarist with many nicknames, “Cousin” Kenny “GuiTarzan” Vaughan had fun performing a couple of deep cut songs. He dipped and shuffled while bassist Chris Scruggs jammed on the bass fiddle. In a “Your Turn to Pick a Song” segment, Kenny chose “Bonanza.” The audience loved the memory and enjoyed watching him play most of the song with only one hand.
Marty changed to the mandolin and said that since his wife was in the Country Music Hall of Fame, that must make him Mr. Connie Smith. The band provided pinpoint harmony for “El Paso,” a song he sang at a tribute to the late Marty Robbins. He said he had always loved the song until he started learning it and found out it contained 469 words.
Scruggs then got his turn and lit up the venue with a rocking solo before the band joined back in for “Chris’ Boogie.” He played steel guitar for this song and treated everyone to both blues and boogie woogie.
“Handsome” Harry Stinson then took the mic and nailed an old Memphis blues standard. Marty came back with the mandolin for “Orange Blossom Special,” after a story about meeting the songwriter. He received his second standing ovation for this timeless classic.
They finished with three Gospel songs that sounded more like Sunday morning than Thursday night. Harmonies on each song with all of them singing into a lone microphone took many members of the audience back in time. A mandolin-acoustic duel in the final song was a true highlight of the evening.
They left the stage to their third standing ovation but came back during the deafening applause. “Torpedo” was rocking country and was an excellent choice to lead off the encore.
Marty asked if there were any requests and the crowd shouted out many. The audience lit up when the band began playing “Tear The Woodpile Down.” They finished with “Hillbilly Rock” and the fans danced the night away as the band left to their fourth standing “O.”
It’s not only fun to see a consummate professional such as Marty Stuart, it’s also fun to watch the fans enjoying the show. It’s also a joy to see how a veteran of 45 years (he began professionally at age 12) has learned from his only two employers, Johnny Cash and Lester Flatt, how to put together an entertaining show.
The energy, the enjoyment, and the enthusiasm were like a shot of B-12 to every member of the audience. His fans are dedicated fans as they appreciate his desire to preserve the history and tradition of country music.
See them on tour through October. You’ll come away entertained.
Joe Guzman of National Country Review was on hand to record the event.