Marty Stuart

Travis Tritt Starter Kit

August 5, 2009 // 9 Comments

While Travis Tritt didn’t acquire quite as many number one hits as many of his fellow artists in the nineties, with only 3 to claim, he was still a solid hit maker and strong force throughout the decade. His soulful brand of “southern rockin’ country” is often what he associated himself with, as noted in “Put Some Drive in Your Country”, but he was just as vocally connected to ballads and other more standard country fare.

Even as an artist of the nineties who was not honored as much by the industry as some of his peers, likely as a result of his outlaw image, his album sales still managed to be impressive. They included albums that went gold (1), platinum (3), double platinum (3) and triple platinum (1).

As one of my favorite artists of the nineties and in general, it was difficult to point to only ten essential tracks of Travis Tritt’s to spotlight, especially since the majority of my favorite songs of his were either not hit songs or even released at all.

Ten Essential Tracks:

“Here’s A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)”
From the 1991 album It’s All About to Change

In the nineties, Tritt was credited as having a strong personality, though people close to him, including various opening acts, have reported that he was always surprisingly friendly and accommodating. This satisfyingly and refreshingly retaliatory song, however, helped to perpetuate the feeling that Tritt is not someone to be crossed. It is a glimpse of how it would feel to actually respond with one of those quippy comebacks that we only dream of lobbing, after the fact, of course.

Patty Loveless, Stone Mountain Arts Center (Brownfield, Maine)

July 13, 2009 // 19 Comments

Country Universe is a site where timeless artists like Patty Loveless are not merely acknowledged, but embraced and celebrated. So when Leeann invited me to review my favorite artist’s Brownfield Maine concert as a guest contributor, I jumped at the chance. Thank you so much Leeann, Kevin and Country Universe for giving me this opportunity. And Leeann and Bill, it was a joy and an honor to join you folks for dinner and watch the concert with you. You both made this already memorable concert experience even more unforgettable for me, along with associates Nicole, Richard and Patti, and the following day Bob and Barbara, Kevin. And also, Marcia Ramirez from Patty’s band. Many, many thanks to all.

Patty Loveless at the Stone Mountain Arts Center, Brownfield Maine

July 3, 2009

Nestled in the northern reaches of the Appalachian Mountains, Brownfield Maine’s Stone Mountain Arts Center is a beautiful and intimate 200 seat converted barn turned listening room. It has a warm and rustic ambiance, and a very helpful staff. The wood beam framed building makes for a rich acoustical setting, almost like a giant, wooden resonator box. It is a hard place to find out there in the Maine wilderness, but well worth the effort, especially to enjoy artists and legends like Patty Loveless, Ralph Stanley, Marty Stuart, Suzy Boggus and Kathy Mattea. Think of it as a quest.

A Conversation with Kathy Mattea

March 7, 2009 // 10 Comments

Kathy Mattea has long been a favorite for both the writers and readers of Country Universe. Earlier today, we had a chance to speak with Mattea about her current album, Coal, and covered many other topics along the way. Coyne: I see Coal as the culmination of what you’ve been doing musically, which has always been introspective and focuses on the bigger issues of life. But you’ve also always done a lot of public work for social justice, especially with AIDS and the environment. It seems like it all came together on one album this time around. Mattea: It’s been an evolving thing. It wasn’t intentionally that way. Interestingly, it came to me to do the album because of the Sago mine disaster.  I had just been torn up by it. My grandfathers were coal miners, and my mom worked for the United Coal Miners and my brother used to Read More

An Interview with Marty Stuart

February 10, 2009 // 16 Comments

Widely acclaimed as one of country music’s greatest warriors, Marty Stuart turned a childhood obsession into a lifelong career filled with hit records and collaborations with numerous Nashville legends.  A member of the Country Music Foundation and the Grand Ole Opry, he’s preserved the traditions of the genre by assembling a collection of country-related artifacts that has no rival. His most recent project is The Marty Stuart Show, a weekly television program airing Saturday nights on RFD-TV. Stuart discusses the development of the show, his thoughts on the future of country music and his role in honoring its past. What was the single driving force behind creating The Marty Stuart Show? What are your hopes for the future of the program? The most important thing was the right setting, the channel, RFD (a Nashville-based television station focused on rural America programming). I’m a big fan of the network and I’ve watched it grow. As a country music fan, Read More

Kathy Mattea, Coal; Del McCoury, Moneyland

July 19, 2008 // 8 Comments

Kathy Mattea Coal Del McCoury Moneyland The everyday experience of America’s working poor was once a cornerstone of country music. As recently as the economic downturn of the early nineties, their voices were being heard on country radio, with Travis Tritt singing “Lord Have Mercy on the Working Man” and Sawyer Brown documenting the plight of the farmer with “Café on the Corner.” Today, the voice of working Americans struggling to get by has all but disappeared from the landscape of mainstream country music, and is yet another thread of the genre’s history that has been relegated to the Americana landscape. Two of the year’s best albums share this theme, telling the story of the working poor with distinctively different but equally compelling approaches. Kathy Mattea has long incorporated themes of social justice into her work, and her environmental activism neatly dovetails with her aural chronicling of her family’s roots Read More

100 Greatest Women, #24: Connie Smith

June 7, 2008 // 12 Comments

100 Greatest Women #24 Connie Smith “There’s really only three female singers in the world: Streisand, Ronstadt and Connie Smith. The rest of us are just pretending.” – Dolly Parton Connie Smith was born in Indiana, but she grew up in West Virginia, where she first began singing publicly. She later moved to Ohio, and though she was soon a housewife and mother, she still sang in her spare time. She performed on local television shows, and when she won a talent contest in 1963, she was discovered by Bill Anderson. He quickly arranged for her to be signed to RCA Records, and wrote a song especially for her called “Once a Day.” When that record was released in the summer of 1964, she was an overnight success. The song spent an astonishing eight weeks at #1, and it still holds the record for the longest run at the top Read More

100 Greatest Women, #27: Kathy Mattea

June 4, 2008 // 7 Comments

100 Greatest Women #27 Kathy Mattea She was a gifted child who had been skipped a grade, who then dropped out of college and followed her songwriting boyfriend to Nashville. He had given up his dream before a year was through, but Kathy Mattea stuck around, laying the foundations for a career that has already spanned twenty-five years. Mattea was born in West Virginia, the daughter of a man who was the first in his family to find work outside the coal mines. She started singing in Girl Scout camp, and developed a love for folk music. Only seventeen when she began her studies at West Virginia University , she joined a bluegrass band called Pennsboro. The band leader and principal songwriter wanted to try his luck in Nashville, and Mattea made the bold decision to drop out of college and follow him to Music City. Only nineteen when she Read More

Billy Joe Shaver featuring Marty Stuart, “Winning Again”

October 10, 2007 // 1 Comment

Ever wonder what the Benny Hill music might sound like if it was twanged up from here to hog heaven? I do believe it would resemble the relentlessly addictive hillbilly jam that backs “Winning Again,” an unsurprisingly solid collaboration between two veterans with cred to spare. Religious songs always sound better when they’re more tent revival than suburban Sunday service. Burning with the fire of the newly converted, the joy of praise radiates from start to finish. Grade: A Listen: Winning Again Buy: Winning Again

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