Saturday, June 30, 2007

Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey

Marty Stuart invested his heart and soul in country music when he was a child growing up in the '60s in Philadelphia, Miss. Years later, he began investing his money in country music memorabilia and has amassed one of the largest and most significant collections this side of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville. Items from his holdings have been previously displayed at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland and the Louvre in Paris.

Picture is from Marty Stuart's website

Part of the collection is featured in Sparkle & Twang: Marty Stuart's American Musical Odyssey, an exhibit opening Wednesday (June 6) at the Tennessee State Museum in Nashville. Representing more than 50 years of musical history, the display ranges from custom-made suits worn by the likes of Johnny Cash and Elton John to Hank Williams' handwritten lyrics to "Your Cheatin' Heart and a Fender Jazzmaster guitar owned by the late Roebuck "Pops" Staples of the Staple Singers. The exhibit, which features rhinestone suits created by Nudie the Hollywood Tailor, will run through Nov. 11 before traveling to other museums throughout the U.S.

With the CMA Music Festival bringing thousands of country music fans to Nashville this week, Stuart will host his annual Late Night Jam on Wednesday (June 6) at the Ryman Auditorium. A benefit for MusiCares, a nonprofit organization providing health and human services to those in the music industry, the concert will feature performances by John Rich of Big & Rich, Neko Case, Pam Tillis and two Country Music Hall of Fame members -- Charley Pride and Porter Wagoner.

Stuart talked about his passion as a collector during a recent interview with

The recent fire at Johnny Cash's former home house was a reminder that even immoveable objects can be lost in the blink of an eye.

I was walking through my orchard watching that burn. I mean, it was really a piece of me. I think what it burned out of me was a little bit more of the truth. I thought I had it settled that even though he wasn't there, the house was. I can kind of pretend that he wasn't gone ... we're on the road or something. I mean, what you said is exactly right. In the blink of an eye, it's gone. There's nothing you can do about it. Some things you can never get back.

There's so much in the way of country music memorabilia that has gotten lost along the way because it has been sold, donated or just thrown away.

That brings us to why I got into this. First of all, I just loved it. It followed my heart, and it was just stuff I just grew up loving. The first time I ever went to the Hard Rock Cafe [in London] was in the early '80s when I was on the tour over there with John [Cash] and his band. I ran into [Hard Rock founder and Tennessee native] Isaac Tigrett on the street. He's a Southern guy, and we got to talking to him and he said, "Come on down. See what I'm doing." So he took me to the first Hard Rock, and on the wall was all this stuff from the Beatles and the Stones and Jimi Hendrix that I thought that was really cool. Even though it was a hamburger joint, they treated it with a certain amount of respect. All the way home I was thinking, "You know, country music is really changing. I don't see new rhinestone suits coming. They're just kind of being washed away. Like they're cut off, and that branch is fading."

To see the rest of this interview, visit Country Music Television

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