Marty Stuart –Tear The Woodpile Down– CD Review
Nashville Volume 1: Tear the Woodpile Down
Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives
By Grant Britt
Marty Stuart doesn’t have a problem with being over the top. From his souped- up hair to his Nudie suits studded with enough rhinestones to make rassler Ric Flair jealous, to naming his band the Fabulous Superlatives, Stuart walks the walk and talks the talk the way country stars are spozed to. Thing is, he can back it up.
The Superlatives are indeed fabulous, the finest band in country for sure and a top contender for the best in virtually every other genre you can think of should they set their minds to it. Superlative bandleader/guitarist Kenny Vaughan has the fastest fingers in the business, honing his chops in jazz and punk before settling in Nashville in ’87 working with artists including Rodney Crowell Patty Loveless and Lucinda Williams, helping Stuart start the Superlatives in ’01. He also provided the superlative guitar on Sam Lewis’ debut record.( https://www.nodepression.com/profiles/blogs/sam-lewis?xg_source=activity.)
Stuart has the swagger and the chops down pat after a lifetime in the business starting at the age of 14 when he became a full fledged working pro playing mandolin in Lester Flatt’s band. Stuart’s fleet fingered picking on mandolin and guitar propels many a breakneck tune in his live Saturday night show on RFD-TV and on his new record. And when you hook him up with electric banjo inventor and lightning fast 11-year Porter Wagoner band vet banjoist Buck Trent and put Vaughn behind them blazing away as well, “Tear the Woodpile Down” is as much a description of what’s going on as a song title.
Stuart wrote 6 of the ten songs on the record. “Truck Driver’s Blues” is right up there with the best of the classic Dave Dudley big rig driving songs, even managing to work wife Connie (Smith’s) name in as the name painted on his truck. Stuart keeps honky-tonk time with his relentless mandolin chop, breaking free with a string bustin’-wriggle once in a while.
But a couple he didn’t write are standouts as well. “Sundown In Nashville” sounds like classic Buck Owens with Stuart describing Nashville as “ a country boy’s Hollywood” that gets lonely at sundown when “they sweep broken dreams off the street.”
Hank Sr.’s “Picture From Life’s Other Side” just punches you right in the gut. Stuart pulls off the difficult task of not making the song sound hokey as the degenerate gambler who had the temerity to hock poor ole dead mama’s ring in a poker game drops dead hisself as he throws it into the pot. Hank 3 adds some authentic hillbilly heartbreak, trading off verses and harmonizing with Stuart.
This is a real country record in an industry that desperately needs more of the real thing. Stuart’s up for it- now all that’s left is for the rest of ’em to come to their senses.